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Doc. 72.-battle at James Island, S. C.1

General Wright's report.

headquarters First division, N. D. D. S., James Island, S. C., June 18, 1862.
Major: I have the honor to present the following report of my division in the action of the sixteenth inst.:

Before proceeding to describe the part taken by the troops under my immediate command, it. is important, and indeed indispensable, that the plan of operations, as determined upon by Gen. Benham, and distinctly laid down by him, regarding [210] the entire force brought into the field, should be explained. This is essential to the complete understanding of the part taken by and the disposition made of the various commands in the action.

According to this plan, the division of General Stevens was to form the assaulting column against the enemy's works at Secessionville, and being formed in the utmost silence at his outer pickets, was to move forward at the first break of day upon the enemy's batteries, while the remainder of the troops, comprising Willliams's brigade and a part of my division, moving together from the camp at Grimball's, were to act as a support to Gen. Stevens, protecting his left and rear from an attack of the enemy's forces from that direction. So important was the duty assigned to this covering force deemed, and so convinced was Gen. Benham of the probability of an attack in that direction, that he ordered in the event of the repulse of Stevens, that the covering troops should not resume the assault.

The parts to be performed by the two columns were therefore well defined and distinctly understood. That of Gen. Stevens was to assault and carry the works at Secessionville: that composed of the troops of Gen. Williams's brigade and my division were to cover the assault, and protect it from attack on the left and rear. The organization of the left column having been left to me, I added to the brigade of Williams the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania regiment and one section of Hamilton's battery, and arranged the force as follows:

Acting Brig.-Gen. Williams's brigade.--1--Third Rhode Island, five companies; 2--Third New-Hampshire, ten companies; 3--Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania, six companies; 4--company E, Third artillery, one section.

Col. Chatfield's brigade.--5--Sixth Connecticut, two companies; 7--Forty-seventh New-York, eight companies.

Col. Welsh's brigade.--8--Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, six companies; 9--First New--York volunteer engineers, three companies; 10--artillery, two sections; 11--cavalry, two squadrons.

The remaining troops were left in camp and on picket duty, from which they could not be withdrawn without compromising the safety of the camps and depot.

Orders were issued to call the men at two A. M., and to have them in line for marching at three A. M.

All this was accomplished, and at the appointed time the column was in motion, and proceeded to and formed under cover of the woods about one mile in advance of our camp, to await information of the advance of Gen. Stevens's column, as had been agreed upon.

Prior to receiving such intelligence, however, a few stray shots on our right and to our front indicated that Gen. Stevens's command was advancing, and without waiting farther, the column was at once pushed forward.

By this time daylight was upon us, but as the morning was dark and cloudy, objects could not be clearly discovered to any considerable distance. I should remark here that just after or about the time I gave the order for the advance from camp, I was joined by General Benham, who assumed the command of the column, and who retained it during the action, leaving me responsible for my division only.

Moving rapidly to the front, I formed my command partly behind a hedge-row parallel to the front of the enemy's works, partly a little in rear, and brought up two pieces of artillery to open upon the enemy, and then proceeded to the front, to ascertain exactly the condition of affairs there.

I should have stated that soon after the column was put in motion from the wood where it had been halted, a messenger came from General Stevens to say that he was advancing; and before we had reached our position, a message from Gen. Stevens asking immediate support was answered by an order from Gen. Benham to Acting Brig.-Gen. Williams to report to General Stevens with his command. This was a change in the original programme, by taking from the covering column the brigade under Williams, and adding it to the assaulting column. On reaching the front, I found that the command of Gen. Stevens was falling back; that a portion had been formed behind the advance hedge-row; that the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania was behind the same hedge on the left of Gen. Stevens, and that the Third New-Hampshire and Third Rhode Island, which had been pushed well up to our left of the enemy's works and on the left of the marsh, were hotly engaged, and under a cross fire from the works and from a force of the enemy's artillery and infantry on our left, in a low growth of bushes which covered them from view. The performances of these regiments and their gallant bearing under a most destructive fire, will be detailed by their immediate commander, Gen. Williams, and I refer to them at all only with a view to their connection with the movements of the rest.

To silence the fire on our left, just referred to, and to be able to resist more promptly any attack from that point, a section of Hamilton's battery was brought into the field to the left of the marsh, and opened on the enemy; and the Forty-seventh regiment, of Col. Chatfield's brigade, was also brought forward, and formed in line of battle to the left, in face of the low growth of bushes to which I have alluded — a measure which was executed with the most admirable coolness and in perfect order. The fire of our battery soon silenced that of the enemy, which was not resumed. The other troops of my command maintained their original position through the entire engagement, except the volunteer engineers, who, by my direction, changed front forward to the left, to cover the approach in that direction.

