had held out fifty-eight days, but she was finally to be abandoned, and so the evacuation began, at 9 o'clock on the evening of the 7th of September.
We had a considerable number of wounded men, because of the close proximity of our works, and the Federals
, who had trained their sharp-shooters to pick off our soldiers very accurately, whenever any work was done on our defences.
The wounded were taken to Comming's Point and embarked first.
After their departure the infantry were taken across to Fort Johnson
, on James Island
; next followed the artillerists, then the rear-guard, which was composed of a small detachment of Regulars from Battery Gregg and Battery Wagner, and, last of all, three officers and a sergeant, who remained to deceive the enemy up to the moment when Captain Huguenin
lit the fuse which was expected to blow up the powder magazine.
They moved about from angle to angle, firing off rifles as fast as they could load them, so that the Yankees
might not be aware that our troops had departed, and that all they had to do was to walk in and take possession.
This was a very trying ordeal, for at any moment an attack on our shattered lines might have been made, and this minute garrison captured or killed.
It was by this time 1 o'clock in the morning, and the moon had risen.
The doors of the powder-magazine were opened and the fuse ignited; then they hastened down to the beach to take their places in our last boat.
‘Hurry,’ shouted the sailors who manned this barge, for the enemy had discovered that something unusual was taking place, and had sent their barges forward again, either to make another attack on Battery Gregg, or to ascertain our movements, They had intercepted two of our boats and captured forty-nine men. The officers, in obedience to the warning summons, hastened rapidly on, but Captain Huguenin
had been twice struck that day by fragments of shells which had exploded near him, and was so lame that he could not advance very fast.
‘Go on,’ he said to his comrades, ‘and I will overtake you.’
But when he got to the beach, he found, to his dismay, that in the darkness and confusion they had gone off and left him, supposing him to be aboard.
His position was truly a melancholy and precarious one, for the guns of the enemy's batteries and those of the fleet swept the open beach, as the tide was out; and if he returned to Battery Wagner, that was no refuge to seek shelter in, when every instant he hoped to hear the powder blow up, and all of our batteries and Fort Moultrie
had been instructed to concentrate their fire upon it as soon as the signal of our having evacuated Morris Island
had been given.
To surrender, and be taken prisoner,