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Doc. 54. the capture of Fort Fisher.

General Terry's report.

headquarters United States forces on Federal Point, N. C., January 25, 1865.
General: I have the honor to submit the following detailed report of the operations which resulted in the capture of Fort Fisher and the occupation of Fort Caswell, and the other works at the mouth of Cape Fear river.

On the second instant I received from the Lieutenant-General in person orders to take command of the troops destined for the movement. They were three thousand three hundred picked men from the Second division of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps, under Brigadier-General (now Brevet Major-General) Adelbert Ames; the same number from the Third division of the Twenty-fifth Army Corps, under command of Brigadier-General Charles J. Paine; one thousand four hundred men from the Second brigade of the First division of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps, under Colonel (now Brevet Brigadier-General) J. C. Abbott, Seventh New Hampshire volunteers; the Sixteenth New York independent battery, with four three-inch guns, and light battery E, Third United States artillery, with six light twelve-pounder guns. I was instructed to move them from their positions in the lines on the north side of the James river to Bermuda landing, in time to commence their embarkation on transport vessels at sunrise on the fourth instant.

In obedience to these orders, the movement commenced at noon of the third instant. The troops arrived at the landing at sunset and there bivouacked for the night.

The transports did not arrive as soon as they were expected. The first of them made its appearance late in the afternoon of the fourth. One of them, the Atlantic, was of too heavy draught to come up the James; Curtis' brigade of Ames' division was therefore placed on river steamboats and sent down the river to be transferred to her.

The embarkation of the remainder of the force commenced at sunset of the fourth and was completed at noon of the fifth instant; each vessel, as soon as it was loaded, was sent to Fort Monroe, and at nine o'clock P. M. of the fifth the whole fleet was collected in Hampton Roads. The troops were all in heavy marching order, with four days rations from the morning of the fourth in their haversacks, and forty rounds of ammunition in their boxes. No horses, wagons, or ambulances were taken; the caissons of the artillery were left behind, but in addition to the ammunition in the limber-chests, one hundred and fifty rounds per gun, in packing boxes, were embarked.

I went down the river personally with the Lieutenant-General, and on the way received from him additional instructions, and the information that orders had been given for the embarkation of a siege train, to consist of twenty thirty-pounder Parrott guns, four one hundred-pounder Parrotts, and twenty Cohorn mortars, with a detail of artillerists and a company of engineers, so that in case siege operations should become necessary the men and material for it might be at hand.

These troops, under the command of Brevet Brigadier-General H. L. Abbott, were to follow me to Beaufort, North Carolina, and await orders. It was not until this time that I was informed that Fort Fisher was the point against which we were to operate.

During the evening of the fifth orders were given for the transports to proceed to sea at four o'clock the next morning, and accompanying these orders were sealed letters, to be opened when off Cape Henry, directing them to rendezvous, in case of separation from the flag-ship, at a point twenty-five miles off Beaufort, North Carolina.

The vessels sailed at the appointed hour. During the sixth instant a severe storm arose, which so much impeded our progress that it was not until the morning of the eighth that my own vessel arrived at the rendezvous; all the others excepting the flag-ship of General Paine were still behind. Leaving Brigadier-General Paine to assemble the other vessels as they should arrive, I went into Beaufort harbor to communicate with Rear-Admiral Porter, commanding the North Atlantic blockading squadron, with whose fleet the forces under my command were destined to co-operate.

During the eighth nearly all the vessels arrived at the rendezvous ; some of them required repairs to their hulls, damaged by the gale; some repairs to their machinery; others needed coal or water. These vessels were brought into the harbor or to the outer anchorage, where their wants were supplied; all the others remained, until the final sailing of the expedition, some twenty to twenty-five miles off the land. The weather continued so unfavorable as to afford no prospect that we would be able to make a landing on the open beach of Federal Point until Wednesday, the 11th. On that day Admiral [427] Porter proposed to start, but at high water there was still so much surf on the bar that the iron-clads and other vessels of heavy draught could not be gotten over it; our departure was therefore delayed till the next day.

