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 and doubtlesss the condition of their families at home had much to do with their crime. They had not deserted from my command, but when captured, their companies were stationed at Fort Fisher, and it was my painful duty to see the sentences of the courts-martial enforced. They all died fearlessly. Monday, October 24th, 1864, was a day of excitement on Confederate Point. Information was received that Fort Fisher was to be attacked, and Porter was to command the fleet. Intelligence was also received through an anonymous letter at headquarters at Wilmington that our men were expected to spike the guns, cut telegraph wires and pilot the enemy to the city. This was conveyed to me confidentially, but I repudiated it so far as my garrison was concerned, having implicit faith in their loyalty, and subsequent events sustained my convictions. The same day General Braxton Bragg assumed command of the defences of Wilmington, superseding, but not removing, General Whiting, who remained second in command. This was a bitter disappointment to my command, who felt that no one was so capable of defending the Cape Fear as the brilliant officer who had given so much of his time and ability for its defence. When a few days after, a Virginia paper announced, ‘Braxton Bragg has been ordered to Wilmington, goodbye Wilmington,’ to many, it seemed as prophetic as the wizard's warning to Lochiel on the eve of the battle of ‘Culloden.’ I did not so regard it, but was as sanguine of success as that unfortunate Highland chieftain. The patriotic Whiting showed no feeling at being superseded, but went to work with redoubled energy to prepare for the impending attack. He visited Confederate Point repeatedly, riding over the ground with me and selecting points for batteries and covered ways, so as to keep up communication after the arrival of the enemy, between the fort and the entrenched camp which I commenced constructing at Sugar Loaf. He pointed out to me where the enemy would land on the beach beyond the range of our guns, and on both occasions the enemy landed at that place without opposition, although Whiting had prepared ample shelter for troops to seriously retard if not prevent a landing. It seems incomprehensible that General Bragg should have allowed the Federal troops on both attacks to have made a frolic of their landing on the soil of North Carolina. Six thousand soldiers from Lee's army within call, and not one sent to meet the invader and drive him from the shore. Subterra
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