Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/271
The liUh>* of h'nri 7'V.vAr,-. 268
Returning to the land face or northern front of Fort Fisher, as a defense against infantry, there was a system of subterra torpedoes extending across the peninsula five to six hundred feet from the land face, and so disconnected that the explosion of one would not affect the others; inside the torpedoes, about fifty feet from the berme of the work, extending from river bank to seashore, was a heavy pali- sade of sharpened logs nine feet high, pierced for musketry, and so laid out as to have an enfilading fire on the centre, where there was a redoubt guarding a sally port, from which two Napoleons were run out as occasion required. At the river end of the palisade was a deep and muddy slough, across which was a bridge, the entrance of the river road into the fort; commanding this bridge was a Napoleon gun. There were three mortars in the rear of the land face.
Having described Fort Fisher as I found it on the 4th of July, 1862, and as it was on the eve of the great battles, I will now take a cursory glance of events on Confederate Point during these two and a half years. Just previous to my going there the British steamer " Modern Greece," laden with provisions, clothing, liquors, and four pieces of artillery, with ammunition, attempted to run into New Inlet. Her draft being too great to enter, the commander of the fort, fearing capture, sunk her outside the bar and proceeded to save her cargo. I completed this work, rescuing four twelve-pounder Whitworth rifle guns, which afterwards bore a conspicuous part in the operations of the war, not only in my command but elsewhere. They were the longest range guns then constructed, throwing a shot five miles when at an angle of twenty five degrees. After mounting them, the blockad- ers were obliged to move their anchorage still further from the fort.
Blockade- running into Wilmington had just commenced. It was first carried on by any light draft sea-going steamer that could be pro- cured and even by small sailing craft, but this was of short duration. The blockade became so effective that to run it successfully was quite a science. The fastest steamers were built for the purpose, side- wheelers or double screws, long, low and narrow, usually nine times as long as wide, and from four hundred to seven hundred tons bur- then. They were all painted a light gray, making them as nearly invisible as possible; light lower masts without yards, with a small lookout on the foremast. Funnels could be lowered close to the deck in case of need and when possible smokeless coal was used. No light was permitted to be visible. No animal likely to make a