On the morning tide of the twelfth the vessels in the harbor passed out, and the whole fleet of naval vessels and transports got under way for this place. As we were leaving, the vessels containing General Abbott's command came in sight; orders were sent to them to follow us.

We did not arrive off Federal Point until nearly night-fall; consequently, and in accordance with the decision of the Admiral, the disembarkation of the troops was not commenced until the next morning. Our subsequent experience fully justified the delay; it would have been extremely difficult to land the men at night.

At four o'clock A. M. of the thirteenth, the inshore division of naval vessels stood in close to the beach to cover the landing. The transports followed them, and took positions as nearly as possible in a line parallel to and about two hundred yards outside of them. The iron-clads moved down to within range of the fort and opened fire upon it. Another division was placed to the northward of the landing-place, so as to protect our men from any attack from the direction of Masonboro Inlet. At eight o'clock nearly two hundred boats, beside steamtugs, were sent from the navy to the transports, and the disembarkation of men, provisions, tools, and ammunition simultaneously commenced.

At three o'clock P. M. nearly eight thousand men, with three days rations in their haversacks, and forty rounds of ammunition in their boxes, six days supply of hard bread in bulk, three hundred thousand additional rounds of small-arm ammunition, and a sufficient number of intrenching tools, had been safely landed. The surf on the beach was still quite high, notwithstanding that the weather, had become very pleasant; and owing to it some of the men had their rations and ammunition ruined by water; with this exception, no accident of any kind occurred.

As soon as the troops had commenced landing pickets were thrown. out; they immediately encountered outposts of the enemy, and shots were exchanged with them, but no serious engagement occurred. A few prisoners were taken, from whom I learned that Hoke's rebel division, which it was supposed had been sent further south, was still here, and that it was his outposts which we were meeting.

The first object which I had in view after landing was to throw a strong defensive line across the peninsula from the Cape Fear river to the sea, facing Wilmington, so as to protect our rear from attack while we should be engaged in operating against Fisher. Our maps indicated that a good position for such a line would be found a short distance above the head of Myrtle Sound, which is a long, shallow piece of water separated from the ocean by a sand-spit of about one hundred yards in width, and communicates with it by Masonboro Inlet.

It was supposed that the right flank of a line at that point would be protected by the sound, and, being above its head, that we should by it control the beach as far up as the inlet, and thus, in case of need, be able to land supplies in quiet water there. Our landing place was selected with reference to this idea. An examination made after we landed showed that the sound for a long distance above its head was so shallow as to offer no obstacle to the passage of troops at low tide, and as the further down the peninsula we should go the shorter would be our line across it, it was determined to take up a position where the maps showed a large pond occupying nearly one third of the width of the peninsula at about three miles from the fort. Shortly before five o'clock, leaving Abbott's brigade to cover our stores, the troops were put in motion for the last-named point. On arriving at it, the “pond” was found to be a sand-flat, sometimes covered with water, giving no assistance to the defence of a line established behind it. Nevertheless, it was determined to get a line across at this place, and Paine's division, followed by two of Ames' brigades, made their way through. The night was very dark, much of the ground was a marsh, and illy adapted to the construction of works, and the distance was found to be too great to be properly defended by the troops which could be spared from the direct attack upon the fort. It was not until nine o'clock P. M. that Paine succeed in reaching the river.

The ground still nearer the fort was then reconnoitred and found to be much better adapted to our purposes; accordingly, the troops were withdrawn from their last position, and established on a line about two miles from the work. They reached this final position at two o'clock A. M. of the fourteenth instant. Tools were immediately brought up and intrenchments were commenced. At eight o'clock a good breastwork, reaching from the river to the sea, and partially covered by abattis, had been constructed and was in a defensible condition. It was much improved afterward, but from this time our foothold on the peninsula was secured.

