Second Battle of Fort Fisher Casualties

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Second Battle of Fort Fisher Casualties


Forces Engaged:

Command Effectives
Garrison Approx. 1,550
Reinforcements January 15:

Elements of the 11th, 21st, and 25th SC Infantry


Approximate Total:




Killed and Wounded (approx.)


Captured (approx.)


Approximate Total:


Guns in Position When Captured:

No. Weapon Condition Carriage


1 10-inch columbiad


2 6 3/8-inch rifle (old 32) " Serviceable
3 8-inch smoothbore - 1841 Serviceable Unserviceable
4 8-inch smoothbore - 1841 Unserviceable "
5 8-inch columbiad Serviceable Serviceable
6 4-inch Parrott rifle " "
7 6 3/8-inch smoothbore (32) Unserviceable "
8 5 7/8-inch smoothbore (24) " Unserviceable
9 6 3/8-inch smoothbore (32) " "
10 5-inch Coehorn mortar Serviceable Serviceable
11 6 3/8-inch smoothbore (32) Unserviceable Unserviceable
12 5-inch Coehorn mortar Serviceable Serviceable
13 6-inch smoothbore (32) " "
14 8-inch smoothbore (32) " Unserviceable
15 6 3/8-inch smoothbore (32) " Serviceable
16 6 3/8-inch smoothbore (32) " Unserviceable
17 6 3/8-inch smoothbore (32) Unserviceable "
18 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) Serviceable "
19 7-inch Brooke rifle " Serviceable
20 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) " Unserviceable
21 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) Unserviceable "
22 10-inch columbiad " "
23 8-inch mortar Serviceable Serviceable
24 8-inch smoothbore " "


25 8-inch Blakely rifle Serviceable Serviceable
26 10-inch columbiad " Unserviceable
27 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) " "
28 10-inch columbiad " "
29 ---------- ---------- ----------
30 10-inch columbiad "


31 8-inch columbiad " "
32 8-inch columbiad " "
33 8-inch columbiad "


34 8-inch columbiad "


35 7-inch Brooke rifle Unserviceable


36 8-inch columbiad Serviceable


37 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) " "
38 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) " "
39 150-pdr. Armstrong rifle " "
40 10-inch columbiad " "
41 10-inch columbiad " "
42 7-inch Brooke rifle Serviceable "
43 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) " "
44 10-inch columbiad " "
45 10-inch columbiad " "
46 10-inch columbiad "


47 6 3/8-inch rifle (32) "





Forces Engaged:

Command Effectives
Hoke's Division

Approx. 6,400

Casualties: None reported for Hoke's demonstration on the Union northern line on January 15, but the division probably lost a few men on the skirmish line (Kirkland's and Clingman's Brigades).


Forces Present:

Command Effectives

From official returns for January 10, 1865*

  Officers Men Aggregate
General Headquarters 12 12 24
Ames's division (2nd, XXIV) 192 3,787 4,243
Paine's division (3rd, XXV) 160 3,149 3,683
Abbott's brigade (2, 1, XXIV) 65 1,385 1,494
16th New York Battery 3 42 45
3rd U.S. Artillery (E) 4 55 61
Detachment Signal Corps 4 27 31
Ambulance Corps ----- ----- 51


440 8,457 9,632
*Officers and men reported as present for duty. Aggregate reported as Aggregate present.



Second Division, XXIV Army Corps: Ames

Unit Killed Wounded Missing Total
XXIV A.C. HQ ----- 1 ----- 1
Division Staff ----- 4 ----- 4
(1) Curtis 39 184 5 228
(2) Pennypacker 51 227 2 280
(3) Bell 16 97 2 115

First Division, XXIV Army Corps

(2) Abbott 4 23 4 31

Third Division, XXV Army Corps

(3) 27th USCT 1 4 ----- 5


111 540 13 6642
1From official returns.

2In addition, 1 officer and 4 men, 112th NY; and 1 man, 142nd NY were wounded on January 14; for a total of 670.

Unofficial army returns place the total at 955 battle victims (184 killed, 749 wounded, and 22 missing)., with at least another 104 casualties from the magazine explosion on January 16 (25 killed, 66 wounded, and 13 missing).


Forces Engaged:

Number of Warships


Naval Shore Contingent

(Sailors and Marines) 2,261

Command Totals

From official returns.

Sailors Officers Men Aggregate


6 75 81


24 198 222


----- 29 29


----- 7 7


2 47 49


----- 5 5


32 361 393

Rounds Expended:

Number of Projectiles Weight

1,652,638 pounds

Combined with numbers from the December 1864 bombardment, the projectiles expended equal 39,953—with a weight of 2,927,937 pounds. The projectile numbers are officially suffixed with this statement: "It is estimated that the above statement includes between 90 and 95 percent of the projectiles actually expended."