Although not actually engaged with the enemy, the troops of my command were constantly under the fire of the enemy's artillery, which was at times very warm, and which was borne most unflinchingly by officers and men, who were anxious to be brought up face to face with the enemy. [211] The conduct of officers and men was deserving of all praise.

To Captain Hamilton, Third artillery, Chief of Artillery, of the left column, I desire to express my obligations for the judicious management of the artillery, which had much influence in subduing the fire of the enemy; and to the various members of my staff, Col. E. W. Serrell, volunteer engineers, Chief Engineer; Capt. C. W. Foster, Assistant Adjutant General; Capt. Goodrich, Assistant Quartermaster; Lieut. Frederick A. Sawyer, Acting Brigade Commissary ; Lieuts. T. L. Hayan and H. W. Hubbell, Aids-de-Camp; John Darlington, volunteer Aid-de-Camp, and Capt. J. M. Rice, of Gen. Hunter's staff, but serving with me as a volunteer Aid — I desire to acknowledge the prompt and satisfactory discharge of the various duties assigned them.

The troops of the entire column left the field in the most perfect order, the Forty fifth Pennsylvania regiment bringing up and covering the rear, as far as our front line of pickets, where it was halted and remained in position till all prospect of an attack on the part of the enemy had passed away.

The withdrawal from the field of both columns was ordered by Gen. Benham.

Accompanying this are the reports of Colonels Chatfield and Welsh, commanding brigades.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. Weight, Brigadier-General Commanding.

General Stevens's report.

headquarters Second division, N. D. D. S., James Island, S. C., June 19, 1862.
Brig.-Gen. H. G. Wright, Commanding United States Forces, James Island, S. C.:
sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division in the action of the sixteenth instant.

The instructions of Brig.-Gen. H. W. Benham, who commanded the forces, were to form my entire division before the break of day, in secrecy and silence, at the outer pickets; and at the break of day — say about four o'clock--to move rapidly upon the enemy's works at and about Secessionville, with a view of carrying them by a coup de main. In the attack, it was arranged that all the available forces of Wright's division and Williams's brigade were to move to its support as soon as the fire from my attack was heard. In the event the attack proved successful, the other operations of the day were to be determined by the circumstances of the occasion.

My command was all in order of battle at half-past 3 o'clock at the outer pickets, the head of my column being within rifle-range of the advanced position of the enemy. The First brigade, Col. Fenton commanding, consisting of the Eighth Michigan, Lieut.-Col. Frank Graves commanding, the Seventh Connecticut, Lieut.-Col. J. R. Hawley commanding, and the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, Lieut.-Col. M. Moore commanding, being in front, and the brigade of Col. Leasure, consisting of the Seventy-ninth Highlanders, Lieut.-Col. David Morrison commanding, the One Hundredth Pennsylvania, Major David A. Leckey commanding, and the Forty-sixth New-York, Col. Rudolph Rosa commanding, being in support. A storming party, consisting of companies C and F, commanded by Capts. Ralph Ely and Richard N. Doyle, of the Eighth Michigan regiment, was in advance, followed by company E, Serrell's Engineers, Captain Alfred F. Sears commanding. Four guns of the Connecticut light battery, Capt. A. P. Rockwell commanding, followed the First brigade, and company H, First Massachusetts cavalry, Capt. S. M. Sargeant commanding, followed in rear.

The strictest orders were given to maintain the most perfect silence, for each regiment to follow the preceding regiment within supporting distance, and to rely exclusively upon the bayonet in encountering the enemy, resorting to firing only in case of manifest necessity.

At the first break of day, or about four o'clock, it being a dark and cloudy morning, the entire command was in motion. My Aid-de-Camp, Lieut. Benjamin R. Lyons, with a negro guide, was at the head of the storming party. My Aid-de-Camp, Captain William T. Lusk, guided the

Twenty-eighth Massachusetts. The command pushed forward, surprised and captured the pickets at the house occupied by them, entered the fields beyond, and as they came within the effective range of grape and musketry, pushed forward into line of battle, and the entire Eighth Michigan regiment, at about one hundred yards from the enemy's works, the main body being preceded only about forty feet by the two storming companies, received his fire of grape, musketry and canister.

At this period of time the entire three regiments of Fenton's had passed the hedge, some five hundred yards from the enemy's works, and I was engaged directing the attacking and supporting force of Col. Leasure. They were ordered to keep to the left, and to push up to the work, regiment following regiment, as in the case of Col. Fenton.

Up to this period not a shot had been fired, although five men of the Eighth Michigan had been wounded by the pickets who were surprised and captured.

The firing now became general and continuous in front. The advance of the Eighth Michigan was on the parapet. The light battery of Rockwell was immediately pushed to the front, and took its position at the second hedge, and the Highlanders, led by Morrison, seeing the hot fire to which the Eighth Michigan was exposed, pushed forward at the double-quick, and moving from the left to the right of the field, entered a narrow opening, gained the parapet to the right of the point reached by the Eighth Michigan, and shot down the enemy whilst serving their guns.

