I have only to add, that the Commanding General on learning of the approach of the enemy, would give me no orders whatever; and persistently refused from the beginning, to allow me to have anything to do with the troops from General Lee's army. I consequently repaired to Fort Fisher, as the place where my own sense of duty called me. I am, General, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
W. H. C. Whiting, Major-General (prisoner of war).
hospital, Fort Columbus, Governor's Island, New York Harbor, February 9, 1865.The above is an exact copy of the dispatch dictated to Major Hill, in the hospital at Fort Fisher (and preserved in his note-book) on the 18TH January, 1865, and which I intended to have endeavored to forward at that time by flag of truce, and accordingly made a request of General Terry. On his reply, that it would be necessary to refer it to Lieutenant-General Grant, I concluded to postpone the report. I wish to add a few remarks upon the difference between the two attacks, and also give some information which I have acquired. Had the enemy assaulted the work on the first attack he would have been beaten off with great slaughter. The fire of the fleet on that occasion, though very severe and formidable, was very diffuse and scattered, seemingly more designed to render a naval entrance secure, than a land attack, consequently our defense was but slightly damaged. We had nineteen guns bearing on the assault, and above all the palisade was almost as good as new. Moreover, the fleet, during the first bombardment, hauled off at night, giving the garrison time for rest, cooking, and refreshment. It is remarkable, that during the first bombardment, no gun's crew was ever driven from its gun; but on the 13th and 14th January, the fleet stationed itself with the definite object of destroying the land defence by direct and enfilade fire; the latter, a feu d'enfilement to knock down the traverses, destroying all guns and pound the northeast salient into a practicable slope for the assaulting column. By 12 M. Sunday, not a gun remained on the land front. The palisade was entirely swept away, and the mines in advance, so deeply did the enemy's shot plough, were isolated from the wires,