commenced firing as soon as it got into position, the enemy's fire would not have been concentrated on one of our companies, nor would we have fought at such close quarters.
The work across the neck of the Secessionville peninsula
was about fifty yards in length, and was a very well constructed line of entrenchments.
The ramparts were about fifteen feet from the level of the ground.
There was a ditch in front about ten or fifteen feet in width.
The exterior slope was so nearly perpendicular that it was impossible to get up in front without scaling ladders.
The enemy were not provided with these.
The principal defect was the want of a glacis in front, which would have prevented the enemy getting under the line of fire.
The left flank had a gentler slope and men could, with difficulty, climb up. There were five heavy guns mounted in the work.
These guns were served by a detachment of Colonel Lamar
The infantry supports were the Louisiana
battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel McHenry
(since the war elected Governor of his State), Charleston battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter G. Gaillard
's battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Smith
, and a detachment of the Twenty-second regiment South Carolina volunteers.
Several companies of these troops came up after the battle commenced.
Some of the companies present of Lamar
's regiment had fortunately been ordered to the battery that morning to assist in mounting some more guns.
Colonel J. B. Lamar
was the ranking officer in the battery, and a very brave man he was. The enemy formed under cover of the woods, between Secessionville
's, and advanced very rapidly.
The pickets in front of Secessionville
were from the Charleston battalion and under the command of Captain T. Y. Simons
The enemy drove them rapidly, without firing or being fired upon, and reached the works with the pickets and in pursuit of them.
Two Federal regiments, supported by a large force in reserve, charged the battery.
They came up obliquely, directing their advance to the left flank of the work.
Their approach was a complete surprise.
They were so near, when the guns were manned, that it was found impossible to depress the pieces sufficiently to make them effective.
Our troops had to rely on the musket and bayonet.
For awhile there was a hand-to-hand fight in the battery.
A captain was the first to get into our work, and received, for his daring, a ball which ended his career, but not before he had killed Captain Reed
, of Lamar
One of the Federal
soldiers seized a man of that regiment by the collar at one of the guns, and actually carried him off a prisoner when driven out of the battery.
The charge was daring, 10