The front on which the attack was made was narrow, not over two hundred yards in extent, stretching from the marsh on the one side to the marsh on the other. It was at the saddle of the peninsula, the ground narrowing very suddenly [212] at this point from our advance. On either hand were bushes on the edge of the marsh for some little distance. The whole space at the saddle was occupied by the enemy's work, impracticable abattis on either hand, with carefully prepared trous de loup, and in front a ditch seven feet deep, with a parapet of hard-packed earth, having a relief of some nine feet above the general surface of the ground. On the fort was mounted six guns, covering the field of our approach. The whole interior of the work was swept by fire from the rifle-pits and defences in the rear, and the flank of the work itself, and the bushes lining the marsh on either hand, were under the fire of riflemen and sharp-shooters, stationed in the woods and defences lying between the work and the village of Secessionville.

It will thus be seen that the whole front was scarcely enough to deploy a single regiment. Col. Fenton, in command of the First brigade, used every exertion to throw the Eighth Michigan as far to the right as possible, and to bring on, in support, the Seventh Connecticut and the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, but the terrible fire of grape and musketry from the enemy's works cut the two former regiments in two, the right going to the right and the left to the left, whither, finally, the whole of the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts took its position, and where they were joined without scarcely an interval of time, by the One Hundredth Pennsylvania and the Forty-sixth New-York, of Leasure's brigade. These regiments had been brought up with great promptness and energy by Col. Leasure, and the right of the One Hundredth had pushed up to and joined the Seventy-ninth in their charge.

It was during this brief period of less than one half hour — from five to half-past 5 o'clock--that the greater portion of the casualties occured. The Eighth Michigan made the most heroic exertions, and suffered the most terrible losses. Captains Pratt, Church, Guild, and Lieut. Cattrell, commanding companies, were killed, and Capts. Doyle and Lewis and Lieut. Bates, commanding companies, were wounded on or near the parapet of the work. My Aid-de-Camp, Lieut. Lyons, who led the storming party, and the first man to cross the ditch, was severely wounded on the berme of the work, and was obliged to retire. Of twenty-two officers of that regiment who went into action, twelve were killed and wounded.

Seeing that without supports and re-forming the line it was useless to continue the contest, I ordered the troops to be so formed on the hedge nearest the works, and the regiments that had suffered most, namely, the Eighth Michigan, the Seventy-ninth Highlanders, and the Seventh Connecticut, to be withdrawn to the second hedge, to be re-formed.

It was not until in execution of this order the line at the advanced hedge had been formed, and the regiments at the second hedge were forming, that Col. Williams's advance was to be seen to our left, and soon afterward his Aid-de-Camp, Lieut. Adams, reported to me for orders. My orders to Col. Williams were to maintain the position he had taken on that flank, and do the best, in concert with our attack, the circumstances of the ground permitted. The movement of Col. Williams was, in my judgment, the best thing that could be done, and he executed it in a manner worthy of all admiration.

Some time was occupied in establishing the whole line at the advanced hedge. The remains of two or three companies of the Eighth Michigan, and of several companies of the Highlanders never once abandoned their advanced positions on the right and left of the enemy's works, till ordered to do so at a subsequent period of the action, and the remainder of the regiments were gallantly led — that of the Eighth Michigan, by Capt. Ely, twice wounded, and the only officer of the storming party not killed or disabled, and that of the Highlanders by their gallant Lieut.-Col. Morrison, who, wounded in the head on the parapet, seemed only the more eager to lead on to the assault. The Seventh Connecticut also moved up in a beautiful and sustained line of battle; for it must be borne in mind there had not been the least panic or running from the field on the part of a single regiment. Commands, in consequence of the roughness of the ground, the unexpected abrupt narrowing of the front at the neck of the peninsula, the destructive fire of grape and musketry from the enemy, and the rapidity with which regiment followed regiment, were divided, became somewhat intermingled, and it was simply a necessity to disentangle and re-form them. Not a fugitive did I observe passing from the battle-field.

The battery which had been temporarily withdrawn to the road, was again advanced to the hedge, and opened a destructive fire upon the enemy. Of my entire command, all were thus advanced except the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, which had withdrawn, and now occupied a position on the left at the road.

The command was in excellent spirits and in a position enabling them clearly to discern the effect of our fire, and were prepared and eager to be led to the assault. The flank movement by Williams was having a very marked effect. I sent word to Brig.-Gen. Benham, commanding the forces, through his staff-officer, Capt. Elwell, that my troops were in line of battle, my guns in position at the hedge, and that I was preparing to move upon the enemy's works.

