Fort Fisher

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

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chameleon Unsuccessfully Attempts to Run Into Charleston: "Our Hearts Sank Within Us"

FEBRUARY 5TH, 1865:  The blockade-runner Chameleon, Lt. Wilkinson, attempted to run through the blockade into Charleston Harbor, S.C., with desperately needed supplies for General Lee's Army at Petersburg, but was unsuccessful.

Having run into the Cape Fear river the previous month only to find Fort fisher in Union hands on January 19, the bold Wilkinson had returned to Nassau and learned on January 30th that Charleston was still in Confederate hands.

On February 1st, he departed Nassau and evaded the USS Vanderbilt after a long chase, but found that the blockade of Charleston had been augmented by so many ships from off the Wilmington station that he could not get into the  harbor while the tide was high.

Wilkinson later wrote, "the course of the Chameleon was gain, and for the last time, shaped for Nassau.  As we turned away from the land, our hearts sank within us, that the cause for which so much blood had been shed, so many miseries bravely endured, and so many sacrifices cheerfully made, was about to perish at last!"

--Old B-Rer

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