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[453] herewith, I have the honor to refer you for the detail of the operations.

Immediately after our arrival in this department, as you are aware, I visited Tybee Island, (on the thirty-first ult.,) and carefully inspected the works being erected there for the direct attack upon this Fort, which had been well advanced by Gen. Gilmore, under the direction of that faithful and judicious officer, Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sherman, my predecessor in this district. These works consisted of eleven batteries, prepared for thirty-five to thirty-seven pieces of heavy ordnance, extending along an oblique line of about one and a half miles in length, opposite the south-east face of the Fort, the extremities of this line being at distances, respectively, of about one and two miles from the Fort. They were placed with great skill and judgment, and constructed properly, and with as much strength and regularity as the circumstances of the case would permit; and the care and forethought of the engineer in providing for the proper supply of ordnance and other stores that might be needed, is worthy of especial mention, the whole arrangement at Tybee Island meeting my entire approval.

Desiring, however, if possible, to obtain a concentric fire upon the work, I endeavored to arrange with Gen. Viele (commanding at Dawfuskie Island) to accomplish this object, directing him, upon the sixth inst., to place a battery on Long Island to attack the gorge of the Fort on the west; and after a second visit to him on the ninth, to construct another (if practicable, and the distance was not too great) upon Turtle Island, on the north, the object being mainly the moral effect of an encircling fire, rather than the expectation of any serious effect upon the walls at that distance. From some cause, however, the heavy ordnance for these batteries did not arrive in time, and the lighter pieces most available, and placed in position on Long Island, served rather as a diversion than for any serious demonstration upon the work.

The main attack upon the Fort, as you are aware, commenced on the morning of the tenth inst., at about half-past 7 o'clock, and immediately after the refusal of its commander to surrender, according to your summons, previously sent. Being present yourself, at or between our batteries, for the greater portion of the day, during the contest between these batteries and the Fort, you are, of course, personally aware of the great efficiency with which these batteries were served, and of the successful commencement of the breach at the south-east angle of the Fort on that day. You are also aware of the efficient and accurate firing of the guns at the Fort, directed as they were with great precision, not only at our batteries, but even at the individual persons passing between them or otherwise exposed. The firing on our part, though delayed at first by the necessity of obtaining the proper range, was kept up with such vigor that over three thousand projectiles varying in size from the thirteen-inch mortar-shell to the thirty-pound Parrott shot, were thrown at the Fort during the first day.

At evening, as it was necessary to guard against the possibility of attack from the Wilmington marshes, a force of some two regiments was stationed upon the ridges of land adjacent, one immediately in rear of the upper batteries, and one on a ridge running toward Tybee River; and to give Gen. Gilmore an opportunity for the rest which he required, I arranged with him to remain myself at the batteries, in general charge of the forces, during the first half of the night, directing, at the same time, that the shells should be thrown at the Fort every ten or fifteen minutes during the night, for the purpose of fatiguing the garrison. This shell practice, especially during the early part of the night, while the moon was up, was reported to be most successful, or fully as accurate as by daylight.

As a principal battery, of one James and five Parrott guns, near the Fort, appeared not to have been as successfully served as was possible during the day, and as a detachment of one hundred seamen from the Navy, under Lieut. Irwin, had been kindly furnished to us by Flag-Officer Du Pont, (at the suggestion of Capt. C. R. P. Rodgers,) which had unfortunately reached us too late for the first assignment to the batteries, I directed that a portion of this battery should be placed in the hands of this command, and the remainder with suitable men, to be under Captain Turner, A. C. S., late of the First artillery, U. S.A., and now Chief Commissary of your staff, and the James and three of the Parrott guns were assigned to the naval detachment accordingly.

At about seven on the morning of the eleventh the fire opened with great vigor and accuracy, the certainty as to direction and distance being greatly beyond that of the previous day, especially on the part of the enemy, there being scarcely any exposure of our force that did not draw a close shot, while the embrasures and parapets of our batteries were most accurately reached.

At about ten to eleven A. M., I visited the batteries, finding each of them most efficiently served, especially the small mortar-batteries nearest the Fort, the batteries just referred to, in charge of the Navy and Capt. Turner, and the columbiad batteries under Capt. Pelouze. I found that an embrasure at the breached point, which was much enlarged on the previous day, was now opened to fully the size of the recess arch, or some eight or ten feet square, and the adjacent embrasures were rapidly being brought to a similar condition. At about noon the whole mask and parapet-wall of the casemate first injured fell into the ditch, raising a ramp quite visible to us, and soon after the corresponding parts of the adjacent casemates began to fall, the Parrott and James shot passing quite through, as we could see the heavy timber blindage in rear of the casemates, to the rear of the magazine, on the opposite (north-west) angle of the Fort.

In this state of things I felt sure that we would soon be called to peel off the whole scarp-wall from the front of the casemates of the south-east front, making a breach greatly larger than the

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