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[260] one called Bolles and the other I called Hedrick Battery, after the former gallant commander of the fort. There was besides these batteries a large commissary bomb proof. There were only seventeen guns of respectable calibre, including thirty-two pounders. There was on Zeke's Island a small two-gun battery, subsequently washed away by the sea. I thought, on assuming command, and experience afterwards demonstrated, that as a defence of New Inlet against a Federal fleet, our works amounted to nothing.

I determined at once to build a work of such magnitude that it could withstand the heaviest fire of any guns in the American navy. I had seen the effect of eleven-inch shell, and had read about the force of the fifteen-inch shell, and believed that their penetrating power was well ascertained, and could be provided against. I obtained permission of Major-General French, who had placed me in command of Confederate Point, to commence such a fortification, although he did not altogether concur with me as to the value of elevated batteries, nor the necessity of such unprecedently heavy works. Shortly after obtaining permission, I commenced the new Fort Fisher, and from that time, the summer of 1862, until the morning of 24th of December, 1864, I never ceased to work, sometimes working on Sunday when rumors of an attack reached me, having at times over one thousand men, white and colored, hard at work. In the construction of the mound on the extreme right of the seaface, which occupied six months, two inclined railways, worked by steam, supplemented the labor of men. Although Fort Fisher was far from completed when attacked by the Federal fleet, it was the largest seacoast fortification in the Confederate States. The plans were my own, and as the work progressed were approved by French, Raines, Longstreet, Beauregard and Whiting. It was styled by Federal engineers after the capture, the Malakoff the South. It was built solely with the view of resisting the fire of a fleet, and it stood uninjured, except as to armament, two of the fiercest bombardments the world has ever witnessed.

The morning after I took command of the fort, I noticed a blockader lying a little over a mile from the bar, not two miles from the works. I asked if she was not unusually close in, and was answered no. I then remarked that she could have thrown a shot into the fort without warning, and was informed that the enemy sometimes fired on our working parties unexpectedly and drove them from their work,

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S. G. French (2)
Harry Whiting (1)
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