Diary of Orrin Brown—Jan 18, 1865

"Union Attack on Fort Fisher, January 15, 1865"Diary of Orrin Brown, Savannah, Georgia

Fourth Part of Journal

Wednesday–Jan. 18th

The weather is cool but clear. Our marching orders have been countermanded until farther orders so we do not know when we shall move. We had two hours Company drill this AM then Gifford and I went down town, we went down to the dock and bought all the oysters that we could eat for 10 cts, we also bought some Buiscuit and Butter and had a gay old dinner. We had to pay $1.00 per lb for the butter & 75 cts per doz for buiscuit. We returned to camp about 5 PM it has been very pleasant through the day but it is cool again this evening. We drew one days rations of Hardtack and one day of Poark, I mailed Part Third of my diary this morning. We received the news of the capture of Ft. Ficher by our forces today. Read 4 Chapt. in Testament today.

After Butler’s December fiasco at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Gen. Grant put Gen. Alfred Terry to work with Admiral Porter on the task of taking Ft. Fisher.  Almost 10,000 Federal soldiers, sailors and marines, and 56 ships were set against the Confederate fort with 1,900 men, as well as the 6,400 Rebel troops in Hoke’s Division who had reinforced the position.  The fort stood on a narrow peninsula, making attack by land difficult, and was built of sand and sod which better absorbed naval bombardment than masonry.

On the 13th of January, Terry landed Colored divisions between Hoke’s division and the fort, forcing those troops to defend the route to Wilmington rather than lend defense to the fort.  On the 14th, Union gunboats opened fire on Fort Fisher, taking out most of the defending guns to open way for a marine landing from the river.  Fighting continued late into the night, on land and at sea.  Just before 10pm, Gen. Terry received the official surrender of the fort.

The loss of Ft. Fisher cut off the Confederacy’s last remaining sea port, isolating the South from what few blockade runners as had been able to make it to shore—Charleston, South Carolina, still held for the Rebels at the time., but no commerce was able to enter the harbor.  Union Gen. John M. Schofield then moved up the Cafe Fear River and captured Wilmington in February.  Charleston was also doomed to fall near the same time as Gen. Sherman and his troops took to the march once more.



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