This Week in the Civil War - #991
On Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, 1864 David Porter’s formidable fleet opened an artillery barrage against Fort Fisher and its approximate 500 Confederate defenders. For months Fort Fisher’ guns had effectively assisted many blockade runners to enter Wilmington, the last major Confederate port even partially open. Despite the artillery barrage, very little damage with done to either the fort or its stubborn defenders. The only alternative open to Benjamin Butler after this failed attempt was to execute a landing above the fortification and attempt to take the structure by land; on Christmas Day Union troops landed two miles from Fort Fisher but were immediately driven into the sea by other Confederate units cooperating with Fort Fisher’s defenders. The Union fleet and Butler’s defeated troops immediately returned to Fortress Monroe.