Blair, B. F. (fl. 1864) to his mother
High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.
Written on board the U.S.S. Mohican near Wilmington, North Carolina. Replies to his mother's letter from 11 December. Discusses the Mohican's participation with Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter's North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at the close of the Battle of Fort Fisher (24 and 25 December). Refers to a large gunpowder explosion. States that he does not know the extent of damage done to Confederates, whom he calls "the Secesh." Writes "It was the heaviest Bombardment that ever happened. Our continual Roar like the heaviest thunder & the smoke so thick at times to completely hide the sun. I got so deaf after awhile as to be most entirely indifferent to it My Ears is ringing yet... I am much afried the whole things is a Failure we are all taking in Powder & shell and are just out of Range of the Fort what will come next I Cant say..." Mentions Union General Benjamin Franklin Butler. "H.G." is written at the top of this document.
Off Wilmington Dec. 27th
Your very welcome letter of the 11th I received Christmas morning and I will now try to answer it - I dont know as you expected that I was a going in to the fight at Wilmington I did not like to tell you as I know that you would be uneasy - But since I last wrote you I have been throug quite a scene and have smelt Gunpowder to my hearts content But I am as yet thank heaven unharmed altho'' I had one or two very narrow Escapes After we left Beaufort we [inserted: went] out and meet the rest of the squadron at a given place. but it was delaied till the 24th last Sat" At 1 Oclock at night the powder [inserted: frigate] vessel exploded I suppose you have read about it. She contained 220 tons of powder. And was soon in under the Fort Fisher & finish by a slow match All the Squadron were out 14 miles from the Explosion it shook us like  from stem to stem But what damage it done to Secesh have not been able to learn Soon after the whole squadron got under way and formed in line of and Steamed in slowly toward the land At Sat noon the Ball was opened by the New I consider & the rest of the Iron Clad there in no - And then the Old Minnesota comenct and then we came in followed by the Colorado and the rest of the Squadron 63 in No - It was a splendid yet a wikced sight what a shower of shell we must pound down on their devoted heads Our shells would bury them selves in the sand & Earths works & heave them in all directions we soon shot away the Flag & Explode one of the magazines but still they hold out - At 5 - at signal from the Admiral the withdraw from line of Battle - Sunday morning as soon the Fleet could be got in position we went at it again going in nearer than the day previous - & pound Brodside after Brodside on them till dark - I guess that it was the heaviest Bombardment that ever happened - One continual Roar like the heavest thunder - & the Smoke so thick at times to completly hide the sun I got so deaf after awhile as to be most  entirely indifferent to it My Ears is ringing yet - Oh!! it was a sight never to be forgotten the Reb"s did not take very good aim and the most of their shells fell short or went over us alltogether Strange to say we were not hit once altho" they fell & Exploded all around us - As far as I can learn 75 or 100 will cover the killed & wounded in the fleet a Double Ender got a Shot in his Boiler Exploding it - Scalding a large no" a short distance ahead of us - Old Pickum Butler has made a complet fizzle with his land force he only landed about 2000 men his skirmishers got in the Fort Sunday night & got a Flag and had they been supported they would have got the Fort without doubt 350 Rebs - give them selves up to them as it was I am much afraid the whole thing is a Failure we are all taking in Powder & shell and are just out of Rang of the Fort What will come next I can't say The Mail is of or else I would write more I was Glad to hir that you was all well Tell Lizzie I will answer hers next I will Close by wishing you all a Merrier [inserted: No very for me] Christmas also a Happy New Year with much love to all
As Ever Aff" Son BF Blair
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.