with two turrets, the most dreaded of all the nine. In front, a monitor, supposed to be the Passaic, commanded by Drayton, pushed forward a long raft, forked and fitting her bow, intended to catch, by suspended grappling-irons, any entanglements, or to explode any torpedoes which might lie in the path of their hostile advance. Next followed, in approximate echelon, another monitor, bearing a pennon, and conjectured to be the flag-ship of the commanding officer of the fleet. This was succeeded, in the same order, by two others of a similar kind, only distinguishable by slight differences in the adornments of red and white paint upon their generally black turrets and smoke-stacks. These formed the first line or division. After an interval of space, came the Ironsides, of much larger proportions, her sleek and glistening black sides rising high and frowning above the water. She occupied a central position, and was followed at some distance by the three remaining monitors, and the Keokuk in the rear. These four formed the other line or division of battle. At three o'clock, when the leading gunboat had got east-south-east of Sumter, at a distance of about one thousand four hundred yards, Fort Moultrie fired the first gun. The band was hushed at Sumter, the musicians were despatched to their pieces, and the order was given to open fire, carefully and by battery. At three minutes past three the guns belched forth their fierce thunders upon the foremost monster. Within two minutes there was a response. His shots were directed against Sumter, and the strife was inaugurated. The east and north-east batteries, en barbette and in casemate, were those only engaged, together with a mortar-battery on one of the ramparts, which fired for a short time. It may be improper to publish, at this juncture, the garrison of the Fort, but we may mention that the east barbette battery was officered, as we understand, by Capt. D. Fleming, Lieut. F. D. Blake, Lieut. Jones, and Lieut. Julius Rhett, (a volunteer absent from Preston's battery light artillery on sick leave.) The north-east barbette battery was officered by Captain Harleston, Lieut. McM. King and Lieut. W. S. Simkins. The mortar battery was for a time manned and officered by Capt. Macbeth and Lieut. Julius Alston, who were subsequently transferred to one of the case-mate batteries engaged. The other, the largest casemate battery engaged, was commanded by Captain W. H. Peronneau and Lieut. Fickling, while a third small battery was in charge of Lieut. Grimball. For thirty minutes the guns of Fort Sumter were concentrated on the leading vessel, irrespective of the answering cannon of the others. The garrison fought with eagerness and impetuosity. They had to be restrained, and after trial, firing by battery, it was found that, from the small size of the object at a distance of one thousand one hundred to one thousand four hundred yards, and its constant and alternate moving and stopping, it was difficult to keep the guns trained to shot simultaneously with accuracy. The method was changed, with apparent advantage, during the course of the engagement. The gunboats fired deliberately, at intervals. The smoke-stack of the pioneer boat was riddled with balls. The turret was repeatedly struck and impressions distinctly visible. At twenty-five minutes past three a flat-headed bolt of chilled iron projected from a Brooke gun, (rifled and banded seven-inch,) struck with manifest damage. A volume of steam was seen to issue from the creature, and it turned off on a curve toward the east and south-east, steaming out of range and out of the fight. Meantime, the three other monitors of the first line had bestowed their attention upon the Fort with impunity. They now, after the retirement of the supposed Passaic received each, for a brief season, sundry acknowledgments. That bearing the pennon, at thirty-seven minutes past three had its emblem of command cut down by a well-directed shot. Its turret and hull were indented. Several shot were visible, driven and sticking in the iron. The smoke-stack was repeatedly pierced through. And at forty-five minutes past three this invulnerable man-of-war also drew off followed by the two that had accompanied it. The Ironsides seemed shy of the contest. She fired a few shots at a distance of not less than one thousand five hundred yards, and perhaps as much as one thousand eight hundred. Three balls were seen to strike her in return. She soon headed off out of range, and was counted out. The monitors of the second line were under a concentrated fire, each a few minutes. All were hit, but apparently with no special injury. The longer the fight continued the more accurate the firing proved with the gunners of that gallant and admirably trained corps. The Keokuk now boldly advanced, bow on, to eight hundred and fifty yards of the east side of Fort Sumter. This was the shortest distance attained by any of the fleet, no other venturing so near. Col. Rhett now requested Lieut.-Colonel Yates to take charge of a Brooks gun for a few shots, and to sight it carefully himself. The first shot entered the open port-hole of the foremost turret, apparently silencing the boat. The next ball was a centre shot upon the turret. The third penetrating the bow some ten feet from the stem, making a large opening at the water-line, and a fourth also struck the hull. During this time a concentric fire was poured into the monster from all the guns that could be brought to bear. The fire of the Fort had been reduced by order to one gun front each battery every five minutes, and was exceedingly precise and effective. For many minutes the boat drifted lifelessly with the tide, under a terrific hail, being torn in different places, and having shot plainly imbedded in the iron armor. It was strongly hoped that it would be so disabled as to surrender, falling into our hands by capture. But, after being under punishment forty minutes, it managed to crawl feebly off and escape, giving a parting salute as it was getting out of range, to show that the will was there to fight. The following morning it settled down some five hundred yards
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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