[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
I was at Fort Fisher
part of the time, and witnessed the fight and its fall.--Just as the sun rose on Friday, the 14th instant, the enemy, from the fleet, commenced to shell the woods and shore above the forto'clock A. M. the beet is steaming close up to Fort Fisher
, and with the iron-clads and large steamers — Brooklyn, Colorado
, etc.--are pouring into the fort a most awful and tremendous fire.
The Yankee troops are landing some four miles above on the sea side.
We are all asking where is Bragg
I hear he, with nearly all his forces, is eighteen miles off.
's forces came down the river, and by land, yesterday.
telegraphed to Bragg
yesterday afternoon that the enemy had landed in heavy force, and imploring him to attack them.
The sun has set, and no attack yet from Bragg
Sunday, 15th.--Last night, Fisher
was reinforced by sending about one thousand of Hoke
's division, in steamers, to the fort.
The enemy kept up a slow fire all night; this morning the bombardment is terrific.
The fort proper does not reply, but the Mound
and Battery Buchanan (commanded by the navy) keep up a steady, and I hope a deadly, fire.
But not a spar of the Yankee ships is hit or cut away, as I can discover.
It is precisely 3 o'clock. The signal (a shrill whistle) from the fleet is heard, and in one minute the roar of the cannon ceases, but in an instant the sound of small arms is heard.
The assault is made, and the main attack is on the sea face of the fort.
Half-past 4 P. M.--The northwest corner of the fort is now attacked by a heavy force.
They are fighting hand-to-hand.
I see, through the glass, four flags waving from the parapet: three are Yankee flags, one Confederate--I see one torn down; two men are grappling the second; it is down; the third is in the dust, and only the Confederate
now floats on the ramparts.
Just received a telegram that Bragg
is advancing on the enemy.
A few shots fired, and all is silent in his direction.
The sun is setting, and the firing of small arms is still going on in the fort.
The Naval Battery and Mound still keep up a heavy and steady fire.
Ten o'clock P. M. --A rocket is sent up from the fort, and in a moment is answered from all the fleet.
The fort is overpowered by numbers, and surrenders.
All is still and silent as death; the never- ceasing roar of the ocean is all that is heard.--Last night, one steamboat, loaded with Hoke
's veteran troops, failed to reach Fort Fisher
, and are now here.
has fallen back to Gander Hall,
two miles above Sugarloaf.
--I left Richmond
about two weeks since, and have made it my business to ascertain, as far as possible, public opinion, in and out of the army, in relation to putting slaves in the army; and I have met but once man opposed to it; and his reason was that it would keep at home some of those old fellows that ought to be in. I have never seen such a change since I was here in November.
I saw to-day a whole company — every officer and man in it are in favor of putting in the slaves.
I have just seen a gentleman from Virginia
, who lately arrived from the Yankee
lines, where he had been imprisoned.
He states that the fear that we would put the slaves in the army was intense and universal.
He said they did not disguise it, that it would put an immediate stop to the war. He says the North
is afraid we will turn the negroes loose on them to burn, plunder and destroy.
What is Congress doing?
Now, let us say to the North
that we are on the defensive; that they can stop this war immediately by withdrawing their troops.
If they refuse, let Congress put three hundred thousand slaves in the army; put deeds of emancipation in their pockets; march one hundred thousand to Pennsylvania
, one hundred thousand to Ohio
, and one hundred thousand to Indiana
; tell them to spare nothing but the old men, women and children; to live on the country; lay waste as they march; to rob the banks; to take every kind of property they want; to have it as their own; to load every wagon, horse, mule and ox with the spoils, and bring it back to their old homes, and enjoy it and freedom for life.
How long would Grant
stay at City Point
I have heard officers of high rank say they would cheerfully volunteer to command the negro troops.
Under the late law to consolidate companies, etc., hundreds of officers will be without commands, who would willingly command these troops.
Let Congress do this, and, in the language of this intelligent Virginian, before next 4th of July the war would end and our independence be acknowledged.
Keep the men over forty-five at home and put the negroes in the army. C.