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‘ [232] armed with cutlasses, well sharpened, and with revolvers. When the signal is made to man the boats, the men will get in but not show themselves. When the signal is made to assault, the boats will pull around the stern of the monitors and land right abreast of them, and board the fort on the run in a seamanlike way. The marines will form in the rear and cover the sailors. While the soldiers are going over the parapets in front, the sailors will take the sea face of Fort Fisher.’ This was more easily said than done, as we shall presently see.

At 9 A. M. on the 15th signal was made for the fleet to bombard as per plan. The last of the vessels got into position by 11 A. M., but the heads of some of the lines were in action very promptly. The reader will bear in mind that the ironclads remained where they had first anchored, and were supplied with ammunition brought alongside during the night. On signal from the flag-ship the vessels sent their quotas of men on shore some time in the early forenoon, for making the assault. At 2 P. M. the admiral was in expectancy of the signal from the general for ‘vessels change direction of fire.’ The sailors landed under command of their officers, who had no previous knowledge to whom they should report, or who was to lead them in the assault. Fleet-Captain K. R. Breese, a very gallant and competent officer, had gone to arrange details with General Terry, and he was absent for that purpose. Until his return it was not known to all who was to lead the assault.

Lieutenant-Commander Parker, the executive officer of the Minnesota, commanded the detail, 240 men, from that vessel. He says: ‘We were huddling there together like a flock of sheep, and pretty soon the enemy got the range with sufficient accuracy to satisfy me that a formation of some kind must be made if we expected to do anything.’

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A. H. Terry (1)
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