At this stage of the action, Williams's troops were withdrawn, and I learned from staff-officers, who reported to Gen. Benham in person, that they were withdrawn by his orders. I still maintained my advanced position. Nor did I withdraw a regiment till, by the orders of Gen. Benham, Williams's had been entirely withdrawn, and every regiment of Wright's, except the Ninety-seventh, had passed to the rear of the road. My troops were then withdrawn in good order, and were returned to their several encampments.

I must express my profound sense of the intrepid bearing and soldierly conduct of my brigade commanders, Colonels Leasure and Fenton, who did every thing that commanders could do [213] to lead their respective brigades to the attack; and it is mainly due to their exertions that their lines of battle were maintained throughout the action. Col. Fenton left a sick-bed to command his brigade, and the bold, well-sustained charge of the Eighth Michigan regiment was made under his direction, as was that of the Seventy-ninth Highlanders, led by Morrison, was under the direction of Col. Leasure. All which these officers have to say in commendation of their staff, I know from personal observation to be true.

To my own staff I am under the greatest obligations, and it is owing to the great harmony and concert of action between myself and brigade and regimental commanders, and their respective staffs, that exact information was had in regard to the field, and that the command was not longer exposed, without purpose, to a destructive fire. My Assistant Adjt.-Gen., Capt. Hazard Stevens, was in all parts of the field carrying my orders and bringing me information, to the great exposure of his life, as was Aid, Captain William T. Lusk and my Acting Aid, Lieut. O. M. Dearborn, Third New-Hampshire volunteers. Lieut. Lyons, my Junior Aid, led the storming column; was the first man to cross the ditch and make the ascent of the parapet. My Division Quartermaster, Lieut. Jefferson Justice, One Hundredth Pennsylvania volunteers, volunteered his most acceptable services at the outer pickets and served on my staff throughout the action. He communicated with me and Leasure's brigade, and I call attention to his services so conspicuous for their gallantry, and to the mention made of him in Col. Leasure's report. My Signal-Officers, Lieuts. Taffts and Howard, are worthy of honorable mention. Lieut. Taffts took his station in an advanced and exposed part of the field, kept constantly in communication with Lieut. Howard at the gunboats, and Lieut. E. H. Hickock, Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania at the battery, and was perfectly efficient and self-possessed under the heavy discharges of grape from the enemy. In the latter part of the action he carried my orders and aided in the formations and movements.

The staff-officers of Col. Leasure, were:

Lieut. S. G. Leasure, One Hundredth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Acting Assistant-Adjutant General. Lieut. Jefferson Justice.

The staff-officers of Col. Fenton, were:

Lieut. S. C. Brackett, Twenty-eighth regiment Massachusetts volunteers, Acting Assistant-Adjutant General.

Lieut. H. G. Belcher, Eighth Michigan, Aid-de-Camp.

Lieut. Jas. B. Fenton, Eighth Michigan, Aid-de-Camp.

Lieutenant Belcher, though early and severely wounded, continued actively on duty throughout the action, and was the last man to leave the field.

Capt. A. P. Rockwell, of the Connecticut battery, deserves particular mention for his gallant bearing and skilful handling of his guns on that field. His senior Lieutenant, S. P. Porter, was remarkable for his energy, daring and persistence throughout. Capt. Sears, following with his engineer company the storming party, did most excellent service, first at the advanced hedge, under circumstances of great exposure, preparing embrasures for Rockwell's battery, and afterward at the road, removing obstructions therefrom, and arranging the openings in the hedge both for infantry and artillery.

There was no opportunity for cavalry movements proper; but the orderlies furnished from Capt. Sargeant's company did most gallant service, and the remainder of his company served effectively as videttes and pickets. Two men of his company were severely wounded and two horses were killed.

The firing from the batteries at the point by company F, Third Rhode Island volunteers, Capt. Charles G. Strahan commanding, was commenced immediately after the unsuccessful charge of our troops had been made upon the works of the enemy. Although having every gun but one disabled very soon after the commencement of the action, the firing was conducted with great precision and regularity, nearly every shot taking effect in the fort, or in the woods in rear of the work, where the large force of the enemy were lying. The single gun was worked with as much rapidity as possible during the entire engagement, in the course of which one sergeant was killed.

The gunboats Ellen and Hall came into action at a later hour, but by their excellent range, obtained by the assistance of Signal-Officer Howard, who had been upon the Ellen for several successive days, did very great execution among the ranks of the enemy. Although the gunboats did not advance up the river as far as could have been desired, in order to give a more effective flanking fire upon the fort, still much credit is due them for the wonderful precision with which their fire was directed at such long range.

