Foreign and Colonial IntelligenceThe Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1300, p. 102-103.
February 4, 1865
By the arrival of the Nova Scotian we have news from New York to the 21st ult.
Whilst General Butler was giving evidence at Washington of the impossibility of taking Fort Fisher, that powerful stronghold fell under a combined attack of Admiral Porter's fleet and an assault made by General Terry in person. The Wilmington expedition arrived off Fort Fisher a second time on the morning of the 13th ult. At an early hour Admiral Porter dispatched a portion of his fleet to a point about three miles and a half from Fort Fisher, with orders to shell the neck of land which at this place separates the shore from the river, and which was thickly wooded, whilst in the meanwhile the iron-clad frigates and the monitors were ranged within a distance from the fort varying from half to three-quarters of a mile. At nine o'clock in the morning the landing of the troops was begun, and as 200 boats had been told off from the fleet to convey the soldiers from the transports to the shore, 4000 troops were safely landed in the course of an hour. The vessels which had been engaged in shelling the woods previous to the landing of the troops then moved in the direction of Fort Fisher, continuing to shell the adjoining line of coast; and at four o'clock in the afternoon, the disembarkation having been completed, the Federal troops, to the num-
Page 103ber of 6000, advanced two miles up the promontory, thus reducing their distance from the fort to a mile and a half. Here they remained until the 15th, on the evening of which day the fort was taken by assault. Whilst one portion of the fleet was engaged, on the morning of the 13th, in covering the landing of the troops, the ironclads and monitors opened a bombardment on Fort Fisher. This bombardment is described as having been incessant during the greater part of that day, and the guns of the fort were either silenced or the commander of the garrison was convinced of the inutility of firing upon the Federal ironclads. In the course of the same day Admiral Porter directed the wooden frigates, which had in the morning been engaged in shelling that part of the coast where the troops landed to take part in the bombardment, which they did, without, however, provoking a return fire from Fort Fisher. During the night shells were occasionally discharged against the fort, and on the afternoon of the following day the bombardment was renewed in all its previous intensity. On the morning of the 15th it was continued, and at four o'clock on the same afternoon the troops made the assault. Whilst three brigades advanced to the attack, a division of the Federal army, remaining on the ground it had occupied for the preceding two days, held the promontory against the Confederate forces, which, under Hoke, advanced from the direction of Wilmington, and which would otherwise have taken the assaulting column in the rear. The defence of the fort was obstinate, but fruitless. A battalion of sailors and marines, which had been landed during the day in order to co-operate with the land forces, was repulsed; but ultimately the garrison, being outnumbered, was obliged to evacuate the fort. Hemmed in on one side by the river and on the other by the sea, the Confederates (to the number of 1200) could not retire beyond the extremity of the promontory, and, as a matter of course, were there compelled to surrender. The Federal loss was considerable, but it is more then counterbalanced by what is unquestionably a substantial success. On the first day the monitors alone were at first engaged, and from eight in the morning till four in the afternoon poured in 2000 ponderous shells--at the rate of four a minute; then both divisions of the fleet, iron and wood, were engaged with 312 guns, and in one hour and a half fired 21,600 shots. Fort Smith, on the opposite side of New Inlet, was subsequently abandoned and blown up by the Confederates. Wilmington was reported to be held by 5000 Confederates, under General Hoke; and it was not known that further operations would be immediately undertaken by the Federals. The Richmond Examiner thinks that the capture of Wilmington is not a necessary, but a probable, consequence of the fall of Fort Fisher, and urges the burning of all cotton in Wilmington.
In consequence of this success, General Grant has ordered a salute of a hundred shotted guns to be fired against Petersburg and Richmond by each of the armies co-operating against those cities.
General Sherman had sent part of his army to reinforce General Foster, who had occupied Pocotaligo, on the Savannah and Charleston Railway, the Confederates having abandoned their works there. It was reported that General Sherman was menacing Branchville. It was stated that a considerable body of Federals was intrenched at Franklin Mills, on the Dog River, and that serious operations were about to be undertaken against Mobile.
Mr. Blair has returned from Richmond, and a general impression prevails that negotiations in some form are afoot on the question of peace. In the Confederate Congress, however, a strong determination to prosecute the war is expressed. The Charleston Mercury of the 12th ult. says:--"The crisis of the Confederacy has arrived in fatal earnest. The result of the next six months will bring the Confederacy to the ground or will reinstate its power. Without reform we are doomed. There must be no more Jeff Davis foolery, but brains and nerve; reform, shooting, cashiering, order, subordination; soldiers--not runaways, ragamuffins, ruffians." Mr. Foote, the Confederate orator who denounced the policy of Jefferson Davis within the walls of the Southern Congress, has been captured in an attempt to reach the Federal lines. General Lee, it was alleged, was urging the Confederate Government to order a conscription of negroes, and to emancipate the conscripts and their families.
The monitor Patapsco has been destroyed off Charleston, while on picket duty, by several torpedoes. Fifty of the crew were drowned.
The resolution of Congress to terminate the Reciprocity Treaty has been approved by President Lincoln; and the Senate has ratified the notice to be given to England for the termination of the Lake Naval Force Treaty. Senator Sumner has introduced into the Senate a resolution proposing that notice should be given for the termination of the Extradition Treaty with England.
The Virginia Legislature had almost unanimously rejected a resolution "to make peace through State action."
Slavery has been abolished in Missouri and Tennessee by State conventions.
The Hon. Edward Everett, formerly Ambassador for the United States at our Court, died recently, of apoplexy, in Boston. Mr. Lincoln ordered the customary marks of respect to be paid to his memory. The Government buildings in Washington were to be draped with mourning for thirty days.
Captain Bell and three other Confederates, charged with the attempt to burn the New York hotels in November last, have been arrested near the Canadian frontier and consigned to Fort Lafayette. General Warren has been ordered to convene a court-martial for their trial.
A considerable fluctuation in gold had taken place, prices ranging between 199 and 206, the latter being the latest quotation.
A curling-match between Canada and the United States was played at Buffalo on the 5th ult. At the close of the day the score was found to be:--Americans, 478; Canadians, 658; showing a majority of 180 for Canada. The curlers afterwards dined together in the American Hall. By special order of Mr. Seward, passports were not required from the Canadians at the frontier on this occasion.
The Canadian Parliament met at Quebec on the 19th ult. The Governor's message announced that a bill to give the Executive further powers to deal with political refugees who commit outrages on the borders, and a plan for the constitution of the Confederation, would be laid before the Parliament.
One of the Canadian raiders has been declared guilty of robbery, and been adjudged to be delivered over to the Federal authorities. A writ of habeas corpus had been demanded on his behalf.