to blow up a vessel loaded with gunpowder, in the neighborhood of Fort Fisher
, with the expectation that the fort would be injured, if not destroyed, by the explosion.
had little faith in the scheme, and the opinions of the engineers were adverse; but the naval authorities, including Admiral Porter
himself, favored an attempt.
On the 3rd of December, Grant
wrote to Sherman
has gone from Wilmington
I am trying to take advantage of his absence to get possession of that place.
Owing to some preparations Admiral Porter
and General Butler
are making to blow up Fort Fisher
, and which, while I hope for the best, I do not believe a particle in
, there is a delay in getting the expedition off. I hope they will be ready to start by the 7th, and that Bragg
will not have started back by that time.’
On the 4th, he said to Butler
: ‘I feel great anxiety to see the Wilmington
expedition off, both on account of the present fine weather, which we can expect no great continuance of, and because Sherman
may now be expected to strike the seacoast at any day, leaving Bragg
free to return.
I think it advisable for you to notify Admiral Porter
, and get off without delay, with or without your powder-boat.’
On the 3rd, as has been stated, the generalin-chief wrote to Sherman
, sending his despatch to the blockading squadron, to be forwarded as soon as the army was heard from on the coast.
‘Since you left Atlanta
,’ he said, ‘no very great progress has been made here.
The enemy has been closely watched, though, and prevented from detaching against you. I think not one man has gone from here, except some twelve or fifteen hundred cavalry.’