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[336] gun was silenced, and the storm fell upon a deserted battlement. While Fort Fisher was thus enveloped in a concentric fire, and the tossing clouds of smoke rolled up incessantly from the sea, Terry was organizing his forces for the assault.

Brigadier-General Payne, with four thousand seven hundred men, had been placed in command on the northern defensive line, three-quarters of a mile in length, and Ames's division was selected for the charge. It was three thousand three hundred strong, and in three brigades, under Curtis, Pennypacker, and Bell. At this time there were in Fort Fisher about twenty-four hundred men. Curtis was already at the outwork which had been gained the day before, and in the trenches close around; and at noon Pennypacker and Bell were moved up within supporting distance. The battle line of the division was now within eight hundred yards of the fort, and crossed the peninsula parallel with Payne's defences, a mile and a half away. The two lines faced, of course, in different directions, and, in the space between, all the manoeuvres of the troops, whether for attack or defence, were made.

At two o'clock the immediate preliminaries of the assault began. A hundred sharpshooters, all volunteers, were thrown forward at a run, to a point not two hundred yards from the fort. They were provided with shovels, and soon dug pits for shelter in the sand, and began firing at the parapet. This movement could be plainly seen by the garrison, and the parapet was manned at once, the enemy opening fire with musketry and artillery, regardless of the storm of shot and shell which belched from every gun of the navy on the fort. As soon as the sharpshooters

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G. Pennypacker (2)
Payne (2)
N. M. Curtis (2)
Bell (2)
A. H. Terry (1)
Adalbert Ames (1)
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