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‘ [240] with copper wires, which I this morning [19th of January caused to be under-run, and which I found led directly across the river to the magazine in Fort Fisher. This, I believe, will fully account for the mysterious explosion on the 16th instant, by which over two hundred gallant men lost their lives.’

In reply to a letter of General Bragg, published in Vol. X., ‘Southern Historical Society Papers,’ Colonel Lamb in the same volume, p. 360, indignantly denies that the troops under his command just after the fall of Fort Fisher were drunk. He says: ‘I had no liquor for distribution to the garrison, and what remained in the hospital bomb-proof was captured by some sailors from the fleet, who becoming intoxicated with it, entered the reserve magazine the morning after the battle seeking plunder, and caused its explosion, which resulted in the death and wounding of nearly two hundred brave men.’

Colonel Lamb seemed at the time to be either indifferent to or ignorant of the report of Truxton. The existence of the insulated wire and galvanic battery could hardly be unknown to him, and would seem a more reasonable explanation of the cause of the explosion of the magazine than drunken sailors, in relation to whom we have no other accounts than the one above given.

Admitting the existence of the appliances establishes the existence of a purpose in an eventuality to blow up the magazine. If executed, as seems altogether probable, by a Confederate, with or without orders, the perpetrator had sooner or later the knowledge that he had destroyed quite as many of his former comrades as his foes. Whatever the cause, the magazine in Fort Fisher was blown up soon after sunrise on the morning of the 16th, the day following the surrender — of the fort.

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