have to be performed before one is prepared to enter the “eminent deadly breach,” and there was but little time allowed for them.
The troops were aroused soon after midnight, and by the hour designated were under arms on the beach.
The men carried a canteen of water each, and a few crackers in their haversacks.
Two hundred men carried shovels in addition to their arms and equipments.
The regiments report at the place of rendezvous, and the column is soon formed.
Although a mile and a half from the enemy, everything was done in the quietest manner.
The commands were given in that low tone of voice that marks the approach of danger.
The morning was bright with moonlight; there was hardly a breath of air stirring, and the quieted sea broke in gentle murmurs on the sandy shore.
In view of what was to come, a marked solemnity impressed everything.
While waiting to move forward an undefined rumor reached us that a deserter had come in and stated that the fort had been evacuated; but as it could not be traced to any reliable source it was considered a camp story.
At two o'clock we moved up to what was thought to be a bloody morning's work.
At the Beacon House
a halt was ordered.
After waiting some time we were joined by General Terry
, who announced that the fort had been evacuated between nine and ten the night before, and that we were marching to a bloodless victory.
The enemy retired by way of Cumming's Point
in boats, a few of them only falling into the hands of our boat infantry.
, of the New York Volunteer Engineers, pulled up some of the pallisading around the fort about ten o'clock, most likely while the evacuation was going on. The first man to enter the work was a sergeant of the Thirty-ninth Illinois, who is said to have volunteered to go in alone to see if the enemy had gone.
Upon his return a few troops entered and took undisputed possession.
The announcement that the enemy had left was received with satisfaction.
Three thousand hearts beat happier.
However ardent a soldier may be in the cause he fights for, he feels no chagrin and mortification when the enemy yields him a triumph not purchased by blood.
The pen of the romancer may write about the disappointment because there were no enemy to fight, and the untried soldier imagine it, but he who breasts the bullets and the storm does not participate in this unnatural feeling.
The troops marched up to the head of the island under a cross-fire from the batteries on James
and Sullivan's Islands
On the return I went into Wagner
, and never before saw a place in such universal ruin.
Everything but the sand was knocked to pieces; guns dismounted, carriages broken, and