events Fort Sumter
would be reduced to a pile of ruins before the sun went down.
The damage done to the forts by the very small number of projectiles fired by the vessels, although not known at the time to the assailants, was so considerable as to cause the enemy to fill nearly all of the casemates with sand, and this work was begun and carried on vigorously the very night after the bombardment.
(See Appendix A for effect of shells, as given in Confederate records.)
The damage inflicted on the vessels shows that they were incapable of enduring heavy blows sufficiently long to effect the destruction of Sumter
, as they were situated, or as it was supposed possible to place them.
There was considerable swell even between the forts at the time of the attack, and the flood tide ran strong and irregularly, which added to the embarrassment.
Afloat as elsewhere leeks have to be eaten sometimes, whether liked or not, as an old proverb has it.
An examination of the chart of Charleston Harbor
, with its batteries and obstructions of various kinds, as shown in 1865, and the experience gained subsequent to the attack (bearing in mind, too, the condition of the batteries of the vessels on the 7th of April), would point rather to the probability of disaster than to success, had an attempt been made to enter.
The reader has been informed of the strength of the attacking force in guns and in material resistance, and the failure of many of the guns to operate when they were most needed.
A part of the defences at that time consisted of seventy-six guns of large calibre, which bore over the area occupied for a time by the vessels attacking.
H. R. Ex. Doc
. No. 69, Thirty-eighth Congress, First Session, page 85 (Report on Armored Vessels), states: ‘There was a cylinder torpedo off Fort Wagner
under charge of Mr.