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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:00 pm 
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December 11, 1864 Sunday
Sherman’s Federals were busy investing Savannah, although the route north to Charleston was not yet cut off and, in fact, never would be. The lengthy King’s Bridge over the Ogeechee River, direct route to Fort McAllister, had to be rebuilt. It had been destroyed by Confederates. In Virginia there were minor operations about Broadwater Ferry and the Chowan River. Grant again urged Thomas to attack Hood and Thomas replied that he would as soon as the weather improved at all.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:08 pm 
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December 12, 1864 Monday
The Federal army at Savannah was getting its lines set for enveloping the city and was preparing to attack Fort McAllister, the last barrier to contact with the Northern fleet. A skirmish erupted on the Amite River, Louisiana. Stoneman’s cavalry plus other troops pushed ahead from Knoxville and east Tennessee toward southwest Virginia, with a skirmish at Big Creek near Rogersville, Tennessee. Gen Thomas at Nashville informed Halleck in Washington that he had his troops ready to attack Hood as soon as the sleet had melted, for it was now almost impossible to move on the ice-covered ground.

President Lincoln explained to Gen Edward R.S. Canby, in command in the Gulf area, the government policy in Louisiana, such as getting cotton away from the Confederates, and said “it is a worthy object to again get Louisiana into proper practical relations with the nation….” President Davis was still casting about for troops to oppose Sherman, without weakening Lee.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:39 pm 
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December 13, 1864 Tuesday
Gen Sherman reached the sea. The Federal commander made contact with the Union fleet after the capture of Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River below Savannah. About 5 PM Federal troops of W.B. Hazen’s division of the Fifteenth Corps charged the earth fort from the land side, despite mines and other obstructions. Sherman watched the courageous assault from a rice mill across the Ogeechee. The Confederate garrison under Maj G.W. Anderson numbered 230 men and suffered 35 casualties, while Hazen had 24 killed and 110 wounded ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_ ... ster_(1864) and http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fo ... ister.html ). The fall of the fort opened river communication with the Union fleet. Savannah was doomed. Signals flew between Sherman and the vessels coming up the Ogeechee; soon the general personally visited his naval compatriots and on Dec 14 he conferred on the river with Gen John G. Foster and later with Admiral Dahlgren. Supplies could reach Sherman’s army now, and contact with the North, although still slow, was reestablished.

Stoneman’s Union raiders in east Tennessee reached Kingsport, pushed across the Holston River, and defeated remnants of John Hunt Morgan’s old command. Federal expeditions were active from Barrancas, Florida to Pollard, Alabama; from Morganza to Morgan’s Ferry, Louisiana; and up the White River from Devall’s Bluff, Arkansas. Confederates attacked a railroad train near Murfreesboro. On the Nashville front both Hood and Thomas waited out the sleet storm. Thomas still promised to move when the weather abated, but Grant now ordered Maj Gen John A. Logan ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._Logan ) to proceed to Nashville to supersede Thomas. Logan was not to take over if Thomas had moved. Grant then headed for Washington, intending to go on to Nashville himself. Cyrus Hamlin, USA, is appointed to Brigadier General.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:54 pm 
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December 14, 1864 Wednesday
Gen Thomas told Washington that the ice had melted and he would attack Hood south of Nashville the next day. Field orders for the advance were issued. In Georgia Federal naval units for a week bombarded Forts Rosedew and Beaulieu on the Vernon River. In the Stoneman expedition toward southwest Virginia there was an affair at Bristol, Tennessee. Skirmishes occurred on the Germantown Road near Memphis, Tennessee and in the Cypress Swamp near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Until Jan 5 Federals operated in the vicinity of Hermitage Plantation near Morganza, Louisiana. President Davis deferred to Lee’s judgment as to whether troops could be spared from Petersburg to operate against Sherman.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:25 pm 
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December 15, 1864 Thursday
Somewhat ponderous, but massively effective, George H. Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland came out from the works of Nashville in the heavy fog and struck John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee a devastating blow ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nashville and http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/nashville.html ). A holding demonstration was made by Thomas’ left against the Confederate right while the main Federal force, totaling 35,000, attacked the thin Confederate left. They carried redoubts and then successfully assaulted Montgomery Hill and drove the enemy from the main defensive line to a position about a mile to the rear along the Brentwood Hills. Hood had been beaten back but still held the main road to Franklin and remained an effective force. He claimed his lines had been overextended and that the new positions were taken to shorten the line. Both sides made troop readjustments during the night. There was some thought among Federals that Hood would withdraw, but it was soon clear that the new Southern line was solidly posted. Thomas had skillfully handled his troops and had moved surely. When the message of the day’s outcome reached Washington before midnight, Grant canceled his plans to go farther than Washington. Logan, who had been sent to supersede Thomas, had not yet arrived in Nashville. On the morning of the sixteenth the President wired his congratulations and urged Thomas to continue. On the Confederate right flank another train was captured near Murfreesboro.

