JANUARY 22ND, 1865: Rear Admiral Porter ordered Commander John Guest of the USS Iosco, to "regulated the movements of the vessels in the Cape Fear River above Fort Fisher...."
Porter sought to move the line of ships as near Fort Anderson, the position to which the Confederates had withdrawn following the fall of Fort fisher and adjacent forts, "as is consistent with safety, and in doing so care must be taken of the torpedoes and other obstructions."
The same day, the USS Pequot, Lt.Cmdr. Daniel L. Braine, steamed upriver and opened on Fort Anderson to reconnoiter and test its defenses. The Confederates brought only two "small rifle pieces" in action, but, Braine reported: "I observed 6 guns, evidently smoothbore, pointing down the river, protected by the ordinary sand traverses."
Having sealed off Wilmington, the last major port of the South, the Union was now moving to occupy it.
Had they done so earlier than they did in late February, they would have captured a whole lot more supplies destined for Lee's Army which was in the process now of being hurriedly evacuated.