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[272] thirty-minute rule, except when some vessel would be unusually impudent and spiteful, and I would personally direct several guns to bear on her and fire until she had apparently received a merited punishment. During the whole day, in answer to at least 10,000 shots, I only fired 672 projectiles. It was this deliberation which gave the fleet the false idea that they had silenced our guns, and the fact that on this day I took care to fire the last shot as they were withdrawing, did not disabuse their minds of this erroneous idea. Not a detachment was driven from a gun chamber.

In the first day's fight I had about one-half of the quarters burned, three gun carriages disabled, a light artillery caisson exploded, large quantities of the earthwork torn and plowed up, with some revetments broken and splintered, but not a single bomb-proof or a magazine injured. Only twenty-three men wounded-one mortally, three seriously, and nineteen slightly.

Never since the invention of gunpowder was there so much of it harmlessly expended as in the first day's attack on Fort Fisher. All was quiet during the night, but next morning, Christmas Day, about 10 o'clock, the great fleet again moved in towards the fort, being reinforced by another monitor and some additional wooden ships of war. At half-past 10 o'clock the Ironsides opened and the fleet commenced an incessant bombardment, if possible more noisy and furious than that of the preceding day. About 2 o'clock several of the frigates came up to the bar and lowered boats, apparently to sound the entrance, but a heavy fire was immediately directed against them and they were promptly driven out. At 3:30 a very gallant attempt was made by a number of barges to sound the Carolina shoals, south of the mound. A few shots from Battery Buchanan, the naval battery in my command, first cut the flag from a barge and then cut the barge in two, causing the remainder after rescuing their comrades to retreat rapidly.

My two seven-inch Brooke rifles both exploded in the afternoon of this day. Being manned by a detachment of sailors and situated opposite to the bar, I had given the officer in charge discretion to fire upon the vessels which had approached the bar, and his fire had been more rapid than from any other guns, and with the disastrous result of explosion, which unfortunately wounded a number of men.

Strange as it may appear, no attempt to pass the fort was made by any of the fleet, and none except the armored vessels came within a

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S. S. Brooke (1)
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