The whole force which went into action was as follows:

First Brigade, Col. Fenton Comd'g.Field Officers.Officers.Men.Total.
Eighth Regiment Michigan Volunteers,421509534
Seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers,718573598
Twenty-eighth Regiment Mass. Volunteers,618520544
Total First Brigade,17571,6021,676
Two companies of the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts were on fatigue-duty, and did not join their regiment.    
Second Brigade, Col. Leasure Comd'g.    
Seventy-ninth Highlanders, N. Y. Vols.,321450474
One Hundredth Regiment Pa. Vols.,318400421
Forty-sixth Regiment, N. Y. Vols.,319452474
Total Second Brigade,9581,3021,369
Rockwell's Artillery, 47377
Strahan's Artillery, 38588
Sears's Company of Engineers, 25961
Sargent's Company of Cavalry, 24850
Total Special Arms, 11265276
General Staff, 10616
Grand total,   3,387


Moreover, the Seventh Connecticut had been on very severe fatigue-duty the three previous nights. I desire, in this official report, to place on record my objections to these early morning attacks. They are justifiable, in my humble judgment, only under extraordinary circumstances. The troops get necessarily but little rest the night before, and they go to the work fatigued and excited. An attack at a more advanced period of the day I consider vastly preferable. These views I presented with all possible cogency and earnestness to Gen. Benham on the evening of the fifteenth--in stating my objections to his proposed attack at daylight on the morning of the sixteenth. I must confess that the coolness and mobility of all the troops engaged on the sixteenth instant surprised me. And I cannot but believe, had proper use been made of the artillery, guns from the navy, and our own batteries, fixed and field; had the position been gradually approached and carefully examined, and the attack made much later in the day, when our batteries had had their full effect, all which, you will recollect, were strongly urged by me upon Gen. Benham, the evening of the conference, the result might have been very different.

From the best information I can get, I am satisfied the force of the enemy on the Peninsula, at Secessionville and in the immediate defence of his works, was five regiments, or about three thousand effective men. It was the headquarters of his advanced forces on James Island, and was in command of a general officer.

The casualties in the action of the sixteenth were as follows:

First brigade, Colonel Wm. M. Fenton.

Officers.Enlisted Men.Officers.Enlisted Men.Wounded.Unwounded.Officers.Enlisted Men.Officers.Enlisted Men.
Officers.Enlisted Men.Officers.Enlisted Men.
Eighth Michigan,11189323011313518172185
Seventh Connecticut,2726403010347882
Twenty-eighth Mass.,0824014060636467

Second brigade, Colonel Dan. Leasure.

Forty-sixth New-York,1521500010933033
Seventy-ninth N. Y.,18551017090196104110
One Hundredth Pa.,1823001000634548

Special arms.

Company I, Third Rhode Island volunteers, Captain C. G. Strahan, one killed.

Company H, First Massachusetts cavalry, Capt L. M. Sargent, two wounded.

Company E, volunteer Engineers, Capt. A. P. Sears, one wounded.

Total of special arms, one killed and three wounded.

The missing are unquestionably killed, and the total loss is as follows:

First Brigade,4701522412029314334
Second Brigade,335911401012179191
Special Arms,010300054

Total loss, 32 officers; 497 men, or grand aggregate, 529 men.

The medical officers of the division were, and have been, unwearied in their exertions and attentions upon the wounded, both on the battlefield and in the hospital. The Medical Director of my division, Dr. George S. Kemble, is specially entitled to commendation for his good arrangements and activity.

I herewith submit the reports of brigade and regimental commanders, and of commanders of special arms. I call special attention to the mention therein of gallant conduct on the part of both officers and men. Where so much intrepidity and devotion were exhibited, I cannot do more than refer to the sub-reports, with the expression of my judgment that every case noted is well deserved.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your most obedient,

Isaac I. Stevens, Brigadier-General Commanding.

Colonel Fenton's official report.

headquarters First brigade, Second division, James Island, June 17, 1862.
Capt. Hazard Stevens, Assistant Adjutant-General Second Division:
sir: I have to report for the information of the Brigadier-General commanding Second Division, the part taken by this brigade in the attack of yesterday on the enemy's batteries.

Agreeably to orders the brigade was in readiness to move at one o'clock A. M., sixteenth, and at two o'clock in line, moved to the two houses.

