Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Beginning of the End for Fort Fisher-- Part 1: January 13, 1865

From the Civil War Naval Chronology.

JANUARY 13TH, 1865:  Early on the morning of the 13th, the second amphibious assault on Fort Fisher was begun.  Rear Admiral  Porter took some 59 warships into action.  Major General Alfred Terry commanded 8,000 soldiers.  The naval landing party of 2,000 sailors and Marines would raise the assaulting force to 10,000.  Colonel Lamb's valiant defenders in the fort numbered just 1,500.

The USS New Ironsides led the monitors USS Saugus, Canonicus, Monadnock and Mahopac to within 1000 yards of Fort Fisher and opened on its batteries.  A spirited engagement ensued.

Porter wrote to Secretary Welles:  "It was soon quite apparent that the iron vessels had the best of it; traverses began to disappear and the southern angle of Fort Fisher commenced to look very dilapidated."

The USS Brooklyn and Colorado led the heavy wooden warships into the battle and the Federal fleet maintained a devastating bombardment throughout the day until after dark.

In the meantime, General Terry selected a beachhead out of the fort's gun range and made naturally defensible on the northern side by a line of swamps and woods across the peninsula where he landed his 8,000 troops unopposed.

By daybreak on the 14th he had thrown up a line of defensive breastworks facing Wilmington in order to protect his rear from possible attack by the 6,000 Confederate troops stationed in that city under the command of General Braxton Bragg.

Porter wrote to Welles:  "We have a respectable force landed on a strip of land, which our naval guns completely command, and a place of defense which would enable us to hold on against a very large army."

And, Bragg did nothing to oppose the landing.

Goodbye Fort Fisher, Thanks a Lot, Bragg.  --Old B-Runner

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