Saturday, December 24, 2011

First Battle of Fort Fisher

147 years ago on this day, Union Admiral David Dixon Porter and Major General Benjamin Butler teamed up against Confederate Major General Robert Hoke in the First Battle of Fort Fisher in New Hanover County, North Carolina, which protected the port of Wilmington. The battle was a Confederate victory, though the fort was taken in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher in January 1865.

From the 7 January 1865 issue of Harper's Weekly:
From Richmond papers we learn that Porter's fleet, estimated by the rebels at fifty vessels, including two Monitors, made a "furious" attack on Fort Fisher about 1 P.M., December 24, and was continued through the day, and repeated the next day at 10 o'clock A.M. The enemy admits a loss of twenty-three wounded the first day. Under cover of a heavy fire Butler had succeeded in landing above the fort with his military division, consisting of portion, of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Corps. General Butler's command still held its ground, although it had been repulsed in an assault on the fort. From a report which comes from Newborn, dated the 24th, it appears that during the night of the 23d a terrible explosion occurred. This was doubtless the explosion of the Louisiana, which had been laden with 300 tons of gunpowder, and exploded in front of Fort Fisher previous to the near approach of the fleet. The rebel reports, however, make no mention of this fact, though they admit that the situation of the fort is precarious. Fort Fisher is situated on Federal Point, on the north bank, and at the mouth of Cape Fear River, twenty miles below Wilmington. It commands the approach to Wilmington by New Inlet, and its capture will insure a complete blockade of that most important port.

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