JANUARY 17TH, 1865: Rear Admiral Porter wrote to Secretary Welles regarding Fort Fisher: I have since visited Fort Fisher and the adjoining works, and find their strength greatly beyond what I had conceived; an engineer might be excusable in saying they could not have be captured except by regular siege. I wonder even now how it was done.
"The work... is really stronger than the Malakoff Tower, which defied so long the combined power of France and England, and yet was captured by a handful of men under fire of the guns of the fleet, and in seven hours after the attack commenced in earnest."
"He concluded his report by proclaiming that Wilmington was hermetically sealed against blockade runners, "and no Alabamas or Floridas, Chickamaugas or Tallahassees will ever fit out again from this port, and our merchant vessels very soon, I hope, will be enabled to pursue in safety their avocation."
But, Admiral, the fort was taken by considerably more than a handful of men, about 10,000 to be more precise, and the Alabama and Florida never even visited Wilmington, though the Florida's commander was mainly John N. Maffitt from Wilmington.