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[277] the horizon. I commenced at once to prepare for action. I had in the works but 800 men, the Thirty-sixth North Carolina regiment, at least 100 of whom were unfit for duty. Daylight disclosed the return of the most formidable fleet that ever floated on the sea, supplemented by transports carrying 8,500 men, and soon there rained upon fort and beach a storm of shot and shell which caused both earth and sea to tremble.

I had telegraphed for reinforcements and during the day and night following, about 700 men arrived, companies of North Carolina, light and heavy artillery, and a detachment of fifty sailors and marines of the Confederate States Navy, giving me 1,500 all told up to the morning of January 15th, including sick and slightly wounded. Friday the 13th, in the midst of the bombardment, General Whiting and his staff arrived. They walked from Battery Buchanan, and the General came to me and said, ‘Lamb, my boy, I have come to share your fate. You and your garrison are to be sacrificed.’ I replied, ‘Don't say so, General; we shall certainly whip the enemy again.’ He then told me that when he left Wilmington General Bragg was hastily removing his stores and ammunition, and was looking for a place to fall back upon. I offered him the command which he refused, saying he would counsel and advise, but leave me to conduct the defense.

In the former bombardment the fire of the fleet had been diffuse, at least one-third of the missiles fell in the river beyond the fort, but now the fire was concentrated, the object being the destruction of the land face by enfilade and direct fire. When attacked in December I had for the forty-four guns and three mortars in the works, about 3,600 shot and shell, and in that fight we had fired 1,272 shot and shell, leaving about 2,328, exclusive of grape and shrapnell, to resist the assaults by sea and land.

The same slow and deliberate firing was ordered as in the previous battle, as no attempt was made by the ships to run past the fort and into the river. Occasionally a vessel would come close in towards the bar, when the guns of the several batteries would be concentrated upon her and she would quickly withdraw before being seriously injured. All day and night on the 13th and 14th of January the fleet kept up a ceaseless and terrific bombardment. It was impossible to repair damages on the land face at night, for the ironsides and monitors bowled their eleven and fifteen-inch shells along its parapet, scattering

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