Battle of Wilmington


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 21, 1865

This Harper's Weekly Newspaper was published during the Civil War, and is part of our extensive collection of historical documents. We are creating an online archive of this collection, to enable the serious student of the War a deeper and broader understanding of the key people, battles and events of the war.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Dutch Gap Canal

Dutch Gap Canal

Fall of Savannah

Savannah After the Fall


Roanoke Expedition

Battle of Wilmington

Battle of Wilmington

Building Canal

Building Dutch Gap Canal

Mosby Two Days

Two Days with Colonel Mosby


Wreck of the Otsego

Eliza Hancox

Sinking of the Eliza Hancox

Newspaper Office

Newspaper Office



Slocum Revolver

Slocum's Revolver






JANUARY 21, 1865.]




REAR - ADMIRAL DAVID D. PORTER, the commander of the naval division of the late Wilmington Expedition, is a son of the famous Commodore PORTER of the Essex. He is about fifty years of age, and has belonged to the navy over thirty years. A few years ago, when he commanded the Crescent City, he attracted considerable attention by persisting in an effort to enter the port of Havana under the shotted guns of Moro Castle, and against the order of the Spanish authorities. He took an active part in reducing the forts below New Orleans, and was afterward engaged in the memorable naval actions on the Mississippi.

Considerable fault has been found with the management of the military division of the expedition. The editor of the Norfolk New Regime, who accompanied General BUTLER, gives an account which explains the nature of the difficulties that our soldiers had to encounter after landing.

According to this account a thousand men had debarked from the transports at half past two o'clock on the afternoon of the 25th. At this time PORTER'S flag ship came alongside of BUTLER'S, and, after the customary salutations, and as the ships were drifting apart, the Admiral cried through his trumpet, " General, there is not a rebel with in five miles of the fort. You have nothing to do but throw in troops and occupy it." The General, turning to some one near him, said, quietly, " I have a fellow on shore there, one WEITZEL, who will find that out." In fact, while this conversation was going on, WEITZEL, with his staff, accompanied by a member of BUTLER'S staff, was approaching the fort, the troops under GRAHAM and CURTIS having first taken possession of the two

sand works, Flag pond and Half moon batteries. WEITZEL and his party soon found themselves on the northern front of Fort Fisher, and within range of seventeen guns, some of which, supported by musketeers, opened upon them.

It was now discovered, from the prisoners which had been taken with the captured batteries, that, instead of there being no rebels within five miles of the fort, there were 800 men in the work ; and that instead of 36 guns the estimated armament of the fort there were nearer 60; and that the garrison were securely stowed away in the case mates. He also learned that HOKE'S division was then encamped within a mile of the fort. Indeed, this division, consisting of a force nearly equal to BUTLER'S entire command, was now attacking the Federal troops in the rear, though, fortunately, the latter were covered by the fire of the Brooklyn.

According to this account WEITZEL was certainly not in an advantageous condition for an attack. Behind him was the sea; before him was the fort, still uninjured as a defensive work, and only waiting the cessation of the bombardment which must come with night, to open upon him in full force ; and upon his flank was a rebel division outnumbering his own, while a regiment of South Carolina cavalry was at Masonborough inlet. If this view of the situation be a correct one no censure can certainly fall upon BUTLER and WEITZEL, for their de-termination to re-embark the troops. The process of embarkation commenced at five o'clock. Not only our own men were to be brought off, but 300 rebel prisoners also, including 10 officers ; and this was to be accomplished in spite of a high rolling surf, which forced BUTLER to leave 300 of his men on shore overnight, under cover of the Brooklyn. (Next Page)



Admiral David Porter
Exploding Gun




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