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[243] in dragging for torpedoes in the waters over which the gunboats had to pass to attack the batteries higher up. While thus employed a torpedo exploded under the bow of a boat of the Shawmut, killing two men and wounding an officer and one man.

On the 22d Admiral Porter reports that Wilmington had been evacuated and was in possession of the Union troops. On the evacuation of Fort Anderson the gunboats had pushed up as far as the depth of water would permit, an army force pushing up on both sides of the river, on the hard ground, more or less distant from intervening marshes. At Big Island the channel was sounded and buoyed, the gunboats moved up, and fire was opened on Fort Strong, the work commanding the principal obstructions; the fire soon drove the enemy from the fort. During the engagement a shell struck the Sassacus below the water-line, causing her to leak badly; she received several other shots.

During the night of the 20th, not having further use for them, as they intended to evacuate Wilmington, the enemy sent down two hundred floating torpedoes, which for the most part were sunk by musketry fire; one that lodged in the wheel of the Osceola blew the wheelhouse to pieces and knocked down bulkheads inboard, but did not damage the hull. The following morning fishing-nets were spread across the river above the vessels to intercept torpedoes. The army had also engaged Fort Strong. The admiral closes by saying that he had the pleasure of hoisting the Union flag over it, and that day being the anniversary of the birth of Washington, at noon would fire a national salute. No hostile gun was thereafter fired between Wilmington and the sea, but higher up, where the army of General Sherman was yet to pass, the war was not yet over.

Some of the smaller vessels of the navy ascended the river

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