Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The First Battle of Fort Fisher-- Part 3:Christmas Eve Day

From the Civil War Naval Chronology.

DECEMBER 24-25TH, 1864

Naval forces under the command of Rear Admiral Porter and Army units under Major General Butler launched an unsuccessful attack against Fort Fisher.

Transports carrying Butler's troops had retired to Beaufort from their station off Fort Fisher in order to avoid the anticipated results of the explosion of the powder boat Louisiana, and fleet units had assembled in a rendezvous area 12 miles from the fort.

At daylight on 24 December, the huge fleet got underway, formed in line of battle before the formidable Confederate works, and commenced a furious bombardment.  The staunch Southern defenders under the command of Col. William Lamb, were driven from their guns and into the bombproofs of the fort, but managed to occasionally return fire from a few of the guns.

Transports carrying Butler's troops did not arrive from Beaufort until evening; too late for an assault that day  As such, Porter withdrew his ships, intending to return and again bombard the next day.  Most of his casualties this first day came from the bursting of five 100-pounder Parrott guns on board five different ships.

By taking shelter the defenders, too, suffered few casualties despite the tremendous bombardment.  At times, as many as a 100 shells a minute were being fired at the big sand fort.

--Duck and Cover.  --Old B-Runner

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