previous next

[521] Wagner were uninjured except from the accidental explosion of an ammunition chest in Battery Wagner.

During the night of the seventh, stores were replenished, threatened points upon land reinforced, working parties from the Forty-sixth Georgia regiment brought to Fort Sumter, and the renewal of the struggle in the morning awaited with confidence.

When day dawned, on the morning of the eighth, the enemy's fleet was discovered in the same position as noticed on the previous evening. About nine o'clock, the Keokuk, which had been evidently the most damaged in the action, went down about three and one-half miles from Fort Sumter and three-fourths of a mile from Morris Island. The remainder of the fleet were repairing damages. Preparations for repulsing a renewed attack were progressed with in accordance with the instructions of the commanding General, who visited Fort Sumter on that day. A detachment of seamen, under Flag-Officer W. F. Lynch, arrived from Wilmington, and, on the ninth, temporarily relieved the artillerists in charge of the Cummins' Point battery. The operations of the enemy's fleet consisted only in supply and repair. Toward evening of the ninth, a raft, apparently for removing torpedoes or obstructions, was towed inside of the bar. Nothing of importance occurred during the tenth.

During the night of the tenth, Lieutenant-Colonel Dargan, of Colonel Graham's command, crossed Light-House Inlet, drove back the enemy's pickets with loss, and returned with one prisoner.

On the eleventh there were indications that the attacking fleet was about to withdraw; and on the twelfth, at high water, the Ironsides crossed the bar and took up her position with the blockading fleet; and the monitors steamed and were towed to the southward, leaving only the sunken Keokuk as a monument of their attack and discomfiture.

In this, the first trial of the abolition iron fleet against brick fortifications, and their first attempt to enter the harbor of Charleston, in which they were beaten before their adversaries thought the action had well commenced, they were opposed by seventy-six pieces in all, including mortars. Thirty-seven of these, exclusive of mortars, were above the calibre of thirty-two-pounders. The expenditure of shot against the fleet was twenty-two hundred and twenty-nine projectiles, of which over sixteen hundred were over the calibre of thirty-two-pounders. The guns which the enemy brought to bear, were, if their own account is to believed, thirty in number, including eight-inch rifled, eleven and fifteen-inch guns, which would make their weight of metal, at one discharge, nearly, if not quite, equal to that thrown by the batteries.

During the action, Brigadier-General Trapier, commanding Second subdivision of this district, was present at Fort Moultrie; Brigadier-General Gist, commanding First subdivision, at Fort Johnson; Colonel R. F. Graham, commanding Third subdivision, on Morris Island, and Colonel L. M. Keitt, commanding Sullivan's Island, at Battery Bee, attending to their duties and awaiting the development of the attack. The action, however, was purely of artillery — forts and batteries against the iron-clad vessels of the enemy; other means of defence, obstructions and torpedoes, not having come into play. Fort Sumter was the principal object of the enemy's attack, and to that garrison, under its gallant commander, Colonel Alfred Rhett, ably seconded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Yates and Major Ormsby Blanding, and all the officers and men, special credit is due for sustaining the shock, and, with their powerful armament, contributing principally to the repulse. The garrison of Fort Moultrie, under Colonel William Butler, seconded by Major Baker and the other officers and soldiers, upheld the historic reputation of that fort, and contributed their full share to the result. The powerful batteries of Battery Bee were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Simkins, and were served with great effect. Battery Wagner, under Major C. K. Huger; Cummins' Point battery, under Lieutenant Lesesne, and Battery Beauregard, under Captain Sitgreaves, all did their part according to their armament. Indeed, from the reports of the commanders, it is hard to make any distinction where all did their duty with devotion and zeal. Those cases which have been ascertained will be found in the reports of the subordinate commanders. The steady preparation for receiving a renewed attack by the officers, and the good conduct and discipline of the troops, especially in the garrison of Fort Sumter, where the labor was necessarily great, have been quite as creditable as their conduct under fire. While service in immediate action is that which is most conspicuous after such a result has been accomplished, the greatest credit is due to that long, patient, and laborious preparation, by which our works, never originally intended to withstand such an attack as has been encountered, have been so re-secured as to enable our gallant and well-instructed officers and men to obtain their end with comparatively small loss. In that preparation, the late Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas M. Wagner contributed much on both sides of the channel, and Colonel Rhett, Lieutenant-Colonel Yates, Major Blanding, and other officers of Fort Sumter, have been more or less engaged since the fort fell into our hands, two years since. Colonel Butler, Lieutenant-Colonel Simkins, and other officers of the First South Carolina infantry, have been, for more than a year, engaged at the works on Sullivan's Island. Besides these, various officers of engineers and other branches of the department staff, known to the commanding General, have been, at different times, principal contributors in the work; and although, in the limits of this report, it is impossible to mention all to whom credit is due, it is well that works like these, without which, in such emergencies, personal gallantry avails

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
9th (2)
12th (1)
11th (1)
10th (1)
8th (1)
7th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: