of arms; for our troops were too vigilant to be surprised, and too resolute to be overcome.
So the engineers, who had steadily advanced their lines of earthworks every night closer and closer to ours, ever since they had obtained a foothold on the Island
, undertook the task of obtaining possession of Battery Wagner and driving us away, and they eventually succeeded by their skill in effecting what they desired.
The cannon of the enemy were of much heavier calibre than ours, and tore down our parapets; and a calcium light which they mounted threw an illumination almost as bright as day upon our defences, so that our working parties at length could accomplish nothing, our guns could not be remounted, nor the breaches in our walls repaired.
This kind of warfare is not so dangerous as the storming of redoubts, or battles in the open field, but it is very wearying and harrassing, and breaks down the spirit of troops unless they are very steady and well disciplined; for there is no excitement in it, and the protracted strain on the nerves wears them out. Many soldiers after their term of duty was over at Battery Wagner went home only to die of typhoid fever, as did Captain Julius Alston
and Lieutenant Randal Craft
, of the regulars.
The bomb-proofs were used as hospitals, and were intensely hot so that the atmosphere in them was stifling, and men who were at all fastidious preferred remaining outside of them, even when they were ‘Noff duty,’ and running the risk of being killed by the continually exploding shells.
Oh, those shells!
who, having once heard their rushing voice of woe, can ever forget them?
When they rise up in the air, from afar, and draw gradually nearer and nearer, roaring, screaming, and hurtling through miles of space on their errand of destruction, it is almost impossible to believe that they are inanimate objects, the appalling sound they make is so expressive of hatred and malignity.
On the 6th of September an attack was made upon Battery Gregg by barges, from Vincent's Creek; but our signal officers had been clever enough to read the enemy's signals, and we were therefore prepared to meet their advance—our entire force at Battery Wagner, except the artillerists having been temporarily transferred to the point where the assault was expected.
When the barges approached, they were received so warmly that they soon withdrew in confusion.
, the commander of our forces on Morris Island
, now reported that the engineers no longer considered Battery Wagner tenable.
A council of general officers was held, and it was decided that at last Morris Island
must be evacuted.