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The admiral in his report says: ‘I suppose about 3,000 men had landed, when I was notified they were reembark-ing. I could see our soldiers near the forts reconnoitring and sharpshooting, and was in hopes an assault was deemed practicable. General Weitzel in person was making observations about six hundred yards off, and the troops were in and around the works. One gallant officer, whose name I do not know, went on the parapet and brought away the rebel flag we had knocked down. A soldier went into the works and led out a horse, killing the orderly who was mounted on him and taking the despatches from his body. Another soldier fired his musket into the bomb-proof among the rebels, and eight or ten others who had ventured near the forts were wounded by our shells. As the ammunition gave out the vessels retired from action, and the ironclads and Minnesota, Colorado, and Susquehanna were ordered to open rapidly, which they did with such effect that it seemed to tear the works to pieces. We drew off at sunset, leaving the ironclads to fire through the night, expecting the troops would attack in the morning, when we would commence again. I received word from General Weitzel, informing me that it was impracticable to assault.’1

The bombardment of this day was of about seven hours duration. A few guns near the Mound battery kept up a fire on the vessels, and at intervals there was some firing from

1 Extract of letter of General Butler to Admiral Porter, dated December 25, 1864: ‘Admiral—Upon landing the troops and making a thorough reconnoissance 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. ... 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.’

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