This Week in the Civil War - #990
On Friday, December 23, 1864 a Federal fleet from Fortress Monroe, Virginia on the way to attack Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina, after encountering heavy storms off Cape Hatteras, regrouped near Beaufort. With Admiral David Porter in charge of the fleet, Union ships carried 6500 troops under the command of General Benjamin Butler. Butler planned to explode a ship loaded with 215 tons of powder near Fort Fisher, destroying it and its Confederate garrison. The powder boat was exploded but did little damage to Fort Fisher. This was the first failure of an expedition to be plagued by mistakes, dissension, and continuous controversy over the leadership abilities of Benjamin Butler, a Union general who held his rank solely because of his political ties to President Abraham Lincoln.