JUNE 23-24TH, 1864: Lieutenant William Cushing and 17 men from his ship, the USS Monticello, reconnoitered the Cape Fear River to within three miles of Wilmington, NC.
They rowed past the batteries guarding the western bar on the night of the 23rd, and despite three narrow escapes pulled safely ashore below Wilmington as day dawned on the 24th.
The expedition's goal was to obtain information about the CSS Raleigh, which Cushing was unaware had been wrecked after the engagement on 6 May. He learned on this sortie that the ram had been "indeed, destroyed, and nothing now remains of her above the water."
He also collected a lot more information. The CSS Yadkin, 300-ton flagship of Flag Offiver Lynch, "mounted only two guns, did not seem to have many men." Ironclad sloop CSS North Carolina was at anchor off Wilmington; she "would not stand long against a monitor."
And, he Found Out More. --Old B-Runner