The late operations at Wilmington — the official reports.
The report of Lieutenant Chapman
, of the incidents of the 24th and 25th ultimo, is so comprehensive as to render any further report unnecessary.
The commendation which the officer serving at the battery and in the fort received from Lieutenant Chapman
I deem it proper, though, to present to the notices of the Department the zeal manifested on the occasion of the attack by Lieutenants Armstrong
These officers were here on the way to Charleston
when the enemy appeared off the fort.
They immediately volunteered to serve wherever they could be useful, and went with me to battery Buchanan.
On the commencement of the bombardment they asked to be permitted to go to Lieutenant Roby
's battery, whither they went through the fire of the enemy.
They remained in the fort until the termination of the bombardment.
For this service I deem it my duty to commend them to the notice of the Department.
On the appearance of the enemy I was obliged to take a portion of the crew of the Chickamauga
to serve the guns at Fort Fisher
These officers and men served with distinguished skill and gallantry, as is stated by Lieutenant Chapman
, though not immediately engaged in the defence, still rendered efficient service in the transportation of ammunition.
Battery Buchanan, December 29, 1864.
I reported to you on the 20th instant that the fleet of the enemy had arrived off this place.
They disappeared on the same day and returned on the
23d, and anchored about six miles off Fort Fisher
A detachment of twenty-nine men, under Lieutenant Roby
, was sent from this battery to man the Brooke
guns at Fort Fisher
On the 24th, at 12 o'clock M., the fleet of the enemy got under way in line ahead (the Ironsides
leading), and at 1 o'clock they opened fire on the fort.--There were forty-three vessels engaged throwing every kind of projectiles, from a 3-inch bolt to a 15-inch shell.
A most terrific bombardment continued until 5:30 P. M., when the enemy withdrew.
On the 25th, at 10:30, the fight was renewed by the same number of vessels, and the fire was incessant until 5:30 P. M., when the fleet again went beyond the range of our guns.
At 2:30, a number of boats were lowered from the ships of the fleet and approached the battery.
I think they were dragging for torpedoes.
We opened fire on them from one gun, and at the fourth discharge sunk one of the boats; the others quickly withdrew.
At 5:20 P. M., a message was received from Fort Fisher
, saying the enemy had landed and were advancing on the fort, and asking for reinforcements.
Two-thirds of the men belonging to the battery were immediately sent to the fort, under Lieutenant Arledge
and officers of the companies.
They double quicked to the fort, and got there in time to assist in repelling the assault.
We were at quarters nearly all Sunday night, expecting an attack from the boats of the fleet.
On the 26th, the men belonging to the battery except those under Lieutenant Roby
, returned from Fort Fisher
There was no firing on the fort on the 26th or 27th.
On the 27th, the forces of the enemy re-embarked, and on the night of the 28th the fleet disappeared, leaving only the regular blockading squadron off this place.
Both of the guns commanded by Lieutenant Roby
I send his report.
Passed Midshipmen Carey
were with Lieutenant Roby
, and I understand the conduct of these officers, and the men with them, is above all praise.
Out of the twenty-nine men from this battery serving at Fort Fisher
nineteen were killed and wounded, and I regret to state that some have since died.
came down as volunteers.
They went to the forts and behaved as gallantly as men could do. Lieutenant Dornin
was painfully wounded by the explosion of a shell.
Lieutenant-Colonel A. Anderson, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector-General, Headquarters Department of North Carolina:
: For the information of the general commanding, I forward the report of Colonel Lamb
, commanding Fort Fisher
in the action of the 24th and 25th:
On receiving the information, at 1 P. M., on the 24th, that the fleet was moving in to take position, I at once ordered a steamer, and reporting to the headquarters, proceeded to the point of attack, reaching Confederate Point just before the close of the first day's bombardment, which lasted four hours and a half. That of the second day commenced at 10:20 A. M., and continued, with no intermission or apparent slackening, with great fury, from over fifty ships, until dark.--During the day, the enemy landed a large force, and at 4:30 advanced a line of skirmishers on the left flank of the sand curtain, the fleet at the same time making a concentrated and tremendous enfilading fire upon the curtain.
The garrison, however, at the proper moment, when the fire slackened to allow the approach of the enemy's land force, drove them off with grape and musketry; at dark the enemy withdrew.
A heavy storm set in, and the garrison were much exposed, as they were under arms all night.
At 3 A. M., 26th, a reported advance in boats was opened on with grape and shell.
The garrison remained steadily waiting a renewal of the assault or bombardment until Tuesday morning, when they were relieved by the supports of Major-General Hoke
and the embarkation of the enemy.
's report, herewith, gives all the details of the action.
In an accompanying paper I will give you an account in detail of all matters which fell under my own observation during the action and the three succeeding days, which I beg you will cause to be forwarded for the information of the War Department.
As soon as other business will permit, a report in detail of the construction of the works, capacity of resistance, effect of fire, movements of the enemy, and improvements suggested, will be made out and forwarded for the information of the Engineer Department.
In this it only remains for me to express my grateful sense of the gallantry, endurance and skill of the garrison and its accomplished commander.
To the latter I have already paid a just tribute of praise, not for this action only, but for his whole course at Fort Fisher
, of which this action and its result is but the fruit.
His report of the
gallantry of individuals I fully confirm, from my own observation.
I wish to mention Captain Mann
, Lieutenant Latham
, Lieutenant Hunter
, of the Thirty-sixth; Lieutenant Rankin
, of the First battalion; Captain Adams
, of the Light Artillery, as very active and efficient.
To Colonel Tansill
, of my staff, we owe many thanks.
To his skillful judgment and great experience the defence of the sand front was committed at the critical moment of assault.
Of Major Rielly
, with his battery, of the Tenth North Carolina, who served the guns of the sand front during the entire action, I have to say he has added another name to the long lists of fields on which he has been conspicuous for indomitable pluck and consummate skill.
, chief of my staff, and Major Strong
, aide-de camp
, here, as always, actively aide me throughout.
The gallant bearing and active labors of Major Saunders
, chief of artillery
to General Herbert
, in very exposed positions, attracted my especial attention.
I present my acknowledgments to Flag-Officer Pinkney
, Confederate States
navy, who was present during the action, for the welcome and efficient aid sent to Colonel Lamb
, the detachment under Lieutenant Roby
, which manned the two Brooke
guns, and the company of marines, under Captain Van Benthuysen
, which reinforced the garrison.
, Confederate States
navy, commanding battery Buchanan, by his skillful gunnery, saved us on our right from a movement of the enemy which, unless checked, might have resulted in a successful passage.
The navy detachment at the guns, under very trying circumstances, did good work.
No commendation of mine can be too much for the coolness, discipline and skill displayed by officers and men.
Their names have not all been furnished to me, but Lieutenants Roby
attracted special attention throughout.
To Passed Midshipman Carey
I wish to give personal thanks.
Though wounded, he reported after the bursting of his gun, to repel the threatened assault, and actively assisted Colonel Tansill
on the land front.
Above all, and before all, we should be grateful, and I trust all are, for the favor of Almighty God, under which, and by which, a signal deliverance has been achieved.
P. S.--I wish it to be understood that in no sense did I assume the command of Colonel Lamb
I was a witness, simply confining my action to observation and advice and to our communications, and it is as a witness that I report.