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[235] still advancing, seeing that to press on would simply end in measuring their length upon the sand, turned, fled in haste up the beach, and sought the cover of the pits and trench dug some hours before, too distant to enable even the marines with their arms to return an effective fire. A doubt may be ventured whether any troops, however armed, could have effected an advance on this line of assault at that time.

When it was discovered that the army column was moving to attack, the navy columns were ordered to advance by the flank along the beach, with the hope of forming them for the assault under cover of the marines; but exposed to a galling fire of musketry, only four hundred yards distance, threw a portion of the marines into the first line, and the rest of them did not take position as they should.

The second and third lines came along and the heads of the three lines joined and formed one compact column, which filing up to the sea face of Fort Fisher, assaulted to within fifty yards of the parapet, which was lined by one dense mass of musketeers, who played sad havoc with our men. Although exposed to a most severe fire from the enemy, the men were rallied three times under the personal encouragement and exposure of their commanding officers, but failed to gain much ground.

Captain Breese's Report.

Captain Breese mentioned the gallantry of many officers, among whom was his senior, Lieutenant-Commander Parker, who led the third line of assault, if the columns advancing as above described can be called lines of assault.

In fact, the palisades, a shelving sea-beach, the rifle-pits, some small sand-hills, and the trench before mentioned served partially to protect the survivors of the heads of columns from the fire of the small arms on the bastion until the

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K. R. Breese (2)
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