keep up such a threatening attitude that the enemy will be compelled to retain all the force he now has, and push on the column from Newbern
On the 9th of February, Schofield
's advance arrived at the mouth of the Cape Fear river
, and Cox
's division of the Twenty-third corps was landed on the peninsula above Fort Fisher
still held a line about two miles north of the fort, as well as Smithville
and Fort Caswell
, on the opposite side of Cape Fear river
; while the squadron covered the flanks on the sea-coast and in the stream.
The rebel line in front of Terry
reached across the peninsula, and on the western bank the enemy occupied Fort Anderson
, about twelve miles below Wilmington
, with a line three-fourths of a mile in length, the right resting on a swamp: Hoke
was in general command.
pronounced Fort Anderson
impregnable to a direct attack, and made his dispositions to turn it. Sending two divisions, under Cox
, to the west bank of the river, and then entrenching two brigades to occupy the enemy, he marched the remainder of the force around the swamp that covered the rebel right, to strike the road to Wilmington
, in rear of the fort.
The rebels were warned of the movement by their cavalry, and, during the night of the 19th of February, they hastily abandoned their works, falling back behind Town creek
, about four miles below the city.
Possession was thus secured of the principal defences of Cape Fear river
, with ten heavy guns and large quantities of ammunition.
During these operations the fleet had kept up a constant fire from the river, but no gun was dismounted in Fort Anderson
's division was now returned to Terry