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[230] the work of debarkation went on vigorously and effectively. Preceding this, vessels on line No. 1 had shelled the woods back of the beach, and hundreds of cattle that had doubtless been brought there for the supply of the garrison of Fort Fisher rushed wildly to the beach and delivered themselves over, opportune food for the army.

At 2 P. M. 6,000 men and twelve days provisions had been landed, and one hour later the whole force was in front of Fort Fisher, or prepared to go. At 3.30 line No. 1 was signalled to get under way and attack Fort Fisher, and half an hour later line No. 2 followed under like instructions; the vessel to lead, Minnesota, was detained for an hour by a hawser fouling the propeller, and joined the line during the bombardment. Line No. 3 remained during the day to debark artillery and whatever might still be afloat, which was fully accomplished the next day.

With the ironclads in position serving as guides, Line No. 1 soon anchored, and at 4.35 P. M. opened fire, and with this line in position, line No. 2, composed of heavier ships, was soon after at anchor, and delivering broadsides which ‘soon drove the enemy to their bomb-proofs.’

As the sun went down, and the shadows fell over the waters, the spectacle was truly grand; the smoke rose and partially drifted off, permitting glimpses now and then of the earthwork, and the fitful yet incessant gleams from the hundreds of shells bursting on or beyond the parapet illuminated, like lightning flashes, the clouds above and the smoke of battle beneath.

At 5.50 it was too dark to fire with precision. All the wooden vessels were signalled to withdraw and anchor in line to seaward, and the ironclads to maintain a slow fire on the works throughout the night.

The admiral observed that the fire had already damaged

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Minnesota (Minnesota, United States) (1)
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