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[130]

The remainder of the day was passed in comparative quiet. The fleet was occupied in placing sand-bags on the decks of the monitors, the enemy's land batteries firing but 148 shots; 38 of these were directed against Sumter. In the same period our batteries fired 66 times.

During the night the enemy in front of Wagner was engaged in strengthening his advanced position, which was then within eighty or one hundred yards of the salient. Owing to the difficulty of transporting ammunition to Battery Wagner the fire from that work was slack.

Early on the morning of the 3d the enemy opened on Battery Wagner with mortars, and continued it throughout the day. Fort Sumter was not fired at. In that work all hands were busily engaged in repairing damages. During the past night, as usual, large quantities of ordnance-stores and several guns were removed by that gallant and zealous Acting Engineer officer, Mr. J. Frazer Mathews, of Charleston, who persistently worked at this dangerous and laborious undertaking until every disabled gun which could be recovered from the debris had been transferred to its new position. The condition of the fort at this date was as follows:

The northeast and northwest terre-pleins had fallen in, and the western wall had a crack entirely through from parapet to berme. The greater portion of the southern wall was down, the upper east magazine penetrated, and lower east magazine wall cracked; the eastern wall itself nearly shot away, and large portions down; ramparts gone, and nearly every casemate breached. The casemates on the eastern face were still filled with sand, and gave some protection to the garrison from shells. Not a single gun remained in barbette, and but a single smooth-bore 32-pounder in the west face that could be fired as the morning and evening gun.

During the night of the 3d Battery Wagner fired steadily, and the James Island batteries occasionally. Throughout the 4th the enemy did not fire on Fort Sumter, but confined themselves to shelling Battery Wagner, and were answered by the James Island guns. During the night of the 4th the enemy's approach was pushed close to Battery Wagner. At 12 M., on the 5th, the Federal flag, which had been one hundred yards south of Wagner, was abreast of the south angle of the work. Throughout the day a very heavy fire was concentrated on Battery Wagner from the New Ironsides, monitors, and land batteries, which severely injured the work. Our casualties were also greatly increased, some forty occurring during the day.

Large bodies of troops were transferred from Folly to Morris Island, and other indications pointed to an early assault. There is good reason to believe that the enemy's plan was to carry Battery Gregg by a boat attack on the night of the 5th, or early on the morning of the 6th; that the fleet should prevent the landing of reinforcements at Cummings's Point; that Battery Wagner should be shelled fiercely by the ironclads; and on the morning of the 6th, on a given signal, the assault on Battery Wagner was to take place.

This plan was frustrated, however, by the repulse of the attacking party on Battery Gregg. About 1.30 A. M.; on the morning of the 6th, they were seen approaching, in from fifteen to twenty barges, by the passages leading from Vincent and Schooner creeks that lie between James and Morris islands.


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