In the east Tennessee-southwestern Virginia Federal expedition skirmishes broke out near Abingdon and Glade Springs, Virginia. Federals carried out an expedition from Fort Monroe to Pagan Creek, Virginia.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:01 pm 
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December 16, 1864 Friday
At 6 AM in rain and snow, Union troops on the left pressed back the Confederate right on the Franklin Pike to the main entrenchments, but S.D. Lee’s corps held. Federals completed aligning for battle south of Nashville and the movement against the enemy’s left continued along the Granny White Pike. On Hood’s left the Union cavalry had gained his rear and the whole flank was threatened and encircled. Then, late in the afternoon, came the main assault, after a punishing artillery bombardment. Up the hills they went in the face of rigorous fire. The Federals were successful everywhere, capturing many prisoners and much artillery. The Southern left at Shy’s Hill gave way and then the center fell back, leaving the right to cover the withdrawal. The Confederates were, as Thomas said, “Hopelessly broken,” and they “fled in confusion.” Federals pursued for several miles until after dark, but Hood’s rear guard fended them off. Hood said his Army of Tennessee resisted all assaults until midafternoon, when part of the line to the left of center gave way and “In a few moments our entire line was broken….”

Thomas had some 50,000 to 55,000 Federals on the field and suffered 387 killed, 2562 wounded, and 112 missing for 3061. Confederate figures are far less certain; Hood probably had well under 30,000 men, of which about 4500 were captured. Killed and wounded were possibly 1500. For a two-day battle of such magnitude, the casualties were remarkably low. The Army of Tennessee was decimated, its effectiveness ended; yet, despite some accounts, it was not “destroyed.” A hard core remained capable of defensive fight, but there was not to be the material to build the army up again after Nashville. The fighting around the Tennessee capital was the last major battle in the West. Washington and Grant appear to have been overanxious in ordering Thomas’ replacement. The Army of the Cumberland under Thomas had won an impressive victory in eliminating the major western Confederate army as an aggressive force, and halting forever the dream of a Southern advance into the North.

Sherman’s army was at work getting resupplied from sea, completing its lines and occupation of the area near Savannah. There was a skirmish at Hinesville, Georgia. In the Southwest Virginia Campaign, Stoneman’s Federal cavalry saw action at Marion, and the Union forces captured Wytheville. In Louisiana there was an expedition from Morganza to the Atchafalaya River. In Arkansas a skirmish took place near Dudley Lake. U.S.S. Mount Vernon, commanded by Acting Lieutenant James Trathen, in company with U.S.S. New Berne, commanded by Acting Lieutenant T. A. Harris, captured and burned schooner G. O. Bigelow in ballast at Bear Inlet, North Carolina.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:00 pm 
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December 17, 1864 Saturday
The cavalry of James H. Wilson and some infantry led the Federal pursuit of Hood from Nashville. Hood managed to concentrate toward Columbia, encamping at Spring Hill. Skirmishing broke out between the Federals and Hood’s rear guard at Hollow Tree Gap, West Harpeth River, and Franklin. The firm Confederate stand enabled the rest of the army to withdraw through Franklin. Federal troops in southwest Virginia captured and destroyed several lead mines and fought skirmishes near Mount Airy and Marion. President Davis told Hardee at Savannah, Georgia that Lee was unable to detach troops from Virginia and that Hardee should make dispositions “needful for the preservation of your Army.” However, Gen Sherman now demanded surrender from Hardee.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:09 pm 
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December 18, 1864 Sunday
Union cavalry in Tennessee pursued Hood as far as Rutherford Creek, north of Columbia, which was found impassable. There was skirmishing at Spring Hill, Tennessee. The only other recorded fight was on Little River in New Madrid County, Missouri. Both North and South, hearing the news of Nashville, realized that it was a serious blow to Confederate hopes. At Savannah Gen Hardee refused Sherman’s surrender demand of Dec 17, but it was clear that the city must be evacuated before the escape route to the north was closed. Beauregard was with Hardee at the moment and urged evacuation at once, but Hardee seemed reluctant to leave. To the north, an immense Federal fleet sailed from Fort Monroe for Wilmington and Fort Fisher.

