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[608] the fleet got under way and stood in, in line of battle toward Fort Fisher, bearing about west south-west, and some six or seven miles distant. The Mohican was kept closely in position assigned, following the leading vessel, the frigate Minnesota, and followed by the frigate Colorado, and she successively by the other vessels forming the main line.

At about one P. M., the Minnesota sheered in out of line and took up her position at anchor, opening at once on Fort Fisher, some twenty-one hundred yards distant. As per plan of battle, the Mohican sheered in ahead of her, fired slowly on the fort to get a range and anchored, then opened briskly with the whole battery. The fort had opened on the Minnesota and on the Mohican previous to our anchoring. The Colorado sheered in ahead of us, letting go kedge astern, and then anchored and opened fiercely on the fort. The vessels forming the line then successively, with more or less success, took up their positions and opened.

The ironclads, led by the New Ironsides, had anchored a few minutes preceding the Minnesota, some five or six hundred yards to the northward and westward, and were slowly getting their range when we anchored, and the outer line of vessels moved into position after the main line had anchored and opened on the Mound and several detached casemated guns.

The fire from the fort became weak as the vessels anchored and opened fire. It was soon apparent that they could not work their barbette guns without great loss of life, and the guns' crews, no doubt, retreated under shelter, with a few exceptions, where high traverses and favorable angles gave them great protection.

Different casemated guns, particularly those mounted in detached mounds and toward the Mound, continued to fire slowly and evidently with not much effect, nor would the position of the guns served favor an effective fire. The whole body of Fort Fisher was filled with bursting shells, and only at long intervals, if at all, was a gun fired from the main work. In the meantime, owing to the wind and the set of the tide, I found that the use of the propeller and the helm would no longer enable me to bring the broadside to bear, and was obliged to weigh anchor and manoeuvre under steam, holding our position as nearly as possible, and avoiding interfering with the firing of the other vessels.

After exhausting all the filled nine-inch shells on board ready for use, the Mohican was withdrawn from the line at about ten minutes past four P. M., making signal to you of the cause, and we commenced filling shells without delay. After sunset the fleet withdrew, and the Mohican ran into line and anchored.

At about nine A. M. of the twenty-fifth, signal was made to get under way and form line of battle. The Mohican took her position, and the fleet stood in to the attack. When nearly under fire we were directed verbally from you “not to take position until further orders.” The Minnesota, the leading vessel of the main line, proceeded in and anchored, got under way, and after various attempts obtained a well-chosen position, the main line awaiting her movements. The ironclads having proceeded during this time, were in position, firing slowly and receiving a part of the fire of Fort Fisher. After the position of the Minnesota was satisfactory, I received orders from you about noon to take position close astern of the New Ironsides, which I did without delay, firing slowly until a good range was obtained; then opened briskly on the fort. I was enabled to see, through the absence of smoke, that our fire was very effective, delivered at a short ten-second range. One of the rebel guns was seen to be dismounted by our fire. Half an hour after we had anchored the Colorado passed ahead of the Minnesota and into position, anchoring and delivering a very effective fire. The whole line soon took position and opened very heavily and evidently with great effect, driving the rebels from their guns, with a few exceptions, as those in casemates and other places sheltered and distant. The position of the Mohican enabled me to see well, as I was first at anchor within half a ship's length of the New Ironsides, and finding that anchoring impeded an effective use of the battery, I weighed and in delivering fire drifted one or two hundred yards nearer the fort.

At five minutes past two P. M. the supply of ten-second fuses and the rifle ammunition was exhausted, and the Mohican was withdrawn from action for the purpose of obtaining more, speaking the Malvern for the purpose, and obtaining none. Not being directed to go under fire again, we remained spectators, near the Minnesota until about four P. M., when I received orders to aid in debarking troops, and proceeded to execute, but instead of debarking, aided in bringing off the soldiers that had already reached the shore.

It has not been my lot to witness any operations comparable in force or in effect to the bombardment of Fort Fisher by the fleet, and I feel satisfied that any attempt to keep out of their bomb-proofs or to work their guns would have been attended with great loss of life to the rebels, and would have proven a fruitless attempt.

On the first day we delivered two hundred and seventeen (217) nine-inch shells, fifty-nine (59) one hundred-pound rifle, and eighty-nine (89) thirty-pound rifle shells. On the second day we delivered one hundred and three (103) nine-inch shells, twenty (20) one hundred-pound rifle, and twenty-five (25) thirty-pound rifle shells, making a total of five hundred and thirteen.

Our firing was effective as well as rapid, and I have to express my high appreciation of the ability and zeal of Lieutenant J. D. Marvin, the Executive Officer of this vessel, and of Acting Master William Burditt, whose long and varied professional experience proved useful; Acting

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