JANUARY 16TH, 1865: With Fort Fisher lost and foreseeing the Union fleet's entrance into the Cape Fear River would cut his waterborne communications system, General Bragg ordered the evacuation of the remaining Confederate positions at the mouth of the river.
At 7 a.m. Forts Caswell and Campbell were abandoned and destroyed. Fort Holmes on Smith's Island and Fort Johnson at Smithville were likewise destroyed by the retreating garrisons, which fell back on Fort Anderson, on the west bank of the Cape Fear River between Fort Fisher and Wilmington.
One Confederate wrote: "The Yankees have made a barren capture...." In fact, however, Wilmington, the last major port open to blockade runners, was now effectively sealed and General Lee was cut off from his only remaining supply line from Europe.
Rear Admiral Porter was only too aware of the import of this capture and wrote Captain Godon: "...the death knell of another fort is booming in the distance. Fort Caswell with its powerful batteries is in flames and being blown up, and thus is sealed the door through which this rebellion is fed."
A Really Big Loss. --Old B-R'er