The Congress of the United States and the President engaged in continuing discussions concerning reconstruction of the seceded states. The schism between the Radicals and President Lincoln seemed to be increasing. President Davis wrote Sec of War Seddon that he opposed the plan to abolish conscription and substitute a rigid military organization. The Confederacy, he said, did not have time to experiment.

U.S.S. Louisiana, under Commander Rhind, arrived off Fort Fisher, having that day been towed from Beaufort, North Carolina, by U.S.S. Sassacus, commanded by Lieutenant Commander J. L. Davis, in company with Rear Admiral Porter and his fleet. Louisiana had been loaded with powder and was to be blown up as near Fort Fisher as possible in the hope of reducing or substantially damaging that formidable Confederate work. The day before, Porter had sent detailed instructions to Commander Rhind, adding: "Great risks have to be run, and there are chances that you may lose your life in this adventure; but the risk is worth the running, when the importance of the object is to be considered and the fame to be gained by this novel undertaking, which is either to prove that forts on the water are useless or that rebels are proof against gunpowder. . . . I expect more good to our cause from a success in this instance than from an advance of all the armies in the field." Rhind and his brave crew of volunteers proceeded in toward Fort Fisher towed by U.S.S. Wilderness, commanded by Acting Master Henry Arey, but finding the swells too severe, turned back. Major General Butler, seeing the worsening weather at Beaufort, asked Porter to postpone the attempt until the sea was calm enough to land his troops with safety.

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Gen Ned Simms
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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:51 pm 
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December 19, 1864 Monday
More skirmishing broke out at Rutherford and Curtis’ creeks, Tennessee. Federals tried unsuccessfully to cross the flooded Rutherford Creek north of Columbia. Hood hoped to be able to halt his retreat at Columbia, on the line of the Duck River. In the Shenandoah Valley both Early and Sheridan had sent troops to the Richmond-Petersburg front. Following Grant’s wishes, Sheridan now detached A.T.A. Torbert ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Tho ... es_Torbert ) with eight thousand cavalry toward the Virginia Central Railroad and Gordonsville, an expedition which lasted until Dec 23 with several skirmishes: at Madison Court House, Liberty Mills, and Gordonsville. Confederate defenders managed to hold off the Federals, who withdrew on the twenty-third. In the other direction in Virginia an expedition moved from Kernstown to Lacey’s Springs until Dec 22. In Arkansas there was a skirmish at Rector’s Farm. William Lowther Jackson, CSA, is appointed to Brigadier General. C.S.S. Water Witch, captured from the Union on 3 June, was burned by the Confederates in the Vernon River near Savannah, in order to prevent her capture by General Sherman's troops advancing on the city. U.S.S. Princess Royal, under Commander Melancthon B. Woolsey, captured schooner Cora off Galveston with cargo of cotton.

At Washington the President issued a call for 300,000 more volunteers to replace casualties.

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Gen Ned Simms
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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:46 pm 
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December 20, 1864 Tuesday
The Federal left at Savannah, Georgia moved slowly to cut off Hardee’s escape route across the Savannah River into South Carolina, but they did not succeed. Hardee, urged by Beauregard and others to pull out, finally did. Without opposition, he headed northward toward concentration with other Confederate units. Hardee left behind some 250 heavy guns and large amounts of cotton, but, with an ingenious pontoon bridge of 30 rice flats, he managed to evacuate all his 10,000 troops. Nevertheless, the loss of the important port city was a severe blow to the Confederates psychologically. The only fighting was a skirmish near Pocotaligo Road, South Carolina.

