in case of a rebel attack, they would be less exposed to the naval fire.
On the 14th, Hoke
shifted his line so as to confront Terry
, and Bragg
gave him orders to attack the national works; but Hoke
made a reconnoissance, and decided that the line was too strong to be carried.
In this opinion Bragg
This day Porter
again attempted to dismount the guns on the face of the work where an assault was to be made.
The attack began at one o'clock, and lasted till after dark.
During the morning of the 14th, Curtis
's brigade was taken out of line and moved up in reconnoissance towards the fort.
By noon his skirmishers had reached a small unfinished outwork in front of the west extremity.
This was at once seized and turned into a defensive line, to be held against any attempt from the fort.
The reconnaissance showed that the palisading in front of the main work had been seriously injured by the naval fire, and only nine guns could be seen on the land face, where seventeen had been counted on Christmas day.
The steady fire of the navy had prevented the enemy from using either musketry or artillery against the reconnoitring party, and it seemed probable that the troops could be brought within two hundred yards of the fort without serious loss.
In case of a storm, there might be difficulty in landing supplies or material for a siege on the open and tempestuous beach; and Terry
decided not to delay for regular approaches, but to attempt an assault on the following day.
This decision was at once communicated to Porter
, and that evening Terry
went aboard the admiral's