Early in the morning of the fourteenth, the landing of the artillery was commenced, and by sunset all the light guns were gotten on shore. During the following night they were placed on the line, most of them near the river, where the enemy, in case he should attack us, would be least exposed to the fire of the gunboats.

Curtis' brigade of Ames' division was moved down toward Fisher during the morning, and at noon his skirmishers, after capturing on their way a small steamer which had come down the river with shells and forage for the garrison of the fort, reached a small unfinished outwork in front of the west end of the land-front of the work. [428]

General Curtis, Lieutenant-Colonel (now Brevet Brigadier-General) Comstock, the chief engineer of the expedition, and myself, under the protection of the fire of the fleet, made a careful reconnoissance of the work, getting within six hundred yards of it. The report of General Comstock, which, with its accompanying map, is appended hereto, gives a full description of it and its condition at that time.

As the result of this reconnoissance, and in view of the extreme difficulty which might be expected in landing supplies and the material for a siege on the open and often tempestuous beach, it was decided to attempt an assault the next day, provided that in the mean time the fire of the navy should so far destroy the palisades as to make one practicable.

This decision was communicated to Admiral Porter, who at once placed a division of his vessels in a position to accomplish this last-named object. It was arranged in consultation with him that a heavy bombardment from all the vessels should commence early in the morning and continue up to the moment of the assault, and that even then it should not cease, but should be diverted from the points of attack to other parts of the work.

It was decided that the assault should be made at three o'clock P. M.; that the army should attack on the western half of the land-face, and that a column of sailors and marines should assault at the north-east bastion.

The fire of the navy continued during the night. At eight o'clock A. M., of the fifteenth, all of the vessels, except a division left to aid in the defence of our northern line, moved into position, and a fire, magnificent alike for its power and accuracy, was opened.

Ames' division had been selected for the assault. Paine was placed in command of the defensive line, having with him Abbott's brigade in addition to his own division. Ames' first brigade--Curtis'--was already at the outwork above-mentioned, and in trenches close around it; his other two brigades, Pennypacker's and Bell's, were moved at noon to within supporting distance of him. At two o'clock preparations for the assault were commenced. Sixty sharpshooters from the Thirteenth Indiana volunteers, armed with the Spencer repeating carbine, and forty others, volunteers from Curtis' brigade, the whole under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Lent, of the Thirteenth Indiana, were thrown forward at a run to within one hundred and seventy-five yards of the work. They were provided with shovels, and soon dug pits for shelter, and commenced firing at the parapet.

As soon as this movement commenced the parapet of the fort was manned and the enemy's fire, both of musketry and artillery, opened.

As soon as the sharpshooters were in position, Curtis' brigade was moved forward by regiment, at the double-quick, into line at about four hundred and seventy-five yards from the work. The men there laid down. This was accomplished under a sharp fire of musketry and artillery, from which, however, they soon sheltered themselves by digging shallow trenches.

When Curtis moved from the outwork, Pennypacker was brought up to it, and Bell was brought into line two hundred yards in his rear. Finding that a good cover for Curtis' men could be found on the reverse slope of a crest, fifty yards in the rear of the sharpshooters, they were again moved forward, one regiment at a time, and again covered themselves in trenches. Pennypacker followed Curtis, and occupied the ground vacated by him, and Bell was brought up to the outwork.

It had been proposed to blow up and cut down the palisades; bags of powder, with fuses attached, had been prepared, and a party of volunteer axemen organized; but the fire of the navy had been so effective during the preceding night and morning that it was thought unnecessary to use the powder. The axemen, however, were sent in with the leading brigade, and did good service by making openings in portions of the palisading which the fire of the navy had not been able to reach.

At three twenty-five P. M. all the preparations were completed, the order to move forward was given to Ames, and a concerted signal was made to Admiral Porter to change the direction of his fire.

