The battalion of regulars was increased until it formed two regiments and a battalion.
The First artillery, stationed at Fort Sumter
, the other regiment at Fort Moultrie
, and the battalion on James's Island
. Captain Harleston
belonged to the First artillery, and took great pride in his company.
Iron plated ships of war are now in use all over the world, but the idea was orginated at Charleston
, by Captain Hamilton
's floating ironclad battery, and the first gun-boats of a similar construction were those that came from the North
and attacked Fort Sumter
April 7th, 1863.
This iron-clad fleet had been expected by us for some time, as they had been loudly vaunted by the Northern
press for months before they arrived off Charleston
, and we received the New York papers constantly from the “blockade runners,” and knew therefore, that they were supposed to be invulnerable, and that they believed they could “take Charleston
,” without the least difficulty.
The Ironsides, a large iron-plated war ship, and seven turreted ironclad gun-boats steamed into the harbor at about 3 o'clock, on the afternoon of the 7th, of April 1863, and began their attack upon Fort Sumter
; but in a short time they were so roughly handled by the artillerists of Fort Sumter
, and the other forts and batteries around the bay, that they were forced to withdraw from the coutest, badly crippled and with their “prestige” entirely gone, like the English fleet that had come on a similar mission eighty-six years before.
The artillery practice was so good that the Brooke
gun at Fort Sumter
fired three shells that struck the Keokuk successively
almost in the same place, jarring the plates and tearing her so badly that she could hardly get out of range, and sunk during the night with her guns and everything on board (which all fell into the hands of the Confederates
.) This is only one instance illustrative of their skill; many more might be added.
The channel batteries and the sea-face batteries were the only ones that were employed by Fort Sumter
in this important engagement.
commanded the guns “in barbette” of the channel battery, and exhibited great coolness, while his precision of aim was admirable.
His calm, cheerful composure of manner always produced a striking effect upon his men in times of danger, steadying their excitement and arousing their emulation.
An amusing incident occurred during this fight, which may help to illustrate the spirit of the garrison.
In the midst of the fray, when they did not know if the fort would be knocked to pieces or not, a Sergeant double-shotted a gun, which fortunately did not explode when it was fired, but the recoil was so violent that it leaped completely off