Fort Fisher

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Clearing the Cape Fear River to Fayetteville

MARCH 10TH, 1865:  Lt.Cmdr. Young reported to Porter progress in clearing the Cape Fear River for the support of Sherman's army now near Fayetteville.  Only small ships or steam launches could provide upriver service.  "The gate obstructions are all clear, so that three or four vessels can pass abreast.

"The obstructions on the line of the two sunken steamers, where the buoy flags were planted, it will be necessary to take great pains to raise carefully.  We have succeeded in destroying some four torpedoes which were found lodged in the logs of the obstructions."

One of Young's gunboats had noted that upriver "the stream is very narrow and tortuous, with a strong current.  Finding that I could not make the turns without using hawsers, and then fouling paddle boxes and smokestack in the branches of large trees, I concluded to return.

"The people, white and black, whom I questioned, state that the Chickamauga is sunk across the stream at Indian Wells, with a chain just below..  Her two guns are on a bluff on the western bank of the river."

Operating conditions in these shallow rivers, often enveloped in forests and swamps, had many similarities with those encountered in South Vietnam by the U.S. Navy.

--Old B-R'er

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