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[317] flag had been snatched from the parapet and a horse brought away from inside the stockade.1 Three hundred rebel prisoners had been captured outside. Inside, the enemy's loss was three killed and thirty-seven wounded. Four gun-carriages had been disabled and three guns.

That night Butler informed the admiral that he and Weitzel were of the opinion that the place could not be carried by assault; having been left substantially uninjured as a defensive work by the naval fire. Seventeen guns, he said, two only of which were dismounted, were bearing up the beach, covering a strip of land, the only practicable route, not more than wide enough for a thousand men in line of battle. Hoke's reinforcements were approaching, and, as only the operations of a siege would reduce the fort, he had caused the troops to reembark. ‘I shall therefore sail,’ he said, ‘for Hampton Roads as soon as the transport fleet can be got in order.’

The admiral, however, was of a different mind, and replied: ‘I have ordered the largest vessels to proceed off Beaufort, and fill up with ammunition, to be ready for another attack, in case it is decided to proceed with this matter by making other arrangements. We have not commenced firing rapidly ’

1General Weitzel advanced his skirmish-line within fifty yards of the fort, while the garrison was kept in their bomb-proofs by the fire of the navy, and so closely that three or four men of the picket-line ventured upon the parapet and through the sally-port of the work, capturing a horse, which they brought off, killing the orderly, who was the bearer of a dispatch from the chief of artillery of General Whiting to bring a light battery within the fort, and also brought away from the parapet the flag of the fort.’—Butler to Porter, December 25.

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