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1864 January 21: The Second Battle of Fort Fisher and Other News

January 21, 2015

The following short summary of the week’s news comes from The Prescott Journal of January 21, 1865.  There is not an extant copy of the January 21, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.

The first item refers to the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, which took place January 13-15, 1865, outside Wilmington, North Carolina.  Sometimes referred to as the “Gibraltar of the South,” Fort Fisher  was the last major Atlantic coastal stronghold of the Confederacy.  It had tremendous strategic value during the War, providing a port for blockade runners supplying General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

The First Battle of Fort Fisher had taken place December 23-27, 1864, when Benjamin F. Butler led the Union attempt to capture the fort.  The fiasco at Fort Fisher and Butler’s disobedience of his direct orders gave General Ulysses S. Grant the excuse to relieve Butler of command of the Army of the James.


— VICTORY again lights up the land, and the Old Flag floats over another rebel stronghold.  Ft. Fisher, commanding the approach to Wilmington, was captured on the 15th inst., by Admiral PORTER and Gen. TERRY, with 72 guns and 2,500 prisoners.  [David D. Porter, Alfred H. Terry]

This news was as unexpected as it was joyous.  Scarcely was the chagrin of the recent failure over, when, without any intimation that another attack was planned, the news of the glorious victory came.  This success seals up the last rebel port, and puts an end to blockade running and shipping cotton by the Confederates.

“Capture of Fort Fisher,” from the Library of Congress¹

“Capture of Fort Fisher,” from the Library of Congress¹

—  EDWARD EVERETT is dead !  The eloquent voice is stilled !  He died of apoplexy, at his home in Boston, on Sunday, the 15th inst.  He leaves behind a noble record of great abilities, usefully employed through a long, honored and spotless life.  [Edward Everett]

— Senator FOOTE of the Rebel Congress, was recently arrested while trying to reach our lines.  [Henry S. Foote]

The Governor’s Message.

We print herewith Gov. LEWIS’ Annual Message.  It is one of the best executive papers ever issued in this State.  It gives a full and satisfactory exhibit of the affairs of the State, makes a few wise recommendations, takes pride in the pat-
our soldiers, and is presented in a style so plain and clear that it will be generally read, and favorably received.  [James T. Lewis]

The Draft.

It is now authoratatively [sic] announced that towns which have an excess of volunteers will have credit for them on this call.  See article on inside of this paper.  We have a credit of eleven, and it will be easy by united effort to fill our quota.  The city pays a bounty of $200 in orders, and now let every one liable to the draft pay his proportion of the expense of cashing the orders and enlisting the men, and the burden will not be heavy on any one.

1.  “Capture of Fort Fisher.” This digital image is from an original 1890 Kurz & Allison print, available at the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. The UWRF University Archives & Area Research Center has in its Special Collections a copy of Battles of the Civil War: The Complete Kurz & Allison Prints, 1861-1865, Birmingham, Ala.: Oxmoor House, 1976 (Oversized E 468.7 .B3 1976), which includes a copy of this print.

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