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[278] shrapnel in the darkness. No meals could be prepared for the exhausted garrison; we could scarcely bury our dead without fresh casualties. Fully 200 of my men had been killed and wounded in the first two days of the fight. Not more than three or four of my land guns were serviceable. The Federal army had been slowly approaching on the river side during the day, but they were so covered by the river bank that we could only surmise their number. They had passed my cottage at Craig's landing, and occupied the redoubt about half a mile from our left salient. We fired occasionally at their approaching columns, but at fearful cost, as it drew upon the gunners the fury of the fleet. Early in the afternoon of the 14th I saw the ‘Isaac Wells,’ a steam transport loaded with stores, approach Craig's landing, which was in the enemy's lines. We fired at her to warn her off, but on she came, falling an easy captive to the foe. The Confederate steamer Chickamauga seeing her stupid surrender fired into and sunk her. This incident gave me the first intimation that General Bragg was shamefully ignorant of and indifferent to the situation of affairs.

From the conformation of the Cape Fear river, General Bragg could have passed safely from his headquarters at Sugar Loaf towards Smithville, and with a field glass have seen everything transpiring on the beach and in the fort, and in person or through an aide, with the steamers at his command, could have watched every movement of the enemy, and yet thirty-six hours after the battle had begun, and long after Craig's Landing had been in the possession of the enemy, he sends into the enemy's lines a steamer filled with needed stores that could have gone at night to Battery Buchanan unseen, and in the day with comparative safety. There was a telegraphic and signal communication between Fort Fisher and Bragg's headquarters, and I got General Whiting to telegraph him to attack the enemy under cover of night when the fleet could not co-operate, and that we would do the same from the fort, and as our combined force nearly equalled them in numbers, and my garrison was familiar with the beach at night, we could capture a portion if not the whole of the force. Strange to say, no response of any kind came. I had ten companies ready for a sortie, and threw out skirmishers who discovered the position of the enemy in our front.

We waited in vain for General Bragg to avail himself of this opportunity to demoralize if not capture the beseiging forces, and just before daylight our skirmishers returned to the fort.

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