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[116] Morris Island in one night, and in time to allow the advance of our troops to the south end before daylight.

Two regiments under Brigadier-General Colquitt arrived on the 14th, and were sent to James Island. During the day the enemy's wooden gunboats and mortar-vessels shelled Battery Wagner at long range, doing, however, little damage. The enemy worked hard on his Morris Island batteries, making considerable progress. The fire, however, from Fort Sumter and Batteries Wagner and Gregg appeared to harass him considerably.

The impossibility of expelling the enemy from Morris Island being fully recognized, I was obliged, reluctantly, to adopt the defensive. Orders were issued for closing the gate-way in the gorge of Fort Sumter, and removing a portion of the guns, also for the construction of a covered way from Fort Moultrie to Battery Bee.

During the night Brigadier-General Taliaferro, commanding at Morris Island, sent out a party of one hundred and fifty men under Major Rion of the 7th South Carolina Battalion, who drove the enemy's pickets from his rifle-pits across the island some three-quarters (3/4) (i) of a mile from Battery Wagner.

On the 15th the enemy on Morris Island appeared to be largely reinforced; and during the night of the 14th the frigate Ironsides crossed the bar.

The enemy was busy on his works—our men employed in repairing damages in Battery Wagner and answering the fire of the monitors and gunboats.

The following instructions were given to the Engineer Department: To have Shell Point Battery constructed for three instead of two guns, the mortar-batteries at Fort Johnson to be converted into gun-batteries for one heavy rifled gun or 10-inch columbiad each. To strengthen the gorge-wall of Fort Sumter by means of wet cotton-bales, filled in between with sand, and kept moist by means of tubes or hose from the upper terre-plein.

General Ripley was also instructed to reduce the forces on Morris Island to a command simply competent to hold the works against a coup de main, also to furnish the troops on that island with several hundred rice-casks for the construction of ‘rat holes’ in the sand-hills in rear of Battery Wagner.

Instructions were given to the Chief of Subsistence to keep rations on Morris Island for 5000 men for thirty days, and on James Island rations for 5000 men for fifteen days, with a reserve supply in the city. On the same day the enemy's pickets along the Stono on John's Island were observed to be increased by the addition of negro troops. Brigadier-General Hagood made a reconnaissance of the enemy in his front on James Island.

At daybreak, on the morning of the 16th of July, Brigadier-General Hagood, in accordance with instructions, attacked the enemy on James Island, driving them to the shelter of their gunboats and to Battery Island. The loss was small on both sides: 3 men killed, 12 wounded, and 3 missing on our side. The enemy lost 40 negroes killed, and 14 prisoners left in our hands.

This retreat of the enemy was followed by the advance of our troops, who have occupied the ground ever since. In the engagement the gunboat Pawnee was forced to retire down the Stono River, under fire from our light artillery.


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