IV. By signal to Colonel L. M. Keitt, commanding Morris Island.
Charleston, September 6, 1863--2.15 A. M.Repair work with soldiers and negroes on island. I will determine to-day what measures to adopt. No action should be taken in haste. 'Tis too late to act this night.
Assistant Engineer Stiles has just inspected the fort. He says it is untenable.
Captain: The enemy will, by night, advance their parallel to the most of this battery. The garrison must be taken away immediately after dark, or will be destroyed or captured. It is idle to deny that the heavy Parrott shell have breached the walls and are knocking away the bomb-proofs. Pray have boats immediately after dark at Cummins' Point, to take away the men. I say deliberately that this must be done, or the garrison will be sacrificed. I am sending the wounded and sick now to Cummins' Point, and will continue to do so, if possible, until all are gone. I have a number of them now there. I have not in the garrison four hundred effective men, excluding artillery. The engineers agree in opinion with me, or rather shape my opinion. I shall say no more.
Special orders directing the evacuation of batteries Wagner and Gregg.
headquarters Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Charleston, S. C., September 6, 1863.Battery Wagner, Morris Island, being no longer tenable, without undue loss of life, and the risk of final capture of its entire garrison, the position and Battery Gregg will be evacuated as soon as practicable, to which end the following arrangements will be made by the district commander: 1. Two of the Confederate States iron-clads should take up positions near Fort Sumter, with their guns bearing on Cummins' Point, and to the eastward of it. At the same time all our land batteries will be held prepared to sweep all the water faces of Battery Gregg. Transport steamers will take positions within the harbor, but as near as practicable to Cummins' Point, to receive the men from the row-boats, by which the embarkation will be effected from Morris Island. As many row-boats as necessary, or which can be manned by efficient oarsmen, will be provided and kept in readiness at once, to proceed to and reach Cummins' Point, or that vicinity, as soon after dark as may be prudent. Having reached the beach of Morris Island, a courier, or a relay of footmen, will be dispatched by the naval officer in charge, with notice of the fact to the officer in command of Battery Wagner, and of the exact transport capacity of the boats. A naval officer, with proper assistants, will have exclusive charge of the boats and of their movements. 2. The commanding officer of Battery Wagner having made, during the day, all arrangements for the evacuation and destruction of the work and armament, and when informed of the arrival of the boats, will direct--first, the removal and embarkation of all wounded men; and, thereafter, according to the capacity of the boats at hand, will withdraw his command, by companies, with soldierly silence and deliberation. Two companies will remain in any event to preserve a show of occupation and repair, and to defend from assault during embarkation; and it is strictly enjoined that no more men shall be permitted to quit the work and go to the landing, than can be safely embarked. The embarkation will be superintended by the field officers, or regimental and battalion commanders, who will halt and keep their respective commands about one hundred (100) yards from the boats, divide them into suitable squads, for assignment to the boats, in exact conformity with the directions of the naval officers in charge of embarkation, and then superintend the disposition of the men accordingly, impressing on all the vital necessity for silence, obedience to orders, and the utmost coolness. 3. The companies left to occupy Battery Wagner to the last, will be under the charge of a firm and intelligent field officer, who will not withdraw his command until assured there is sufficient transportation for all the remaining garrison of the island, including that of Battery Gregg. 4. The final evacuation will depend for success, on the utmost coolness and quiet on the part of every man. At least two officers, previously selected, will be left to light the fuses, already arranged and timed to about fifteen minutes, to blow up the magazine and bomb-proof, and to destroy the armament in the
Special Orders, No. 176.
Special Orders, No. 176.