Curtis' brigade at once sprung from their trenches and dashed forward in line; its left was exposed to a severe enfilading fire, and it obliqued to the right so as to envelop the left of the land-front; the ground over which it moved was marshy and difficult, but it soon reached the palisades, passed through them, and effected a lodgement on the parapet. At the same time the column of sailors and marines, under Fleet-Captain K. R. Breese, advanced up the beach in the most gallant manner and attacked the north-east bastion; but, exposed to a murderous fire, they were unable to get up the parapet. After a severe struggle and a heavy loss of valuable officers and men, it became apparent that nothing could be effected at that point, and they were withdrawn. When Curtis moved forward, Ames directed Pennypacker to move up to the rear of the sharpshooters, and brought Bell up to Pennypacker's last position, and as soon as Curtis got a foothold on the parapet sent Pennypacker in to his support. He advanced, overlapping Curtis' right, and drove the enemy from the heavy palisading, which extended from the west end of the land-face to the river, capturing a considerable number of prisoners; then pushing forward to their left, the two brigades together drove the enemy from about one quarter of the land-face. Ames then brought up Bell's brigade, and moved it between the work and the river. On this side there was no regular parapet, but there was abundance of cover afforded to the enemy by cavities from which sand had been taken for the parapet, the ruins of barracks and storehouses, [429] the large magazine, and by traverses, behind which they stubbornly resisted our advance. Hand-to-hand fighting of the most desperate character ensued, the huge traverses of the land-face being used successively by the enemy as breastworks, over the tops of which the contending parties fired in each other's faces. Nine of these were carried one after the other by our men.

When Bell's brigade was ordered into action I foresaw that more troops would probably be needed, and sent an order for Abbott's brigade to move down from the north line, at the same time requesting Captain Breese to replace them with his sailors and marines. I also directed General Paine to send me one of the strongest regiments of his own division; these troops arrived at dusk and reported to General Ames. At six o'clock Abbott's brigade went into the fort; the regiment from Paine's division — the Twenty-seventh United states colored troops, Brevet Brigadier-General A. M. Blackman commanding — was brought up to the rear of the work, where it remained under fire for some time, and was then withdrawn. Until six o'clock the fire of the navy continued upon that portion of the work not occupied by us; after that time it was directed on the beach, to prevent the coming up of reinforcements, which it was thought might possibly be thrown over from the right bank of the river to Battery Buchanan. The fighting for the traverses continued till nearly nine o'clock, two more of them being carried; then a portion of Abbott's brigade drove the enemy from their last remaining strongholds, and the occupation of the work was completed.

The same brigade, with General Blackman's regiment, were immediately pushed down the Point to Battery Buchanan, whither many of the garrison had fled. On reaching the battery all of the enemy who had not been previously captured were made prisoners. Among them were Major-General Whiting, and Colonel Lamb, the commandant of the fort.

About four o'clock in the afternoon Hoke advanced against our north line, apparently with the design of attacking it; but if such was his intention he abandoned it after a skirmish with our pickets.

During the day Brevet Brigadier-General H. L. Abbott, Chief of Artillery, was busily engaged in landing artillery and ammunition, so that if the assault failed, siege operations might at once be commenced.

Consequent to the fall of Fisher, the enemy, during the nights of the sixteenth and seventeenth, blew up Fort Caswell, and abandoned both it and their very extensive works on Smith's island, at Smithville and Reeve's Point, thus placing in our hands all the works erected to defend the mouth of the Cape Fear river.

In all the works were found one hundred and sixty-nine pieces of artillery, nearly all of which are heavy; over two thousand stands of small arms; considerable quantities of commissary stores, and full supplies of ammunition. Our prisoners numbered one hundred and twelve commissioned officers and one thousand nine hundred and seventy-one enlisted men.

