Voices from the Invaders

Fort Fisher and the Campaign for Wilmington

"Such a hell of noise I never expect to hear again. Hundreds of shell[s] were in the air at once . . . all shrieking in a grand martial course that was a fitting accompaniment to the death dance of the hundreds about to fall . . . . That retreat was a fearful sight. The dead lay thick[ly] strewn along the beach, and the wounded falling constantly, called for help to their comrades, and prayed to God that they might not be left behind. I saw the wounded stagger to their feet all weak and bloody, only to receive other and more fatal wounds and fall to rise no more . . . . [The tide came in] and drowned many of our number who fell upon the beach; and swept off into the remoreseless ocean the hero clay of many a gallant sailor. How few realize at what cost our Nation's unity has been purchased!"
  Lt. Cmdr. William B. Cushing, USS Monticello, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, on the U.S. naval ground attack at Fort Fisher, N.C., January 15, 1865

"[I]t was too hot. The parapet of the fort seemed to be lined with men, and one rebel officer stood up there clapping his hands, singing out to his men, to kill the Yankee [sons of bitches]."
  Acting Ens. George Wood, USS Chippewa, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, on the U.S. naval ground attack at Fort Fisher, N.C., January 15, 1865


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In Their Own Words ...

Memoirs of William T. Sherman