The Battle Of Fort Fisher

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By 1864 the Union troops were closing in on the Confederacy. Major ports and cities had been taken over. North Carolina and the port at Wilmington were becoming major targets for the Union army and in November, 1864 a plan was put into place to move Union troops for the first assault on Fort Fisher. In a letter written by Richard Delafield, general and chief engineer for the U.S. Army, Delafield discusses the plan for the destruction and the capture of Fort Fisher and Fort Caswell. Fort Caswell was located on Oak Island, south of Fort Fisher, but also protecting the entrance to the Cape Fear River. Delafield’s letter details the strategy for the destruction of Fort Fisher: Fort Fisher is another work proposed to be destroyed, with its garrison, in the same manner as Fort Caswell. This work is situated on a sand-hill above the light-house at the northern entrance to the Cape Fear River. It is unlike Fort Caswell in being formed exclusively of earthen or sand ramparts and ditch, without masonry retaining its shape form the slopes given to the parapets, scarp, and counterscarp, with the aid of gabions and other temporary expedients. Our knowledge of it is imperfect, but enough is known to enable us to form as correct a judgment of the effects of the proposed explosion in the open air in front of it, as though we possessed as much detail as in the preceding case of Fort Caswell. The light-house situated in this fort or immediately adjacent thereto, was at the date of our last

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