seldom witnessed. Equally brave in battle, they take the closest work with pleasure, and the effect of their shells is terrific. The following are the names of the commanders, and I hope I shall ever keep them under my command: Commander E. G. Parrott, commanding Monadnock; Commander E . . Calhoun, commanding Saugus; Lieutenant George E. Belknap, commanding Canonicus; Lieutenant Commander E. E. Potter, commanding Mahopac. There are about one thousand men left on shore by the army, who have not been got off yet, on account of the surf on the beach. These will be got off in the morning, and the soldiers will then be sent home. I enclose general order for the attack. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Letter of Major-General Butler.
headquarters Department Virginia and North Carolina, December 25, 1864.Admiral — Upon landing the troops and making a thorough reconnaissance of Fort Fisher, both General Weitzel and myself are fully of the opinion that the place could not be carried by assault, as it was left substantially uninjured as a defensive work by the navy fire. We found seventeen guns protected by traverses, two only of which were dismounted, bearing up the beach, and covering a strip of land, the only practicable route, not more than wide enough for a thousand men in line of battle. Having captured Flag-pond Hill battery, the garrison of which, sixty-five men and two commissioned officers, were taken off by the navy, we also captured Half-moon battery and seven officers and two hundred and eighteen men of the Third North Carolina Junior Reserves, including its commander, from whom I learned that a portion of Hoke's division, consisting of Kirkland's and Haygood's brigades, had been sent from the lines before Richmond on Tuesday last, arriving at Wilmington Friday night. General Weitzel advanced his skirmish line within fifty yards of the fort, while the garrison was kept in their bomb-proofs by the fire of the navy, and so closely that three or four men of the picket line ventured upon the parapet and through the sallyport of the work, capturing a horse, which they brought off, killing the orderly, who was the bearer of a despatch from the Chief of Artillery of General Whiting to bring a light battery within the fort, and also brought away from the parapet the flag of the fort. This was done while the shells of the navy were falling about the heads of the daring men who entered the work, and it was evident, as soon as the fire of the navy ceased because of the darkness, that the fort was fully manned again and opened with grape and canister on our picket line. Finding that nothing but the operations of a regular siege, which did not come within my instructions, would reduce the fort, and in view of the threatening aspect of the weather, wind rising from the south-east, rendering it impossible to make further landing through the surf, I caused the troops with their prisoners to re-embark, and see nothing further that can be done by the land forces. I shall, therefore, sail for Hampton Roads as soon as the transport fleet can be got in order. My engineers and officers report Fort Fisher to me as substantially uninjured as a defensive work. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Reply of rear-admiral Porter.
North Atlantic Squadron, U. S. Flag-ship Malvern, off New Inlet, December 26, 1864.General — I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, the substance of which was communicated to me by General Weitzel last night. I have ordered the largest vessels to proceed off Beaufort and fill up with ammunition, to be ready for another attack, in case it is decided to proceed with this matter by making other arrangements. We have not commenced firing rapidly yet, and could keep any rebels inside from showing their heads until an assaulting column was within twenty yards of the works. I wish some more of your gallant fellows had followed the officer who took the flag from the parapet, and the brave fellow who brought the horse out from the fort. I think they would have found it an easier conquest than is supposed. I do not, however, pretend to place my opinion in opposition to General Weitzel, whom I know to be an accomplished soldier and engineer, and whose opinion has great weight with me. I will look out that the troops are all off in safety. We will have a west wind presently, and a smooth beach about three o'clock, when sufficient boats will be sent for them. The prisoners now on board the Santiago de Cuba will be delivered to the provost marshal at Fortress Monroe, unless you wish to take them on board one of the transports, which would be inconvenient just now. I remain, General, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Report of Com, H. K. Thatcher.
Admiral — In compliance with your General Order No. 75, under date of thirtieth instant,