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My headquarters during the fight were at the Pulpit battery on the sea face, 100 yards from the northeast salient, which commanded the best view of the works and their approaches by sea and land. At 2:30, as I was returning from another battery, one of my lookouts called to me. ‘Colonel, the enemy are about to charge.’ I informed General Whiting, who was near, and at my request he immediately telegraphed General Bragg at Sugar Loaf as follows:

‘The enemy are about to assault; they outnumber us heavily. We are just manning our parapets. Fleet have extended down the sea front side and are firing very heavily. Enemy on the beach in front of us in very heavy force, not more than 700 yards from us. Nearly all land guns disabled. Attack! Attack! It is all I can say, and all you can do.’

I passed hurriedly down in rear of the land face and through the galleries, and although the fire of the fleet was still terrific, I knew it would soon cease, and I ordered additional sharpshooters to the gun chambers to pick off the officers in the assaulting columns, and directed the battery commanders to rush with their men upon the parapets as soon as the firing stopped and drive the assailants back. I determined to allow the assailants to reach the berme of the work before exploding a line of torpedoes, believing it would enable us to kill or capture their first line, while destroying or demoralizing their supports.

I had not reached headquarters when the naval bombardment ceased, and instantly the steam whistles of the vast fleet sounded a charge. It was a soul-stirring signal both to the beseigers and the beseiged.

I ordered my aide, Captain Charles H. Blocker, to double-quick the Twenty-first and Twenty-fifth South Carolina to reinforce Major Reilly, who was in command of the left, while I rallied to the right of the land face some 500 of the garrison, placing the larger portion of them on top of the parapet of and adjoining the northeast salient. There were at least 250 men defending the left, and with the 350 South Carolinians ordered there and the Napoleon and torpedoes, I had no fears about the successful defense of that portion of the work.

The assaulting line on the right, consisting of 2,000 sailors and marines, was directed at the northeast salient at the intersection of the land and sea faces, and the greater proportion had flanked the torpedoes by keeping close to the sea. Ordering the two Napoleons

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Harry Whiting (1)
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