shot away, and replaced by private G. Gilleland, Charleston battalion. As night approached, the increased severity of the bombardment plainly indicated that an assault would be made, and orders were issued to the command to prepare to man the ramparts. At a quarter to eight, the lines of the enemy were seen advancing, and the bombardment slackened to an occasional shell from the ships and land batteries. As the enemy advanced they were met by a shower of grape and canister from our guns, and a terrible fire of musketry from the Charleston battalion and Fifty-first North Carolina. These two commands gallantly maintained their position, and drove the enemy back quickly from their front, with immense slaughter. In the meantime, on the left of the work, the Thirty-first North Carolina could not be induced to occupy their position, and ingloriously deserted the ramparts, when, no resistance being offered at this point, the advance of the enemy, pushing forward, entered the ditch, and ascended the work, at the extreme left salient of the land face, and occupied it. I at once directed Lieutenant-Colonel Gaillard to keep up a severe enfilading fire to his left, and directed the field pieces on the left of the fort, outside of the sally-port, to direct their fire to the right, so as to sweep the ditch and exterior slope of that part of the work thus occupied, and thus at the same time prevented the enemy from being supported at that point, and cut off all hope of his escape. The main body of the enemy, after a brief attempt to pass over the field of fire, retreated under the fire of our artillery and the shells of Fort Sumter, and must have suffered heavily as long as they were within the range of our guns. Colonel Harris, of the engineers, to whose skill I am much indebted, and whose coolness and gallantry were most conspicuous during the previous day, placed a howitzer on the right of the fort outside the beach, and co-operated with the guns on the left. Thinking it advisable to dislodge the enemy at once, before they had time to communicate their temporary success, I called for volunteers to dislodge them. This call was promptly met by Major McDonald, of the Fifty-first North Carolina infantry, and by Captain Ryan, Charleston battalion. I selected Captain Ryan's company, and directed them to charge the enemy in the salient. This work they advanced to with great spirit, but unfortunately Captain Ryan was killed at the moment of the advance, and his men hesitated, and the opportunity was lost. Wherever the enemy showed themselves a sharp fire was kept up upon them by the Fifty-first North Carolina, and after considerable injury thus inflicted, a party of the Thirty-second Georgia regiment having been sent along the parapet to the left and on the top of the magazine to approach their rear, they surrendered. In front of the fort, the scene of carnage is indescribable. The repulse was overwhelming, and the loss of the enemy could not have been less than two thousand (2,000) in killed, wounded, and prisoners, perhaps much more. Our loss I estimate at fifty killed, and one hundred and fifty wounded, but will forward an exact return. The assailants consisted of troops from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hamphire, Ohio, and New York, and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts negro regiment (under Colonel Shaw, who was killed), under the command of Brigadier-General Strong. The supports were commanded by Brigadier-General----. I will hereafter make a supplementary report, and give such details as may be required. As to the damage done to the work and guns, I have the honor to refer you to the reports of the Engineer Officer and Chief of Artillery, which will be forwarded. I will remark this, whilst the injury done to the work is considerable, it is much less than could have been expected, and the damage to the guns, it is hoped, may be repaired in a short time. In conclusion, whilst I feel it my duty to mention the disgraceful conduct of the Thirty-first North Carolina infantry, I am proud to bear testimony to the efficiency and gallantry of the other troops. Colonel McKeatchin's regiment, Fifty-fist North Carolina infantry, redeemed the reputation of the Thirty-first regiment. They gallantly sought their positions under a heavy shelling, and maintained it during the action. Colonel McKeatchin, Lieutenant-Colonel Hobson, and Major McDonald, are the field-officers of this regiment, and deserve special mention. The Charleston battalion distinguished themselves, not only by their gallantry, but by their discipline, and cool performance of their duty, and obedience to orders under the excitement and confusion always incident to a night attack. Lieutenant-Colonel Gaillard, and the brave Major Ramsay, who, I regret to say, was severely wounded, deserve the highest expression of commendation for their conduct during the bombardment and assault. The artillery behaved throughout the day with remarkable courage. Lieutenant-Colonel Simkins had a most severe duty to perform during the day, in directing the operations of the artillery. This, unflinchingly and admirably, he performed, and after the enemy's heavy guns had ceased, he mounted the parapet and en couraged the infantry. There, on the ramparts, in the front, this admirable soldier and accomplished gentleman sealed his devotion to our cause by an early but most heroic death. Captains Buckner and Dixon, Sixty-third Georgia, and Captain Adams, First South Carolina infantry, deserve especial mention; but I desire to bring most conspicuously to the notice of the Brigadier-General commanding, the name of Lieutenant Poore, whose coolness, skill and gallantry
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.