Thomas’ troops, following up Hood’s retreat in Tennessee, constructed a floating bridge over Rutherford Creek and pushed on for Columbia. There they found the bridges destroyed and the enemy across the Duck River. Some skirmishing occurred near Columbia. Federals of Stoneman’s command captured and destroyed salt works in and around Saltville, Virginia. In addition, there was an engagement at Poplar Point, North Carolina. A Federal expedition from Cape Girardeau and Dallas, Missouri to Cherokee Bay, Arkansas and the St Francis River lasted until Jan 4. Small boats from the Union Navy tried to clear out torpedoes or mines at Rainbow Bluff, North Carolina and often engaged in skirmishing. John McAurthur, USA, is appointed to Major General.

President Davis expressed considerable concern to Beauregard, noting that the enemy was concentrating against Wilmington. He had left the decisions to evacuate Savannah and Charleston to Beauregard.

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Gen Ned Simms
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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:28 pm 
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December 21, 1864 Wednesday
Federal troops, finding no opposition, occupied Savannah, Georgia with John W. Geary’s division of the Twentieth Corps leading the march. Hardee’s escape was a great disappointment to Sherman but he covered it up well in his writings. Historians later criticized Sherman for leaving an escape route open, but, on the other hand, Hardee had been watching carefully and would have evacuated whenever the safety valve was in danger of being closed. Hood’s suffering Army of Tennessee continued its march southward from Columbia toward Pulaski, Tennessee leaving a rear guard behind. Thomas’ following force was plagued by weariness and swollen streams. The Union forces under Stoneman at Saltville, Virginia began to retire after their successful raid. A Federal expedition moved out from Memphis to attack the Mobile and Ohio Railroad; there also was a skirmish at Franklin Creek, Mississippi. The Congress of the United States set up the new grade of Vice-Admiral with Rear Admiral Farragut in mind for the promotion. Blockade runner Owl, under Commander Maffitt, departed Wilmington through the Federal blockaders with large cargo of cotton. Owl, owned by the Confederate government, was one of several blockade runners commanded by Southern naval officers.

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Gen Ned Simms
1/1/XIV Corps/AotC
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:34 pm 
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December 22, 1864 Thursday
At Savannah Gen Sherman sent his famous message to President Lincoln: “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” Sherman himself had just arrived at Savannah. He had been at Port Royal, South Carolina on military business when Savannah was evacuated. The Federal troops went to work on the defenses, replenishing their supplies and reorganizing their army. Meanwhile, Hardee’s retreating Confederates headed northward in South Carolina. Hood’s rear guard and Thomas’ pursuing force skirmished on the Duck River near Columbia, Tennessee. Another skirmish erupted on Franklin Creek, Mississippi. James Edward Harrison, CSA, and John Doby Kennedy, CSA, are appointed to Brigadier General. Major General Frederick Steele, USA, is relieved of command of the Federal Department of Arkansas and Major General Joseph J. Reynolds, USA, assumes command.

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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:21 pm 
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December 23, 1864 Friday
The Federal fleet from Fort Monroe, intending to attack Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina had encountered very heavy seas and storms off Cape Hatteras and had been badly scattered. By now the battered vessels had arrived at the Beaufort rendezvous. Gen Benjamin F. Butler was in personal command of the two army divisions, numbering some 6500 men. David D. Porter commanded the fleet. Butler had planned to explode an old hulk loaded with 215 tons of powder near the fort, predicting that it would destroy it and the garrison. The powder boat was set off right enough, but it caused no damage to friend or foe. This was the first fiasco of an expedition which had been plagued by mistakes, storms, dissensions, and Gen Butler from the start. Elsewhere, a skirmish at Warfield’s near Columbia, Tennessee marked the continuing operations of Hood’s rear guard and Thomas’ pursuing forces. A two-day Federal expedition operated from Baton Rouge to Clinton, Louisiana. U.S.S. Acacia, commanded by Acting Master William Barrymore, captured blockade running British steamer Julia off Alligator Creek, South Carolina, with cargo of cotton.

