same spirit, and I cannot speak in too high terms of their coolness and gallantry throughout the action. All acted as though they were engaged in practice, and the minutest particulars of drill and military etiquette were preserved. For expenditure of ammunition, I would respectfully refer to enclosed report of Ordnance Officer. For a list of casualties, I would also refer to enclosed Surgeon's report. At nine o'clock A. M., April eighth, the Keokuk was seen to sink near Morris Island beach, where she now lies. Respectfully submitted,
Alfred Rhett, Colonel, commanding.
Brigadier-General Trapier's report of action in Charleston harbor, April Seventh, 1863.
headquarters Second subdivision, First Military District, Sullivan's Island, April 13, 1863.Captain: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of the seventh instant, between the enemy's fleet of iron-clad war vessels and the fort and batteries on this island: At about two o'clock P. M., on that day, it was reported to me that the movements of the fleet, which had been for some time anchored within the bar, were suspicious, and that some of the vessels appeared to be advancing. So stealthily did they approach, however, that not until half past 2 o'clock did I become convinced that the intentions of the enemy were serious and that the long threatened attack was about to begin. I immediately repaired to Fort Moultrie, where I had previously determined to make my headquarters during the action. Slowly but steadily the iron-clads approached, coming by the middle or “swash” channel in single file, the Passaic (it is believed) in the van, followed by the rest (eight in number) at equal distances, the flag ship, New Ironsides, occupying the centre. At three o'clock, Colonel William Butler, commanding in the fort, reported to me that the leading ship was in range. I ordered him immediately to open his batteries upon her, which was done promptly, and the action began. Fearing that the range was rather long for effective work, the firing, after a few rounds, was suspended for a short time; but finding the enemy refused close quarters, there was no alternative but to engage him at long range or not at all. We decided upon the former, and Fort Moultrie again opened her batteries. Batteries Bee and Beauregard had also, by this time, opened fire, and the action had become general. It soon became obvious that the enemy's intentions were to fight and not to run by, and orders were given to “train” on vessels nearest in, and to fire by battery. Volley after volley was delivered in this way; but although it was plain that our shot repeatedly took effect, their impact against the iron casing of the enemy being distinctly heard and seen, yet we could not discover but that the foe was indeed invulnerable. About half past 5 or six o'clock P. M., or after the action had lasted about two hours and a half, the enemy, as slowly as he had advanced, withdrew from the contest, apparently unharmed, so far at least as his power of locomotion went. Subsequent events have happily revealed the fact, that one at least of our enemy's “invulnerables” has given proof that brick walls and earthen parapets still hold the mastery. The nearest the enemy ventured at any time to Fort Moultrie was estimated at one thousand yards, to Battery Bee sixteen hundred yards, to Battery Beauregard fourteen hundred yards. Fort Moultrie was garrisoned by a detachment from the First South Carolina regular infantry, Colonel William Butler commanding, assisted by Major T. M. Baker, and consisting of the following companies: Company A, Captain T. A. Huguenin; Company E, Captain R. Press Smith; Company F, Captain B. S. Burnett; Company G, First Lieutenant E. A. Erwin commanding; Company K, Captain C. H. Rivers. Battery Bee was garrisoned by another detachment from the same regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Jenkins, and consisted of the following companies: Company C, Captain Robert DeTreville; Company H, Captain Warner Adams; Company I, Captain W. Tabourn. Colonel L. M. Keitt, Twentieth regiment South Carolina volunteers, by my consent, took post at Battery Bee, and remained there during the action. Battery Beauregard was under the command of Captain J. A. Sitgreaves, First South Carolina regular artillery, and was garrisoned by the following companies: Company K, First South Carolina regular artillery, First-Lieutenant W. E. Erwin commanding. Company B, First South Carolina regular infantry, Captain J. H. Warley commanding. It gives me pleasure to have it in my power to report that not a single casualty occurred among any of these troops, with the exception only of one in Fort Moultrie. Early in the action our flaff-staff was shot away, and in falling struck private J. S. Lusby, Company F, inflicting a severe wound, from which he died in a short time. Neither the fort itself, nor the material was in the least injured. It is due to the garrison of Fort Moultrie and their soldierly and accomplished commander, Colonel Butler, that I should not close this report without bearing testimony to the admirable skill, coolness, and deliberation with which they served their guns. They went, all — men as well as officers — to their work cheerfully and with alacrity, showing that their hearts were in it. There was enthusiasm, but no excitement. They lost no time in loading their guns, but never fired hastily or without aim.
Captain W. F. Nance, A. A. G.:
Captain W. F. Nance, A. A. G.: