JANUARY 15, 1865: The bombardment continued on the third day as Union troops and sailors and Marines prepared to attack the fort's land face. At 3 p.m., the signal to cease firing was sent to the fleet with the whistles of the ships and everyone started forward. The troops attacked the fort at where the land face met the Cape Fear River. The sailors and Marines of the Naval Brigade dashed across the open beach attacking the Northeast Bastion.
The defenders of the fort opened a point-blank concentrated fire on the Naval Brigade "ploughing lanes in the ranks." Leading the assault, Lt. Samuel W. Preston, one of the Navy's ablest young officers, and Lt. Benjamin H. Porter (no relation to the admiral), the commanding officer of Porter's flagship, the USS Malvern, were among those killed.
The assault continued under command of Lt. Cmdr. K. Randolph Breese.
Ensign Robley D. Evans, later to become a Rear Admiral with the well-earned sobriquet "Fighting Bob"-- suffered four wounds, two crippling his legs.