Night before last Captain Carlin, with a small steamer made for the purpose, accompanied by a detachment from the Fort under Lieutenant Fickling, went out to blow up the Ironsides. They reached the old monster without the slightest alarm being given, but, unfortunately, instead, of striking her with bow ahead, the tide drifted them round, and the boat struck with its side, the torpedo hanging in some chains on the Ironsides and being torn off and left. They all have frightful stories to relate about the drums beating to quarters, seeing men rush on deck and to their guns, and seeing guns run in battery, and blank cartridges fired. But suffice it to say, that they succeeded in getting off safe, though making a hair-breadth escape. I have told you about Fickling, particularly his height. He is only nineteen years old, but a more gallant fellow never lived. How near he came being immortalized!
Fort Sumter, August 23, 1863.My Dear Father.—You will have heard, before this reaches you, of the fight with the enemy's monitors this morning. They came up, five in number, about half-past 3 o'clock and opened on us, in our helpless condition, a most terrific and destructive fire. We had but one solitary gun amid the ruins, the remnant of thirty-five splendid barbette guns, with which to contend against them. They were within 800 yards of the Fort, and could not be seen by the other fortifications on account of the denseness of the fog; so that for some time our single gun was the only one on our side engaged. I could scarcely restrain my tears at our helpless situation. It was a sad reflection indeed to think that all our guns were disabled, and that, too, when we so much needed them, and that we had only one with which to fight the sneaking sea-devils. After awhile, however, Moultrie, Bee, Simpkins, Gregg, all opened, and, after a hot fight of two hours, in which we in the Fort were the only ones to suffer, the enemy thought fit to retire. I need not speak of the injury that we sustained, for we could scarcely be injured more than we already were. The reason of the enemy's appearance this morning was doubtless on account of their belief that the Fort was abandoned; for, before we opened, a launch filled with troops was seen approaching the Fort, and was quite near the wharf when we gave the alarm, whereupon the launch was seen to return hurriedly. The garrison had been ordered previously to turn out with small arms to defend the