I have no words to do justice to the behavior of both officers and men on this occasion; all that men could do they did. Better soldiers never fought. Of General Ames I have already spoken in a letter recommending his promotion. He commanded all the troops engaged, and was constantly under fire. His great coolness, good judgment, and skill were never more conspicuous than on this assault. Brigadier-General Curtis and Colonels Pennypacker, Bell and Abbott--the brigade commanders — led them with the utmost gallantry. Curtis was wounded, after fighting in the front rank, rifle in hand; Pennypacker, while carrying the standard of one of the regiments, the first man in a charge over the traverse. Bell was mortally wounded near the palisades.

Brigadier-General Paine deserves high praise for the zeal and energy displayed by him in constructing our defensive line, a work absolutely essential to our success.

Brevet Brigadier-General Blackman deserves mention for the prompt manner in which he brought his regiment up to the work, and afterward followed up the retreating enemy.

To Brevet Brigadier-General C. B. Comstock, aid-de-camp on the staff of the Lieutenant-General, I am under the deepest obligations. At every step of our progress I received from him the most valuable assistance. For the final success of our part of the operations the country is more indebted to him than to me.

Colonel George S. Dodge, Chief Quartermaster of the Army of the James, accompanied me as Chief Quartermaster of the forces under my command. His able and energetic performance of his multifarious duties was all that could be wished for, and reflected the highest honor upon him.

Surgeon Norman S. Barnes, United States Volunteers, Medical Director, and Surgeon A. J. H. Buzzell, Third New Hampshire volunteers, Medical Inspector of the expedition, discharged their laborious duties on the field and in the hospital in a manner most creditable to their ability and humanity. I desire to express my high appreciation of the services of these officers.

I shall have the honor to submit a supplemental report in reference to those subordinate officers and enlisted men who distinguished themselves on the occasion.

I should signally fail to do my duty were I to omit to speak in terms of the highest admiration of the part borne by the navy in our operations. In all ranks, from Admiral Porter to his seamen, there was the utmost desire not only to do their proper work, but to facilitate in every possible manner the operations of the land forces. To him and to the untiring efforts of [430] his officers and men are we indebted that our men, stores, tools, and ammunition were safely and expeditiously landed, and that our wounded and prisoners were embarked for transportation to the North; to the great accuracy and power of their fire it is owing that we had not to confront a formidable artillery in the assault; and that we were able, with but little loss to push forward the men, preparatory to it, to a point nearly as favorable for it as the one they would have occupied had siege operations been undertaken and the work systematically approached. The assault of the sailors and marines, although it failed, undoubtedly contributed somewhat to our success, and certainly nothing could surpass the perfect skill with which the fleet was handled by its commander. Every request which I made to Admiral Porter was most cheerfully complied with, and the utmost harmony has existed between us from the outset to the present time.

I forward herewith General Ames' report.

I have the honor to be, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General Comstock's report.

headquarters United States forces, Fort Fisher, North Carolina, January 27, 1865.
sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of engineer operations in connection with the capture of Fort Fisher, together with a sketch of that work and another of the country in the vicinity. Fort Fisher is situated on the peninsula between the Cape Fear river and the Atlantic ocean, about a mile and a half north-east of Federal Point. For five miles north of Federal Point this peninsula is sandy and low, not rising more than fifteen feet above high tide, the interior abounding in fresh-water swamps, often wooded and almost impassable, while much of the dry land, till one gets within half a mile of Fort Fisher, is covered with wood or low undergrowth, except a strip about three hundred yards wide along the sea-shore. The landing of the troops composing the expedition was effected on the sea-beach about five miles north of Fort Fisher, on January twelve, and Paine's division was at once pushed across to Cape Fear river, with instructions to take up a line to be held against any attack from the direction of Wilmington. This line, on the morning of January thirteen, was already defensible, and was further strengthened during the day, while on the fourteenth a second line was laid out and begun under charge of Lieutenant J. H. Price, in rear of its left. Pioneer companies were organized in Ames' and Paine's divisions, and, as during the fourteenth the fire of the rebel gunboat Chickamauga killed and wounded a number of our men, Lieutenant O'Keeffe, with his company of the Fifteenth regiment New York volunteer engineers, was directed to build a battery for two thirty-pounder Parrotts on the bank of the river, to keep her off.

