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[529] made to drive the enemy's vessels upon them if he is taking other courses.

The obstructions will also be designated, and under no circumstances will the enemy be permitted to reconnoitre them.

The headquarters of the undersigned will be at Fort Sumter, and directions be sent by telegraph and signal to the different posts, should anything require special directions.

Batteries Marshall and Wagner will be worked to the extent of their capacity for injuring the enemy, by their commanding officers, without unduly exposing their commands.

The directions given above, relate generally to the defeat of an attack by the enemy's fleet alone. Should a combined attack be made by land and water, other orders can be issued, as nothing of that kind can be done by surprise.

The present circular will be studied and reflected upon by all officers who will be engaged in this honorable duty of the coming defence. With careful attention, coolness, and skilful gunnery, success is far more than probable.

R. S. Ripley, Brigadier-General, commanding.
Official: Wm. F. Nance, A. A. General.

Reports of the Military Engineers of the engagement of the enemy's iron-clad fleet with the Forts and batteries commanding the outer harbor of Charleston on the Seventh of April, 1863.

office of Chief Engineer, Charleston, South Carolina, April 23, 1863.
Brigadier-General Thomas Jordan, Chief of Staff:
General: In compliance with instructions,

Major Echols has made a report in detail of the engagement on the seventh instant, of the enemy's iron-clad fleet with the forts and batteries commanding the outer harbor of this city, which I have the honor to hand you herewith.

This report is based upon information derived from the commanding officers of the forts and batteries engaged in the fight, and upon an examination in company with myself of those works on the eighth and ninth instant.

The fire of the enemy was directed chiefly against Fort Sumter, at a distance of from nine to fifteen hundred yards. The injuries to the fort, of which the tables and drawings accompanying Major Echols' report give an accurate description, were not of a character to impair its efficiency. The crushing effect of the enemy's heavy missiles was less than I had anticipated. The chief damage was probably caused by the explosion of shells against and in the walls of the fort.

The manner in which the fort withstood the bombardment is a matter of congratulation, and encourages us to believe that the repairs that have been made, and the measures now in progress to strengthen and protect its walls, will enable the fort to withstand a much more formidable bombardment with like good results.

Of the other works engaged, none of which attracted much of the enemy's attention, only one--Fort Moultrie--received any damage, and that was very trivial.

Fort Moultrie, Battery Wagner, and Cummins Point battery fired upon the fleet at a distance of from twelve to fifteen hundred yards; Batteries Bee and Beauregard at a distance of from sixteen hundred to two thousand yards--too far, in the case of the latter-named batteries, for useful effect against iron-clads.

Our batteries were admirably served by our skilled artillerists. Much of the rapidity and accuracy with which our heavy guns were fired was due to the use of Colonel Yates' traverser, with the merits of which the General commanding has been fully impressed.

Our batteries discharged about twenty-two hundred shot of all sorts; the enemy's fleet about one hundred and ten, chiefly fifteen-inch shell and eleven-inch solid shot — not less than eighty of which were directed at Fort Sumter.

The sinking of the Keokuk, and the discomfiture of other iron-clads, has established their vulnerability to our heavy projectiles at a range, say, of from nine to twelve hundred yards.

It appeared on an examination of the wreck of the Keokuk, on the sixteenth instant, by Lieutenant Boyleston, confirmed in the main by my own observations on the nineteenth instant, that her turrets within four and a half feet of their tops, had been pierced by four ten-inch shot and one seven-inch rifle shot, and a wrought iron Brooke bolt had pentrated seven-eighths of its length and stuck in the plating. Several severe indentations were also observed, near which the plates were warped and the bolts broken or started. The top of the smoke-stack (of sheet iron) was very much torn, and the bottom of it (of similar structure to the turrets) pierced by a ten-inch shot. The vessel having sunk in thirteen feet of water, prevented an examination of the lower portions of her turrets, or of her hull, which, no doubt, were served in like manner. From this it would appear that the ten-inch shot are just as effective at the distance, say, of nine hundred yards as the seven-inch Brooke bolts against such structures as the turrets of the Keokuk.

The result of this engagement is highly gratifying, and increases our confidence in our ability, with good batteries of suitable guns, to contend successfully with vessels of the monitor class. The enemy's evident and just dread of torpedoes, as evinced in his preparation for their explosion, by the “Devil,” or torpedo-searcher, should induce us to multiply our defences of that character in whatsoever manner they can be made available.

I have the honor to be,

Yours, very respectfully,

D. B. Harris, Major and Chief of Engineers.
Official: G. Thomas Cox. Lieutenant Engineers.

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