The combined army and navy losses range somewhere between 1,167 and 1,452 killed, wounded, and missing—based upon published figures available, as listed above.


for the December 1864 and January 1865 Engagements


— December 1864 —

Command Killed Wounded C/M Total
Federal Army 1 11 1 13
Federal Navy 20 63 ----- 83
Fort Fisher 3 58 ----- 61
Hoke's Division 5 16 307 328

— January 1865 —

Federal Army 209 815 35 1,059*
Federal Navy 88 271 34 393


326 1,234 377 1,937
Fort Fisher


1,400 1,900



1,777 3,837
*Unofficial army figure of 955, plus 104 from the magazine explosion. (Based upon the "official" tally of 670, this figure would equal 774). The navy, however, also reported a loss of eight men in the magazine explosion. It is unclear whether these men are included in the total for this tragedy. (It is thought that about 200 men, both Union and Confederate, were lost in the explosion. It is further unclear whether the Confederate losses in the explosion are included in the often-cited approximate figure of 500 killed and wounded for the garrison).
Approximate Total Federal Casualties for Both Engagements 1,548
Based upon the "official" army tally of 670, this figure would equal 1,263.
Approximate Total Confederate Casualties for Both Engagements 2,289
Combined Union and Confederate Casualties for Both Engagements 3,837
Based upon the "official" Federal army tally of 670, this figure would equal 3,552.
The exact number of casualties in the battles for Fort Fisher will never be known. Confederate records are sketchy, and wide discrepancies exist between the various Federal numbers published. In addition, the figure for the magazine mishap is incomplete.

United States War Department. The War of the Rebellion, A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

United States Navy Department. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1900-1901.

Johnson, Robert U. and Clarence C. Buel, eds. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. 4 vols. New York: The Century Company, 1884-1889.

As compiled and tabulated in:
The Wilmington Campaign and the Battles for Fort Fisher.
by Mark A. Moore — (Da Capo Press, 1999).

Credit:;  Mark A. Moore

(Related reading below.)

Recommended Reading: The Wilmington Campaign and the Battle for Fort Fisher, by Mark A. Moore. Description: Full campaign and battle history of the largest combined operation in U.S. military history prior to World War II. By late 1864, Wilmington was the last major Confederate blockade-running seaport open to the outside world. The final battle for the port city's protector--Fort Fisher--culminated in the largest naval bombardment of the American Civil War, and one of the worst hand-to-hand engagements in four years of bloody fighting. Continued below…

Copious illustrations, including 54 original maps drawn by the author. Fresh new analysis on the fall of Fort Fisher, with a fascinating comparison to Russian defenses at Sebastopol during the Crimean War. “A tour de force. Moore's Fort Fisher-Wilmington Campaign is the best publication of this character that I have seen in more than 50 years.” -- Edwin C. Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus, National Park Service

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Recommended Reading: Hurricane of Fire: The Union Assault on Fort Fisher (Hardcover). Review: In December 1864 and January 1865, Federal forces launched the greatest amphibious assault the world had yet seen on the Confederate stronghold of Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, North Carolina. This was the last seaport available to the South--all of the others had been effectively shut down by the Union's tight naval blockade. The initial attack was a disaster; Fort Fisher, built mainly out of beach sand, appeared almost impregnable against a heavy naval bombardment. When troops finally landed, they were quickly repelled. Continued below…

A second attempt succeeded and arguably helped deliver one of the death blows to a quickly fading Confederacy. Hurricane of Fire is a work of original scholarship, ably complementing Rod Gragg's Confederate Goliath, and the first book to take a full account of the navy's important supporting role in the assault.


Recommended Reading: Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher. From Publishers Weekly: Late in the Civil War, Wilmington, N.C., was the sole remaining seaport supplying Lee's army at Petersburg, Va., with rations and munitions. In this dramatic account, Gragg describes the two-phase campaign by which Union forces captured the fort that guarded Wilmington and the subsequent occupation of the city itself--a victory that virtually doomed the Confederacy. In the initial phase in December 1864, General Ben Butler and Admiral David Porter directed an unsuccessful amphibious assault against Fort Fisher that included the war's heaviest artillery bombardment. Continued below…

The second try in January '65 brought General Alfred Terry's 9000-man army against 1500 ill-equipped defenders, climaxing in a bloody hand-to-hand struggle inside the bastion and an overwhelming Union victory. Although historians tend to downplay the event, it was nevertheless as strategically decisive as the earlier fall of either Vicksburg or Atlanta. Gragg has done a fine job in restoring this important campaign to public attention. Includes numerous photos.


Recommended Reading: Rebel Gibraltar: Fort Fisher and Wilmington, C.S.A. Description: Even before the rest of North Carolina joined her sister states in secession, the people of the Lower Cape Fear were filled with enthusiasm for the Southern Cause - so much so that they actually seized Forts Johnston and Caswell, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, weeks before the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. When the state finally did secede, Wilmington became the most important port city of the Confederacy, keeping Robert E. Lee supplied with the munitions and supplies he needed to fight the war against the North. Continued below…

Dedicated soldiers like William Lamb and W.H.C. Whiting turned the sandy beaches of southern New Hanover and Brunswick Counties into a series of fortresses that kept the Union navy at bay for four years. The mighty Fort Fisher and a series of smaller forts offered safe haven for daring blockade runners that brought in the Confederacy's much-needed supplies. In the process, they turned the quiet port of Wilmington into a boomtown. In this book that was fifteen years in the making, James L. Walker, Jr. has chronicled the story of the Lower Cape Fear and the forts and men that guarded it during America's bloodiest conflict, from the early days of the war to the fall of Wilmington in February 1865.


Recommended Reading: The Wilmington Campaign: Last Departing Rays of Hope. Description: While prior books on the battle to capture Wilmington, North Carolina, have focused solely on the epic struggles for Fort Fisher, in many respects this was just the beginning of the campaign. In addition to complete coverage (with significant new information) of both battles for Fort Fisher, "The Wilmington Campaign" includes the first detailed examination of the attack and defense of Fort Anderson. It also features blow-by-blow accounts of the defense of the Sugar Loaf Line and of the operations of Federal warships on the Cape Fear River. This masterpiece of military history proves yet again that there is still much to be learned about the American Civil War. Continued below…

"The Wilmington Campaign is a splendid achievement. This gripping chronicle of the five-weeks' campaign up the Cape Fear River adds a crucial dimension to our understanding of the Confederacy's collapse." -James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom


Recommended Reading: Gray Phantoms of the Cape Fear : Running the Civil War Blockade. Description: After the elimination of Charleston in 1863 as a viable entry port for running the blockade, Wilmington, North Carolina, became the major source of external supply for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The story of blockade running on the Cape Fear River was one of the most important factors determining the fate of the South. With detailed and thought-provoking research, author Dawson Carr takes a comprehensive look at the men, their ships, their cargoes, and their voyages. Continued below…

In mid-1863, the small city of Wilmington, North Carolina, literally found itself facing a difficult task: it had to supply Robert E. Lee's army if the South was to continue the Civil War. Guns, ammunition, clothing, and food had to be brought into the Confederacy from Europe, and Wilmington was the last open port. Knowing this, the Union amassed a formidable blockading force off storied Cape Fear. What followed was a contest unique in the annals of warfare. The blockade runners went unarmed, lest their crews be tried as pirates if captured. Neither did the Union fleet wish to sink the runners, as rich prizes were the reward for captured cargoes. The battle was thus one of wits and stealth more than blood and glory. As the Union naval presence grew stronger, the new breed of blockade runners got faster, quieter, lower to the water, and altogether more ghostly and their crews more daring and resourceful. Today, the remains of nearly three dozen runners lie beneath the waters of Cape Fear, their exact whereabouts known to only a few fishermen and boaters. Built for a special mission at a brief moment in time, they faded into history after the war. There had never been ships like the blockade runners, and their kind will never be seen again. Gray Phantoms of the Cape Fear tells the story of their captains, their crews, their cargoes, their opponents, and their many unbelievable escapes. Rare photos and maps. “This book is nothing shy of a must read.”


Recommended Reading: Masters of the Shoals: Tales of the Cape Fear Pilots Who Ran the Union Blockade. Description: Lavishly illustrated stories of daring harbor pilots who risked their lives for the Confederacy. Following the Union's blockade of the South's waterways, the survival of the Confederacy depended on a handful of heroes-daring harbor pilots and ship captains-who would risk their lives and cargo to outrun Union ships and guns. Their tales of high adventure and master seamanship became legendary. Masters of the Shoals brings to life these brave pilots of Cape Fear who saved the South from gradual starvation. Continued below…


"A valuable and meticulous accounting of one chapter of the South's failing struggle against the Union." -- Washington Times 03/06/04

"An interesting picture of a little appreciated band of professionals...Well easy read." -- Civil War News June 2004

"An interesting picture of a little appreciated band of professionals...Will be of special interest to Civil War naval enthusiasts." -- Civil War News May 2004

"Offers an original view of a vital but little-known aspect of blockade running." -- Military Images 03/01/04

"Surveys the whole history of the hardy seamen who guided ships around the Cape Fear's treacherous shoals." -- Wilmington Star-News 10/26/03

"The story [McNeil] writes is as personal as a family memoir, as authoritative and enthusiastic as the best history." -- The Advocate 11/15/03

“Outstanding and compelling depictions of seamen courage and tenacity...Heroic, stirring, and gripping stories of the men that dared to confront the might and power of the US Navy.” –

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