JANUARY 12TH, 1865: The "Great Armada," as Col. Lamb described Rear Admiral Porter's fleet, got underway from Beaufort, North Carolina, where a rendezvous had been made with 8,000 Union troops under the command of Major General Terry.
The fleet, up to that time the largest American force to be assembled under one command, proceeded along the Carolina coast northeast of Wilmington and arrived off Fort Fisher that same night. Preparations were made for commencing a naval bombardment the following morning and for the amphibious landing of 10,000 soldiers, sailors and Marines.
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