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eived any particular credit for this operation, which was the final stab that brought the enemy to his last throes. To those who take an interest in the naval operations of the war, some of the remarks of the military historian on Fort Fisher are interesting. In spite of many inaccuracies, he shows the pertinacity with which the Navy held on to what they had begun, and the difficulties they had encountered against the fierce gales that swept the coast during those months of December and January. Not a vessel left her post, and the Navy could have protected the landing of any number of troops. It was manifestly the object of the military historian to give the Army more credit than was due them, and make the Navy play a secondary part in the reduction of the defences in Wilmington. The Navy covered the attack of the troops and the sailors attacked the sea-face of Fort Fisher; the garrison, supposing this to be the main attack, rushed to the sea-face, and, as Badeau says, swept
December 13th (search for this): chapter 54
ons and would be in command. I rather formed the idea that General Butler was actuated by a desire to witness the effect of the explosion of the powder-boat. The expedition was detained several days at Hampton Roads, awaiting the loading of the powder-boat. The importance of getting the Wilmington expedition off without any delay, with or without the powder-boat, had been urged upon General Butler, and he advised to so notify Admiral Porter. The expedition finally got off on the 13th of December, and arrived at the place of rendezvous, off New Inlet, near Fort Fisher, on the evening of the 15th. Admiral Porter arrived on the evening of the 18th, having put in at Beaufort to get ammunition for the Monitors. The sea becoming rough, making it difficult to land troops, and the supply of water and coal being about exhausted, the transport fleet put back to Beaufort to replenish; this, with the state of the weather, delayed the return to the place of rendezvous until the 24th. Th
December 9th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 54
ho cannot realize the various considerations-military, political and personal — which affect the decisions of men in power, will, doubtless, here find cause to censure Grant. General Grant might well have exclaimed on reading this, Save me from my friends! The military historian does not give his authority for the foregoing statements, but it is certain that, when General Butler reported his return from Wilmington to General Grant, the latter relieved him from command. On the 9th of December, 1864, General Grant telegraphed to Butler at Fortress Monroe. Let General Weitzel get off as soon as possible; we don't want the Navy to wait an hour. Yet the Navy had waited patiently from the 15th of October until the 6th of December, fifty-one days! It will be seen throughout this narrative that we have given General Grant on all occasions credit for the highest military ability, and in this instance we do not desire to take from him one iota of it. We only refer to the revelations
December 6th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 54
that Bragg had gone to Georgia, taking with him most of the forces about Wilmington, I deemed it of the utmost importance that the expedition should reach its destination before the return of Bragg, and directed General Butler to make all arrangements for the departure of Major-General Weitzel, who had been designated to command the land forces, so that the Navy might not be detained one moment. On the 6th of December the following instructions were given: City Point, Virginia, December 6, 1864. General — The first object of the expedition under General Weitzel is to close to the enemy the port of Wilmington. If successful in this, the second will be to capture Wilmington itself. There are reasonable grounds to hope for success, if advantage can be taken of the absence of the greater part of the enemy's forces, now looking after Sherman in Georgia. The directions you have given for the numbers and equipment of the expedition are all right, except in the unimportant mat
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