After specific orders were received from Brig.-Gen. Stevens, who advanced with us, and at the head of the line, the brigade was put in motion by the right flank in perfect quiet and silence, Lieut. Lyon, Aid to Gen. Stevens, in advance with guide. First, two companies, C, Capt. Ely, and H, Capt. Doyle, of the Eighth Michigan volunteers, for the advance skirmishers and attacking party; second, the remaining companies of the Eighth Michigan, under command of Lieut.-Col. Graves; third, Seventh Connecticut volunteers, Lieut.-Col. Hawley, followed by a section of the Connecticut battery; fourth, Twenty-eighth Massachusetts volunteers, Lieut.-Colonel Moore. On passing the house beyond the marsh, [215] the advance was fired on by the enemy's pickets, and two at least of company H, Eighth Michigan, wounded. Silence was still preserved, no shots returned, but the four men of the enemy's pickets were captured and sent to the rear. The two advance companies were deployed into line beyond the hedge, and marched toward the enemy's works, followed by the Eighth Michigan, which came up into line on the march. Advancing with this regiment, as they formed into line in open field, in view of the enemy's works, and observing as well as practicable his position, I deemed it desirable to gain ground to the right, for the purpose of flanking his left in the assaults, and advancing the other regiments into position for effective fire on his infantry, supporting their works, and ordered an oblique march, which was executed promptly and in good order. I then despatched Lieut. Belcher, Acting Aid, to bring up the Seventh Connecticut, to form on the left of the Eighth Michigan, and Lieut. Brackett, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, to bring up the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts to the support of the two former, taking my position in the front and centre, to receive and direct the other regiments as they advanced.

The order not to fire but use the bayonet, was obeyed, and the advance companies reached the parapet of the works, at the angle on our right, and in front, engaging the enemy at the point of the bayonet. They were closely followed by the remaining companies of the regiment. During our advance, the enemy opened upon our lines an exceedingly destructive fire of grape, canister and musketry, and yet the regiment pushed on as veterans, divided only to the right and left by a sweeping torrent from the enemy's main gun in front. This brought a portion of the regiment to the left, near the tower or look-out, and a brisk fire of musketry was soon opened on both sides. The enemy's fire proved so galling and destructive, that our troops on the parapet were obliged to retire under its cover, and that of the ditch and slope on our right at the marsh, and slope and trees on our left. They maintained their position partially covered, doing good execution as sharp-shooters. Further details, and honorable mention of gallant officers, will be found in Lieut.-Col. Graves' report.

The Seventh Connecticut volunteers, Lieut.-Col. Hawley, formed into line as they advanced, reaching a point in the open field, in front of the tower, with their left resting in the bushes skirting the marsh, when I ordered their march by the right flank across the field, and up to the support of the troops on the right. I personally directed the movement, which was executed in good order under a continued shower of grape and canister, as well as musketry, on nearing the work.

In the mean time, one section of the Connecticut battery had opened on the enemy from our left, and the march of this regiment at first was between two fires. I refer for further particulars of the action of this regiment, and honorable mention of names, to the report of Lieut-Col. Hawley Commanding.

The Twenty-eighth Massachusetts volunteers filed through the first hedge, and came rapidly up, after the advance of artillery which preceded them, forming column of companies and then coming into line, and, arriving near the Seventh Connecticut, filed up to the left by the flank. For a short time the left of the two regiments were clustered together in the bushes, but the march of the Seventh Connecticut cleared them. The Twenty-eighth then filed up to the obstructions, a short distance from the enemy's intrenchments, near the tower, opening fire upon them. Lieut.-Col. Moore's report embraces further particulars of the action of this regiment, to which I respectfully refer. All the regiments behaved well, subjected as they were to the most galling and raking fire until they retired.

The storm of grape and canister, as well as musketry, continuing, and many of our officers and men being disabled, orders were received to withdraw the troops. My command was then withdrawn and re-formed behind the main hedge, from which an advance was again made to the cover of a ditch or second hedge, in support of a field-battery, which was pushed forward. In the woods on our right, near the angle of the Fort, were posted some of the enemy's sharp-shooters. They were also in rifle-pits, and under cover in the rear as well as in the house, which was filled with them. From these and other covers in and about the fort, and on its right, a constant fire of musketry was kept up by the enemy, who were in considerable force. The Second brigade of the Second division was promptly pushed forward to our support, and from all accessible points the enemy were vigorously replied to. I have no doubt they suffered a severe loss of killed and wounded. From the enemy's floating-battery or hulk, to our right and front, at least four shots were fired. When the order to retire was given, I sent Lieut. Fenton, Acting Aid, to our extreme right and front, to recall the men there. At this time he found them near the angle of the Fort, and directed them to fall back, which was done by most of the troops, but after the regiments were re-forming behind the hedge, one hundred or more of the Eighth Michigan still remained at the angle, and were recalled by Lieut. Belcher, who rode over the field to bring in all who were able to move. The field of battle was furrowed across with cotton ridges, and many of the men lay there loading and firing as deliberately as though on their hunting-grounds at home. All the horses connected with my command were either killed or Wounded, and all my aids and orderlies hit in some way. During the engagement the Eighth Michigan's colors were carried on to the parapet, and after the men first withdrew were unfurled to protect them from shots of friends in the rear.

While the fire was hottest, and during the day's action, through the efficient attention of Surgeon Francis Bacon, and Assistant Horace [216] Porter, of the Seventh Connecticut, Surgeon Willson, of the Eighth Michigan, and Surgeon Connell, and Assistant Snow, of the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts volunteers, with their respective corps, speedy relief was afforded to the wounded who were accessible. Orders having been given to that effect, about nine o'clock A. M. this command was withdrawn, and returned to camp in good order.