On the afternoon of January fourteenth a reconnoissance was pushed under the direction of the Major-General commanding to within five hundred yards of Fort Fisher, a small advanced work being taken possession of. This was at once turned into a defensive line, to be held against any attempt from Fort Fisher. The reconnoissance showed that the palisading in front of the work had been seriously injured by the navy fire; only nine guns could be seen on the land-front where sixteen had been counted on Christmas day; the steady, though not rapid fire of the navy prevented the enemy from using either artillery or musketry on the reconnoitring party; it seemed probable that troops could be got within two hundred yards of the work without serious loss, and it was a matter of great doubt whether the necessary ammunition could be supplied by the open beach, if regular approaches were determined on. It was decided to assault, and the assault was made on the fifteenth, at three and a half P. M., after three hours of heavy navy fire, by three deployed brigades, following one another at intervals of about three hundred yards, and each making its final rush for the west end of the land-face, from a rough rifle-pit about three hundred yards from the work.

At the point attacked the palisading was less injured than elsewhere, it being partially hidden, and it was necessary to use axes to cut and timbers to batter it down, in order that the troops might pass rapidly through it. Powder-sacks, for blowing these palisades down had been prepared, but were not used.

After seven hours fighting, gaining traverse by traverse, the work was won.

Fort Fisher consists of two fronts — the first, or land-front, running across the peninsula at this point, seven hundred yards wide, is four hundred and eighty yards in length, while the second or sea-front runs from the right of the first parallel to the beach to the mound battery, a distance of thirteen hundred yards. The land-front is intended to resist any attack from the north, the sea-front to prevent any of our naval vessels from running through New Inlet or landing troops on Federal Point.

1. Land-Front.--This front consists of a half bastion on the left or Cape Fear river side, connected by a curtain with a bastion on the ocean side. The parapet is twenty-five feet thick, averages twenty feet in height, with traverses rising ten feet above it, and running back on their tops, which were from eight to twelve feet in thickness, to a distance of from thirty to forty feet from the interior crest. The traverses on the left half bastion were about twenty-five feet in length on top.

The earth for this heavy parapet and the enormous traverses at their inner ends, more than thirty feet in height, was obtained partly from a shallow exterior ditch, but mainly from the interior of the work. Between each pair of [431] traverses there was one or two guns. The traverses on the right of this front were only partially completed. A palisade, which is loop-holed and has a banquette, runs in front of this face at a distance of about fifty feet in front of the foot of the exterior slope from the Cape Fear river to the ocean, with a position for a gun on the left of the front and the river, and another between the right of the front and the ocean. Through the middle traverse on the curtain was a bomb-proof postern, whose exterior opening was covered by a small redan for two field-pieces, to give flank fire along the curtain. The traverses were generally bomb-proofed for men or magazines. The slopes of the work appeared to have been revetted with marsh sod, or covered with grass, and to have had an inclination of forty-five degrees, or a little less. On those slopes most exposed to navy fire the revetment or grassing has been entirely destroyed, and the inclination reduced to thirty degrees.

The ends of traverses as they rise above the parapet are very ragged. Still all damage done to the earthwork can be readily repaired, its strength being about the same as before the bombardment. The damage done by the navy fire was, first to the palisades, which were so injured as in most places to be little obstacle to assaulting troops; second, to guns and carriages. There were originally on the front twenty-one guns and three mortars. Of these three fourths were rendered unserviceable by injuries to either gun or carriage. The gun in the right bastion, the field-pieces in front of the postern, and one or two mortars, were used against the assaulting troops.

There was a formidable system of torpedoes two hundred yards in advance of this front, the torpedoes being about eighty feet apart, and each containing about one hundred pounds of powder. They were connected with the fort by three sets of wires; fortunately the sets leading directly to those over which the army and navy columns moved had been cut by shells, and no torpedo was exploded.

