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[552] visited our works on Morris Island to-day, and in consideration of their condition, of our inability to repair damages at Battery Wagner as heretofore, of the dispirited state of its garrison, and of the progress of the enemy's sap, I am reluctantly constrained to recommend an immediate evacuation of both Batteries Wagner and Gregg.

The thirty-six hours severe bombardment to which these batteries have been subjected — confining the troops to the shelter of the bomb-proof — has resulted in so dispiriting the garrison of Wagner, as to render it unsafe, in the opinion of its chief officers, to rely upon it to repel an assault, should the enemy attempt one. The head of the enemy's sap is within forty yards of the salient of the battery, and he is making rapid progress in pushing it forward, unmolested by the fire of a single gun, and with scarcely any annoyance from our sharpshooters.

In consequence of the accuracy of fire of his land batteries, which are now in close proximity to Battery Wagner--say from five to eight hundred yards--aided by reverse fire from his fleet, it is impossible, in the opinion of the officers of the fort, to keep up a fire either of artillery or small arms; and the enemy is thus left free to work on his trenches, which he is pushing rapidly forward, the head of his sap being, as above stated, within forty yards of the salient of the work, which is so seriously.damaged by a battery of Parrott guns, kept constantly playing upon it, as to render it untenable. This difficulty could, however be overcome by the erection of a parapet across the gorge of the salient, and the conversion of the bomb-proof covering into another parapet overlooking the salient, if it were practicable to work, as heretofore, at night. The covering to the bomb-proof and magazine also need repair. We have been thus far able not only to repair damage at night, but to add from day to day to the strength of the battery; but now that the enemy's sap is in such close proximity to the battery, and he has contrived to throw light upon the parapets at night, it is impossible to do so without a heavy loss of men. In the effort last night to repair damages, the commanding officer of the fort reports a loss, in killed and wounded, of sixty to eighty men of the working party alone. Without our ability to repair damage at night, the battery will become, under the incessant fire of the enemy's land batteries and fleet, untenable — say in two days.

It is in view of these facts that I have thought it my duty to make the recommendation at the commencement of this report.

I have the honor to be, General,

Yours very respectfully,

D. B. Harris, Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief Engineer
Official: E. Krarny, A. A. A. General.

Minutes of a conference of General officers in connection with the condition of Battereis Wagner and Gregg

headquarters Department South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Charleston, S. C., September 24, 1863.
At eleven o'clock A. M., fourth instant, a meeting of officers was convened by the commanding General, at his office, for the purpose of enabling him to determine how much longer he should attempt to hold the north end of Morris Island. Present--General G. T. Beauregard, commanding; Major-General J. F. Gilmer, second in command; Brigadier-General R. S. Ripley, commanding First military district; Brigadier-General Thomas Jordan, Chief of Staff and acting Recorder; Brigadier-General Johnson Hagood; Brigadier-General A. H. Colquitt; Lieutenant-Colonel D. B. Harris, Chief Engineer of the Department.

Brigadier-Generals Hagood and Colquitt have both recently commanded on Morris Island, and Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, who had frequently visited Morris Island during the operations, and was present during the assault made by the enemy on the night of the eighteenth of July, in company with Major-General Gilmer, inspected the works on the night of the third instant, by order of the commanding General.

The first question addressed to these officers was as follows:

First--How long do you think Fort Wagner can be held without regard to safety of garrison?

Generals Hagood and Colquitt, replied — That in their belief the enemy could now storm and carry the parapet of Battery Wagner before our men could be got out of the bomb-proofs, and we would then be held at a fatal disadvantage. That if the enemy should continue his approaches as now, by zig-zags up to the ditch, some eight or ten days would probably elapse before he could be expected to take the work by regular approaches, but that an assault could be made successfully some days sooner, should the enemy advance somewhat nearer by constructing another parallel and thence dash forward and storm the works.

Colonel Harris--Thought the enemy would seek to take the work by regular approaches, for which ten days would be necessary. The chances of success of an attempt to carry the work after a partial approach somewhat nearer than at present would, he believed, be unfavorable for the enemy. An attempt to carry the work by storm or assault at present would scarcely be successful.

Second--How long can the fort be held with a fair prospect of saving its garrison with the means of transportation at our command, and circumstances relative thereto as heretofore indicated by actual experience?

General Hagood--Did not think the garrison of Battery Wagner can be saved without we steal a march on the enemy, and that when the

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