The conduct of all the officers of this command, who came under my notice, was gallant without exception. The men behaved with admirable bravery and coolness. I regret to report the heavy loss in this command, which is not yet precisely ascertained, but as last reported amounts to three hundred and forty-one killed, wounded, and missing, of which one hundred and eighty-two are reported in the Eighth Michigan volunteers, eighty-five in the Seventh Connecticut, and seventy-four in the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts.

I will transmit, at the earliest practicable moment, a correct list of names, etc., which is in preparation. Lieut. Brackett, Assistant Adjutant-General, Lieuts. Belcher and Fenton, Acting Aids, were active and efficient. Lieut. Belcher was wounded slightly, as he supposed at the time, and continued through the entire affair on duty, although, on his return to quarters, he had a ball extracted from his shoulder. His wound, however, is not dangerous.

The forces engaged were as follows:

Regiments.Field and Staff-Officers.Line-Officers.Rank and File.
Eighth Michigan,421509
Seventh Connecticut,718573
Twenty-eighth Massachusetts,2618520

Accompanying this are copies of reports of regimental commanders, and a rough sketch of the scene of action, not claimed to be entirely correct, but as near as could be made from the view had under fire on the field of battle.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Wm. M. Fenton, Col. Eighth Michigan Volunteers, Commanding First Brigade.

Report of Colonel Leasure.

headquarters Second brigade, Second division, N. D. D. S. James Island, S. C., June 17, 1862.
Captain: The undersigned respectfully reports that, pursuant to orders from Division Headquarters, the Seventy-ninth New-York volunteers, and that portion of the One Hundredth regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, not on advanced picket-duty, were formed into line, and at 1.20 o'clock A. M. started for the rendezvous of the brigade at the headquarters of the First brigade, where the remaining regiment, the Forty-sixth New-York volunteers, joined, and the troops moved toward the enemy's works in good order and the most profound silence. About four o'clock, the head of the column, marching by the flank, on a double-quick for the last half-mile, arrived opposite the works of the enemy, about a mile in front of them, with an open field, traversed by two hedges, formed by cutting deep ditches on either side of an embankment, six feet in height.

The First brigade, under Colonel Fenton, had meanwhile advanced upon the works, and the fort had opened fire. I now received the order from the Brigadier-General commanding the division, to form the column to support the attack of Colonel Fenton. I immediately ordered the regiment on the right — the Seventy-ninth New-York volunteers--into line of battle, and when about two companies on its right had got into line, an urgent message came from Col. Fenton to hasten to his support, and Gen. Stevens gave me the order to advance at a double-quick, and the companies then in line started off at that step, which made it extremely difficult for the left to get into line, which, indeed, it never did, until it reached the fort, where the right, or about two companies of the right, under charge of Lieut.-Col. Morrison's command, gained a position alongside of, and upon the embankment; the left, having encountered a perfect storm of grape and canister, was obliged to seek shelter either by obliquing to the left under cover of a small ravine, or by dropping among the cotton ridges in front of the fort, where they kept up a steady fire of musketry upon the enemy's gunners.

Immediately following the advance of the Seventy-ninth New-York regiment, the One Hundredth Pennsylvania regiment, under command of Major Leckey, formed while marching at a double-quick to support the advance of the Seventy-ninth New-York regiment. The line of battle of the One Hundredth was so formed as to cover with its right that portion of the left of the Seventy-ninth which I saw was not likely to perfect its formation before reaching the breastworks. The Forty-sixth New-York, Col. Rosa commanding, was formed in like manner to cover the left of the One Hundredth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, thus forming three lines of battle in echelon. Pending these movements of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania and the Forty-sixth New-York regiments, I advanced to hasten up the left of the Seventy-ninth New-York, and lead the assault in person.

On arriving at the intrenchment or hedge, three hundred yards in front of the fort, I found I could not get my horse over, and dismounting, as did also my Assistant Adjutant-General, Lieut. Leasure, we proceeded on foot. At this point, together with the left wing of the Seventy-ninth New-York, we entered the range of a perfect storm of grape, canister, nails, broken glass, and pieces of chains, fired from three very large pieces in the fort, which completely swept every foot of ground within the range, and either cut the men down or drove them to the shelter of the ravine on the left.