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Gen Ned Simms
1/1/XIV Corps/AotC
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:22 pm 
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December 24, 1864 Saturday
Naval forces under the command of Rear Admiral Porter and Army units under Major General Butler launched an unsuccessful attack against Fort Fisher. Transports carrying Butler's troops had retired to Beaufort in order to avoid the anticipated effects of the explosion of the powder boat Louisiana, and fleet units had assembled in a rendezvous area 12 miles from the fort. At daylight on 24 December, the huge fleet got underway, formed in line of battle before the formidable Confederate works, and commenced a furious bombardment. The staunch Southern defenders, 500 men under the command of Colonel William Lamb, were driven from their guns and into the bombproofs of Fort Fisher, but managed to return the Federal fire from a few of their heavy cannon. Transports carrying the Union soldiers did not arrive from Beaufort until evening; too late for an assault that day. Accordingly, Porter withdrew his ships, intending to renew the attack the next day. Most of the casualties resulted from the bursting of five 100-pounder Parrott guns on board five different ships. By taking shelter the defenders, too, suffered few casualties, despite the heavy bombardment.

On the Tennessee front skirmishing occurred at Lynnville and Richland Creek, but the primary operations following the Battle of Nashville were over. In Arkansas Federals scouted from Pine Bluff to Richland and a skirmish broke out near Fort Smith. President Davis wrote Gen E. Kirby Smith, commanding the Trans-Mississippi Department, that he greatly regretted troops had not been sent east to aid in Tennessee and he again asked for such men.

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Gen Ned Simms
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Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:26 pm 
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December 25, 1864 Sunday
Nearly 60 warships continued the Federal bombardment of Fort Fisher, easily hitting the parapets and traverses of the sand-built fort while troops landed north of the works, near Flag Pond Battery. Naval gunfire kept the garrison largely pinned down and away from their guns as Butler landed about 2,000 men who advanced toward the land face of the fort.

Meanwhile, the Admiral attempted to find a channel through New Inlet in order to attack the forts from Cape Fear River. When Commander Guest, U.S.S. Iosco and a detachment of double-ender gunboats encountered a shallow bar over which they could not pass, Porter called on the indomitable Lieutenant Cushing, hero of the Albemarle destruction, to sound the channel in small boats, buoying it for the ships to pass through. Under withering fire from the forts, even the daring Cushing was forced to turn back, one of his boats being cut in half by a Confederate shell.

Late in the afternoon, Army skirmishers advanced to within yards of the fort, supported by heavy fire from Union vessels. Lieutenant Aeneas Armstrong, CSN, inside Fort Fisher, later described the bombardment: "The whole of the interior of the fort, which consists of sand, merlons, etc., was as one eleven-inch shell bursting. You can now inspect the works and walk on nothing but iron." Union Army commanders, however, considered the works too strongly defended to be carried by assault with the troops available, and the soldiers began to reembark. Some 700 troops were left on the beaches as the weather worsened. They were protected by gunboats under Captain Glisson, U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba, who had lent continuous close support to the landing. By 27 December the last troops were embarked; the first major attack on Fort Fisher head failed. Confederate reinforcements under General R. F. Hoke were in Wilmington and arrived at Confederate Point just after Union forces departed. The Army transports returned to Hampton Roads to prepare for a second move on the Confederate bastion, while Porter's fleet remained in the Wilmington-Beaufort area and continued sporadic bombardment in an effort to prevent repair of the fort.

Fort Fisher still stood active at the entrance to the Cape Fear River. The Confederates realized this would not be the last attempt, but at the moment they had been victorious. For the Federals it was an ignominious failure, resulting in violent charges and countercharges between Butler and Porter, Butler and army officers, Butler and nearly everyone else.

Hood’s Army of Tennessee reached Bainbridge on the Tennessee River. There were skirmishes at Richland Creek, and King’s or Anthony’s Hill or Devil’s Gap, and White’s Station, Tennessee. Other action included an engagement at Verona, Mississippi and a skirmish at Rocky Creek Church, Georgia. Price’s Confederate command, still retreating from Missouri, reached Laynesport, Arkansas.

_________________
Gen Ned Simms
1/1/XIV Corps/AotC
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
VMI Class of '00


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