2. Sea-Front.--This front consists of a series of batteries mounting in all twenty-four guns, the different batteries being connected by a strong infantry parapet, so as to form a continuous line. The same system of heavy traverses for the protection of the guns is used as on the land-front, and these traverses are also generally bomb-proofed.

Captain N. Adams, Fourth New Hampshire volunteers, and First Lieutenant J. H. Price, Fourth United States colored troops, commanding pioneer companies of Ames' and Paine's divisions, and First Lieutenant K. S. O'Keeffe, commanding company of Fifteenth New York volunteer engineers, have, with their commands, been of great service in the construction of batteries and defensive works. First Lieutenant A. H. Knowlton, Fourth New Hampshire volunteers, has rendered valuable assistance in making sketches of Fort Fisher; as also private Schultz, Fifteenth New York volunteer engineers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. Comstock, Lieutenant-Colonel and Brevet Brigadier-General, Chief Engineer. Major A. Terry, A. A. G.
It may be added that in thirty bomb-proofs and magazines and their passages there were fourteen thousand five hundred feet of floor-space, not including the main magazine, which was exploded, and whose dimensions are un known.

C. B. C.

Brigadier-General Ames' report.

headquarters Second division, twenty-Fourth Army corps, Fort Fisher, N. C., January 16, 1865.
Captain A. Terry, Assistant Adjutant-General:
I have the honor to submit the following report of the late movements and operations of this division:

On the night of the second the division, which had just returned to its camp from a demonstration against this point, received orders to prepare for a second expedition. It left camp on the third, and embarked on ocean transports at Bermuda Hundred, between the hours of seven and nine P. M., on the fourth instant.

The transport fleet sailed from Fortress Mon roe on the morning of the sixth, and the troops disembarked some four miles north of Fort Fisher on the thirteenth instant.

At three o'clock P. M. on the fifteenth we stormed Fort Fisher. Brevet Brigadier-General N. M. Curtis' brigade (the First) made a lodgement on the north-west angle of the fort. I immediately ordered up Colonel G. A. Pennypacker's brigade (the Second). The enemy was at once driven from behind the palisading extending from the fort to the river, and about one third of the work, its north-west angle, occupied by us. I then ordered up Colonel Bell's brigade (the Third), and moved it forward against and in rear of the sea-face of the work, the ground being much obstructed by the ruins of the barracks, lumber, and other rubbish; the enemy being protected by traverses, and taking advantage of the cover afforded by magazines, &c., checked our advance.

Fighting of a most obstinate character continued till after dark, during which time we made considerable advancement on the left, and captured about four hundred prisoners.

About eight o'clock P. M., Colonel Abbott with his brigade completed the occupation of the face of the work, extending from the ocean to the river. A general advance was now made, and the fort occupied without opposition.

The conduct of the officers and men of this division was most gallant. Aided by the fire of the navy and an attacking column of sailors and marines along the sea beach, we were able to pass over the open ground in front of the fort, through the gaps in the palisading in the [432] ditch made by the naval fire, and finally to carry the work.

Where the name of every officer and man engaged in this desperate conflict should be submitted, I shall at present only be able to give a few of those most conspicuous. It is to be hoped they all may be properly rewarded.

Brevet Brigadier-General N. M. Curtis, commanding First brigade, was prominent throughout the day for his bravery, coolness and judgment. His services cannot be over-estimated. He fell a short time before dark, seriously wounded in the head by a canister shot.

Colonel G. A. Pennypacker, commanding Second brigade, was seriously wounded while planting his colors on the third traverse, of the work. This officer was surpassed by none, and his absence during the day was most deeply felt and seriously regretted.

Colonel L. Bell, commanding Third brigade, was mortally wounded while crossing the bridge in advance of the palisading. He was an able and efficient officer, one not easily replaced.

I here submit the names of the regimental commanders; and in connection with the brigade commanders is the credit due them for the heroic conduct of their men.

