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[360] the Confederates. The tremendous roar of the bombardment, which ceased but for a few minutes, as the charge on the fort was first sounded by the steam whistles of the fleet, drowned the sound of the small arms; but the Commanding-General seems to have comprehended nothing. General Bragg says further along:

General Colquitt soon returned and reported. He landed at a point about a mile behind the fort at 10.30 P. M., found everything in confusion, hundreds of men without arms, many of them drunk, and no one apparently in command. Colonel Lamb was there wounded. General Whiting was also pointed out lying on the beach severely wounded, but fast asleep. The enemy soon approached, and Colquitt barely had time to escape in his small boat.

I do not believe General Colquitt ever made such a report, for the charge that my brave men who, for sixty hours had withstood a furious bombardment and who for six hours had engaged in a hand to hand fight, and who had not retreated until their ammunition was gone and with it all hope, were drunk, is too absurd to require a denial. I had no liquor for distribution to the garrison, and what remained in the hospital bombproof was captured by some sailors from the fleet, who becoming intoxicated with it, entered the reserve magazine the morning after the battle seeking plunder, and causing its explosion, which resulted in the death and wounding of nearly two hundred brave men. The soldiers who carried their wounded General and Colonel to Battery Buchanan were without their guns, and also some artillerists who had stood by their cannon until driven away; but those of the garrison who were not captured in the fort were reported to me as having retired in good order.

General Colquitt came up to me and I told him even then, if Bragg would attack vigorously and he would land a fresh brigade that the fort could be retaken, as the enemy had been more or less demoralized by the resistance they met. One of my officers suggested that General Colquitt should carry me off, but I refused to leave, as no means had been provided for the retreat of my men, and I wished to share their fate, but I asked General Colquitt to take General Whiting, as he was a volunteer in the fort. But to my astonishment he left precipitately, leaving the wounded and bleeding hero to die in a Northern prison. The General was not asleep, but giving directions to his Adjutant-General about meeting the enemy.

Here comes the most extraordinary portion of this “confidential” epistle. It says:

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Colquitt (6)
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