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[174]

After the fleet stopped its infernal stream of fire to let the assaulting column come on, we fought them six hours, from traverse to traverse and from parapet to parapet, 6,000 of them. All that time Bragg was within two and a half miles, with 6,000 of Lee's best troops, three batteries of artillery and I,500 reserves. The enemy had no artillery at all. Bragg was held in check by two negro brigages, while the rest of the enemy assaulted, and he didn't even fire a musket.

I fell, severely wounded, two balls in my right leg, about 4 P. M.; Lamb a little later, dangerously shot in the hip. Gallant old Reilly continued the fight hand to hand until 9 P. M., when we were overpowered.

Of all Bragg's mistakes and failures, from Pensacola out, this is the climax. He would not let me have anything to do with Lee's troops. The fight was very desperate and bloody. There was no surrender.

The fire of the fleet is beyond description. No language can describe that terrific bombardment. One hundred and forty-three shots a minute for twenty-four hours. My traverses stood it nobly, but by the direct fire they were enabled to bring upon the land front, they succeeded in knocking down my guns there.

I was very kindly treated and with great respect by all of them.

I see that the fall of Fisher has attracted some discussion in the public prints in London. So clever a fellow as Captain Cowper Coles, R. N., ought not to take Admiral Porter's statement and reports au picd de lettre, and he ought to be disabused before building theories on what he accepts as facts, and which are simply bosh.

The fight at Fisher was in no sense of the word a test for the monitor Monadnock (over which Porter makes such sounding brags), or of any other monitor or ironclad.

It is possible that under more favorable circumstances, the wounds of General Whiting might not have proved mortal, but the transfer in the depth of winter to the bleak climate of New York, the confinement in the damp casement of Fort Columbus, on Governor's Island, and the natural depression that lowers the vitality of a prisoner of war gradually proved too much for a constitution worn by great fatigue and anxiety.

As weakness increased, and the shadow of the inevitable approached, he met it with the fortitude of his whole life—with humility before God, with perfect dignity and serenity towards men. The Post Chaplain writes:


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