The Ironsides, a fair specimen of an early ironclad ship, a double-turreted monitor, and three monitors of single turrets, old steam frigates, double-enders,
merchant-ships converted into vessels of war, and vessels of war proper, but the force was not embarrassed by a sailing vessel.
On the 10th of December Rear-Admiral Porter
issued a General Order
‘with chart plan of the proposed attack on the batteries at New Inlet
It is first proposed to endeavor to paralyze the garrison by an explosion, all the vessels remaining twelve miles out from the bar, and the troops in transports twelve miles down the coast, ready to steam up and be prepared to take the works by assault in ease the latter are disabled.
At a given signal all the bar vessels will run off shore twelve miles, when the vessel with powder will go in under the forts.
When the explosion takes place all the vessels will stand in shore in the order marked on the plan.
The New Ironsides was to bring the flag-staff on Fort Fisher
southwest by west half west, and anchor in three and a half fathoms of water, and open fire without delay; the monitors to anchor astern one length apart, directly in line along the shore.
The large ships to anchor in five fathoms of water, in line of battle to the eastward of the ironclads, and heading parallel with the land (south half west). The Minnesota, leading this line, on signal to take position will go ahead slowly and anchor about one mile from Fort Fisher, opening fire when she passes the Ironsides, and anchoring when her after guns firing on Fisher will clear the range of the Ironsides; the Mohican, next in line, will then anchor ahead of the Minnesota, Colorado next ahead of her, and all of the line thus when anchored in reverse of order of sailing.
The Seneca, Shenandoah, and six other vessels will take