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As the number of men was so small, and the garrison so nearly exhausted by the several months of siege which they had gone through, it was necessary to husband their strength. The command was therefore divided into three relief, or equal parties, who were to work the different batteries by turns, each four hours.

The first relief opened upon the iron batteries at Cumming's Point, at a distance of 1,600 yards, the iron floating battery, distant 1,800 or 2,000 yards at the end of Sullivan's Island, the enfilading battery on Sullivan's Island, and Fort Moultrie. This was at 7 o'clock in the morning, Capt. Doubleday firing the first gun, and all the points named above being opened upon simultaneously. For the first four hours the firing was kept up with great rapidity; the enthusiasm of the men, indeed, was so great that the second and third reliefs could not be kept from the guns. This accounts for the fact that double the number of guns were at work during the first four hours than at any other time.

Shells burst with the greatest rapidity in every portion of the work, hurling the loose brick and stone in all directions, breaking the windows, and setting fire to whatever woodwork they burst against. The solid shot firing of the enemy's batteries, and particularly of Fort Moultrie, was directed at the barbette guns of Fort Sumter, disabling one ten-inch-columbiad, (they had but two,) one-eight-inch columbiad, one forty-two pounder, and two eight-inch sea-coast howitzers, and also tearing a large portion of the parapet away. The firing from the batteries on Cumming's Point was scattered over the whole of the gorge, or rear, of the fort. It looked like a sieve. The explosion of shells, and the quantity of deadly missiles that were hurled in every direction and at every instant of time, made it almost certain death to go out of the lower tier of casemates, and also made the working of the barbette, or upper uncovered guns, which contained all our heaviest metals, and by which alone we could throw shells, quite impossible. During the first day there was hardly an instant of time that there was a cessation of the whizzing of balls, which were sometimes coming half a dozen at once. There was not a portion of the work which was not seen in reverse (that is, exposed by the rear) from mortars.

On Friday, before dinner, several of the vessels of the fleet beyond the Bar were seen through the port-holes. They dipped their flag. The command ordered Sumter's flag to be dipped in return, which was done, while the shells were bursting in every direction. [The flagstaff was located in the open parade, which is about the centre of the open space within the fort.] Sergeant Hart saw the flag of Fort Sumter half-way down, and, supposing that it had been cut by the enemy's shot, rushed out through the fire to assist in getting it up. Shortly after it had been re-raised, a shell burst and cut the halyards, but the rope was so intertwined around the halyards, that the flag would not fall.

The cartridges were exhausted by about noon, and a party was sent to the magazines to make cartridges of the blankets and shirts, the sleeves of the latter being readily converted into the purpose desired. Another great misfortune was, that there was not an instrument in the fort by which they could weigh powder, which of course destroyed all attempt at accuracy of firing. Nor had they tangent scales, breech sides, or other instruments with Which to point a gun.

When it became so dark as to render it impossible to see the effect of their shot, the port-holes were closed for the night, while the batteries of the secessionists continued their fire the whole night.

During Friday, the officers' barracks were three times set on fire by the shells, and three times put out under the most galling and destructive firing. This was the only occasion on which Major Anderson allowed the men to expose themselves without an absolute necessity. The guns on the parapet — which had been pointed the day before — were fired clandestinely by some of the men slipping up on top.

The firing of the rifled guns from the iron battery on Cumming's Point became extremely accurate in the afternoon of Friday, cutting out large quantities of the masonry about the embrasures at every shot, throwing concrete among the cannoneers, and slightly wounding and stunning others. One piece struck Sergeant Kearnan, an old Mexican war veteran, striking him on the head and knocking him down. Upon being revived, he was asked if he was hurt badly. He replied: “No; I was only knocked down temporarily,” and he went to work again.

Meals were served at the guns of the cannoneers, while the guns were being fired and pointed. The fire commenced in the morning as soon as possible.

During Friday night the men endeavored to climb the flag-staff, for the purpose of fastening new halliards, the old ones having been cut by the shot, but found it impossible. The flag remained fast.

For the fourth time the barracks were set on fire early on Saturday morning, and attempts were made to put it out. But it was soon discovered that redhot shot were being thrown into the fort with the greatest rapidity, and it became evident that it would be impossible to put out the conflagration. The whole garrison was then set at work, or as many as could be spared, to remove the powder from the magazines, which was desperate work, rolling barrels of powder through the fire.

Ninety odd barrels had been rolled out through the flames, when the heat became so great as to make it impossible to get out any more. The doors were then closed and locked, and the fire spread and became general. The wind so directed the smoke as to fill the fort so full that the men could not see each other, and with. the hot, stifling air, it was as much as a man could do to breathe. Soon they were obliged to cover their faces with wet cloths in order to get along at all, so dense was the smoke and so scorching the heat.

But few cartridges were left, and the guns were fired slowly; nor could more cartridges be made, on account of the sparks falling in every part of the works. A gun was fired every now and then only to let the fleet and the people in the town know that the fort had not been silenced. The cannoneers could not see to aim, much less where they hit.

After the barracks were well on fire, the batteries directed upon Fort Sumter increased their cannonading to a rapidity greater than had been attained before. About this time, the shells and ammunition in the upper service-magazines exploded, scattering the tower and upper portions of the building in every direction. The crash of the beams, the roar of the flames, the rapid explosion of the shells, and the shower of fragments of the

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