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[120] day—July 10, 1863—the three battalions were safely in bivouac at the terminus of the Savannah and Charleston railroad. Here we were met by a staff-officer, who informed us that we were to reinforce the garrison of Battery Wagner, on Morris Island, and that at dusk the necessary transportation would be furnished to take us down to the fort. He also told us that the enemy, under cover of a tremendous fire of artillery, from batteries on Folly Island, which had been unmasked during the night, had effected a lodgment on the south end of Morris Island, and had driven our forces back upon ‘Wagner,’ which fortification would, doubtless, be attacked on the next day. We learned, also, that another force was threatening James Island, and that the Thirty-second had been sent, with other troops, to meet that danger. Events proved that this last was a feint, to distract attention from the main attack.

All day we remained quietly at this place, endeavoring to make out the various points of interest in the beautiful harbor spread before us, and watching the little clouds of smoke that ascended from the parapets of Fort Sumter, as its guns were slowly fired at the enemy. It was a lovely day, clear and bright, without a cloud in the sky. The vegetation about us, freshened by the rain of the previous evening, added sweet odors to the soft sea-breeze that came up the bay. Upon our left the city of Charleston ‘sat like a queen,’ her roof tops and spires glittering in the sunlight, while afar down, over an expanse of shining water, could be seen the ships of the fleet swinging lazily at their anchors.

The picture was beautiful, and for one, I would have found it difficult to realize that beneath it all were the grim front and iron hand of war, but for the dull rumble of the constantly recurring shot from Sumter. That was ‘the fly in the ointment of the apothecary,’ that ‘the spectre at the feast,’ that the refrain ever ringing in our ears and suggesting the unwelcome thought—‘it looks peaceful enough now, but just wait until to-morrow.’

About nightfall we embarked in a steamer that had been sent for us and, after many delays, were safely landed at Cumming's Point, on the northern end of Morris Island. The line was formed at once, and we set out for Battery Wagner, reporting to its commander, Colonel Graham, of the Twenty-First South Carolina regiment, at about 11 o'clock at night.

At the risk of being somewhat tedious, I must here devote a few lines to the topography of this famous Island. It is a long, narrow strip of sand, running almost due north and south for about four

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William Graham (2)
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July 10th, 1863 AD (1)
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