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Brigadier-General R. S. Ripley's report of action of Seventh of April, 1863, between the Abolition iron — Clads and the Forts and batteries in Charleston harbor.

headquarters First Military District, Department of S. C., Ga., and Fla., Charleston, April 13, 1863.
Brigadier--General Thomas Jordan, Chief of Staff, Dep't of S. C., Ga., and Fla.:
General: Upon the first instant the increase of the enemy's force in the Stono, and information from North Edisto, gave warning that the long threatened combined movement upon Charleston was about to take place. Brigadier-General S. R. Gist, commanding First subdivision of this district, James Island and St. Andrews, took prompt measures for the observation and repulse of any attack in that direction. Colonel R. T. Graham, commanding Third subdivision, occupied the shore of Morris Island on Light House inlet, to control the passage from Folly Island, and a strict watch has been kept up to the present time on the land movements of the enemy.

On the fifth, the iron-clad fleet of the abolitionists, consisting of seven monitors and one double-turreted vessel, hove in sight from Fort Sumter, and came to anchor outside, in the vicinity of the Ironsides frigate, then a part of the blockading squadron. The sixth was apparently spent by the enemy in preparation, and by our artillerists in verifying the condition of their material. On the morning of the seventh, the enemy was inside the bar with all his iron-clads, including the frigate, but from his proximity to the shoals aud the haze of the atmosphere, his position could not be determined.

The various works of preparation were progressed with, both on the exterior and interior line of defence, until about two o'clock P. M., when the enemy steamed directly up the channel, the Weehawken, with a false prow for removing torpedoes attached, leading, followed by three monitors, the Ironsides, flagship; three other monitors; the Keokuk, double-turret, bringing up the rear.

At each fort and battery, officers and men made preparation for immediate action, while the enemy came slowly and steadily on. At three o'clock Fort Moultrie opened fire. At five minutes past three, the leading vessel, having arrived at fourteen hundred yards off Fort Sumter, opened upon it with two guns. The eastern battery of Fort Sumter replied. Batteries Bee, Beauregard, Wagner, and at Cummins' Point, opened about this time, and the action became general, the four leading monitors closing up on the Weehawken, and taking position at an average distance from the forts and batteries of about fifteen hundred yards. In accordance with instructions, the fire from the different points was concentrated upon the leading vessels, and the effect was soon apparent from the withdrawal of the leading monitor from action, her false prow having been detached and she otherwise apparently injured.

The remaining monitors, in advance of the flag-ship, held their position, directing their fire principally at Fort Sumter, but giving occasional shots at Fort Moultrie (of which the flag-staff was shot away), Batteries Beauregard and Bee. The Ironsides, meantime, opened fire and drew the attention of Forts Moultrie and Sumter, and the Cummins' Point battery. A few heavy and concentrated discharges caused her to withdraw out of range, where she was soon followed by two other monitors.

At five minutes past four, the Keokuk left her consorts and came to the front, approaching to within nine hundred yards of Fort Sumter, twelve hundred from Battery Bee, and one thousand of Fort Moultrie. Her advance was characterized by more boldness than had hitherto been shown by any of the enemy's fleet; but, receiving full attention from the powerful batteries opposed to her, the effect was soon apparent. The ten-inch shot and seven-inch rifle bolts crashed through her armor, her hull and turrets were riddled and stove in, her boats were shot away, and in less than forty minutes she retired with such speed as her disabled condition would permit. The remaining monitors kept their position for a time; but soon, one by one, dropped down the channel and came to anchor out of range; after an action of two hours and twenty-five minutes, at ranges varying from nine hundred to fifteen hundred yards.

The full effect of our batteries upon the enemy could not be precisely ascertained, and as our strength had not been entirely put forth, it was believed that the action would soon be renewed. The monitor which had led into the action, however, proceeded south, outside of the bar, on the same evening.

Before the commencement of the affair, I was proceeding in a boat to Battery Bee, and watched the progress of the cannonade from that point. The guns were worked with as much precision as the range would admit. There were no damages or casualties. Visiting Fort Moultrie, the damaged flag-staff was being replaced, and everything prepared for the renewal of the fire, should the enemy approach again. One man had been mortally wounded by the falling of the staff. Crossing the channel to Fort Sumter, the effect of impact of the heavy shot sent by the enemy against the fort which they are so anxious to repossess, greater in calibre and supposed destructive force than any other hitherto used in war, was found to have been much less than had been anticipated.

Five men had been injured by splinters from the traverse, one eight-inch columbiad had exploded, one ten-inch carriage had its rear transom shot away, and one rifled forty-two-pounder had been temporarily disabled from the effect of recoil upon defective carriages. The garrison was immediately set to work to repair damages, and, the strength of the enemy's projectiles having been ascertained, to guard such points as might be exposed to their effect, should the attack be renewed. Cummins' Point battery and Battery

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