Regimental commanders: First brigade, One Hundred and Forty-second New York volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel A. M. Barney; One Hundred and Seventeenth New York volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel F. H. Meyer; One Hundred and Twelfth New York volunteers, Colonel J. F. Smith; Third New York volunteers, Lieutenant E. A. Behna. Second brigade, Forty-eighth New York volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel W. B. Coan; Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel J. S. Littell; Forty-seventh New York volunteers, Captain J. M. McDonald; Two Hundred and Third Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel J. W. Moore ; Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania volunteers, First Lieutenant J. Wainwright. Third brigade, One Hundred and Sixty-ninth New York volunteers, Colonel Alonzo Alden; Thirteenth Indiana volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel S. M. Zent; Fourth New Hampshire volunteers, Captain J. H. Roberts; One Hundred and Fifteenth New York volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel N. J. Johnson. Colonel J. W. Moore, Two Hundred and Third Pennsylvania volunteers, behaved with the most distinguished gallantry. He was killed while passing the second traverse of the fort in advance of his regiment, waving his colors. Few equalled, none surpassed this brave officer.

Lieutenant-Colonel S. M. Zent, in command of the Thirteenth Indiana, with his own regiment and a detachment of volunteers from the First brigade, numbering in all one hundred men, deployed within two or three hundred yards of the fort and by their fire materially aided our advance.

Major J. R. Lawrence, Thirteenth Indiana volunteers, and Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Colvin, One Hundred and Sixty-ninth New York volunteers, also behaved in the most gallant manner, and rendered efficient service in collecting and organizing the troops which had become separated from their commands in the charge, and in leading them to positions where important advantages were gained. Captain G. W. Huckins, Fourth New Hampshire volunteers, and First Lieutenant J. Konig, Seventh United States colored troops, aids on the staff of Colonel L. Bell, commanding Third brigade, were untiring in their labors, and rendered valuable services in the absence of my staff officers, who had been stricken down in the early part of the engagement.

Privates Ulric Chapin and James Spring, company G, One Hundred and Forty-second, D. C. Hotchkiss, company A, and O. R. Kingsland, company D, One hundred and Twelfth New York volunteers, volunteered to approach to a point considerably in advance of our skirmish line, which they did do, and by this step valuable information with reference to the ditch was gained. Privates James Cadman, wounded; William Cabe, company B; George Hoyt and S. R. Porteus, company C; D. H. Morgan and Edward Petue, company E; E. H. Cooper, company G, wounded; Silas Baker, company H, missing. George Merrill and William J. McDuff, company I; Z. C. Neahel and Bruce Anderson, company K, One Hundred and Forty-second New York volunteers, volunteered to advance with the head of the column and cut down the palisading.

Copies of the reports of the brigade commanders will be forwarded. In them will be found lists of officers and men who particularly distinguished themselves. It is recommended that medals be bestowed upon all enlisted men mentioned.

To my staff officers I am particularly indebted for their zeal and gallantry throughout the day ; they were constantly passing to and fro, and exposed to the hottest fire.

I would respectfully recommend that they be brevetted for their services. Captain Charles A. Carleton, A. A. G.; Captain A. G. Lawrence, Acting A. D. C.; Captain H. C. Lockwood, A. D. C.; Captain R. W. Dawson, Assistant Inspector-General; Captain J. S. Mathews, Provost Marshal; Captain B. B. Keeler, Mustering Officer.

Captain Lawrence was the first man through the palisading, and while extending his hand to receive a guidon which he intended to place on the parapet of the work, a shell exploded near him, taking off his left arm and seriously injuring his throat. He was afterward shot in the right arm. For his services on this occasion, as well as those on a former one, I most earnestly urge his promotion. Captain Dawson was disabled by a wound in the left arm. To Captain Lockwood, General Whiting and [433] Colonel Lamb surrendered with the garrison at Fort Buchanan.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. Ames, Brigadier-General Volunteers.

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