I now turned to look after and lead up the One Hundredth Pennsylvania regiment, and found its centre just entering the fatal line of fire which completely cut it in two; and the right, under Major Leckey, obliqued to the right, and advanced to the support of the right of the Seventy-ninth New-York, and many of the men reached the [217] foot of the embankment, and some succeeded in mounting it with the few brave men of the Seventy-ninth who were there, with a portion of the Eighth Michigan. It was here that Lieut.-Col. Morrison was wounded, and many of the Seventy-ninth either killed or wounded, as were also some of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania. The principal casualties to the Seventy-ninth New-York occurred at this point from the enemy's musketry; while the principal casualties to the One Hundredth Pennsylvania occurred during the few minutes that the centre of the regiment was under the fire of the guns of the fort, throwing every conceivable kind of missile, and that portion of the left which remained with a portion of the left of the Seventy-ninth New-York, under partial cover of the ravine before spoken of.

The One Hundredth Pennsylvania volunteers went into battle a fragmentary command. Three hundred and odd privates, with the necessary officers, were on the advanced picket-posts, not more than fifty of whom could rejoin before we went into battle. The previous morning report, as shown by Major Leckey's report, verified by the official report, shows five hundred and eighty-three privates present for duty. This would leave two hundred and eighty-three privates to go to battle, added to which the fragmentary portions of companies that were able to join from the pickets, amounting to not more than fifty men, would make the whole number of that command in battle not more than four hundred men, with the necessary complement of officers, and of these one hundred and thirty men who joined from pickets, three companies did not arrive in time to join their regiment till it was under the thickest of the fire, when they joined on the left, and suffered severely. It was of these companies that Lieut. Morrow was mortally, and Lieuts. Blair and Gilliland seriously wounded.

During the formation of the column of attack one mile from the fort, the Forty-sixth New-York volunteers, by order of Gen. Stevens, had proceeded to the left along the road leading toward Secessionville, to form, if possible, a junction with Gen. Wright's troops on that side; but on my plan of advance being represented by my Assistant Adjutant-General, the General directed that the regiment should be recalled and support the One Hundredth Pennsylvania regiment. This caused some delay, which was no disadvantage, under the circumstances, as it enabled that corps to form a good line of battle, which it did, and marched steadily to the front, until ordered to halt and remain in reserve. This regiment afterward advanced and took its position in the brigade, when it was rallied at the hedge, three hundred yards in front of the fort.

As soon as the advance had been checked it was found impracticable for the few troops on the embankment to take the fort. Capt. Stevens, as I am informed, ordered them to fall back and let the artillery play upon the works, which was accordingly done in very good order. Meantime about two companies of the One Hundredth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers had rallied to their colors at the hedge, three hundred yards in front of the fort, and on these, with the assistance of Lieut. Leasure, Assistant Adjutant-General, and Lieut. Justice, Acting Post and Division Quartermaster, I soon succeeded in rallying the whole of my command, and formed in regular order for attack where we lay, till orders came to fall back to the hedge in the rear, which we did in good order, bringing off our wounded, but leaving our dead.

During the battle two of my mounted orderlies were wounded, and one had his horse shot under him. I may be permitted to report further, that at the time I arrived in front of the hedge near the fort, I saw nothing of any part of the supporting regiments of the First Brigade, between the advancing Highlanders and the fort, and only a portion of the Eighth Michigan, who led the attack in front of the fort, that regiment having already been more than decimated by the murderous fire through which we all had to pass. After I had formed my command behind the hedge ready to move again to the attack, I rode down to the troops lying back half a mile in reserve, behind a hedge where I had myself rallied not half an hour before, and begged them for God's sake to come up to the front and support me in a charge, and was very coolly told that those troops did not belong to my division, and could not either obey my orders or Gen. Stevens's. Of course, this was a very distant support; and I did not feel at liberty to take the responsibility of acting without the order of Gen. Stevens.

The troops under my command behaved with much intrepidity and coolness, and did not shrink from exposing themselves, as the list of casualties will show, and did not at any time evince any tendency to panic, though to maintain a position for two and a half hours under a constant stream of fire, was an affair calculated to try the disposition of soldiers pretty severely.

Accompanying this report please find the reports of the several regimental commanders, together with a list of their casualties.

I must return to the officers of the several regiments my thanks for their steadiness and coolness, and for their ready and prompt obedience to my orders. Lieut. S. George Leasure, Assistant Adjutant-General, and Lieut. Jefferson Justice, Quartermaster of the One Hundredth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, deserve my marked approbation for most effective assistance, and for setting an example of coolness and disregard of personal danger, that aided materially in preserving coolness and intrepidity throughout the command. All of which is respectfully reported.

Daniel Leasure, Colonel Commanding Brigade. hazard Stevens, Captain and Ass't Adj.-Gen., Second Division, N. D.D. S.

Colonel Williams's report.

headquarters Hilton head, July 18, 1862.
To His Excellency Gov. Sprague, Providence, R. I.:
Governor: I have the honor to enclose herewith the official copy of Major Edwin Metcalf's [218] report of the part taken by his battalion, Third Rhode Island artillery, in the battle of Secessionville, James Island, S. C., June 16th, 1862. Major Metcalf's command were thrown forward into the position of which he first speaks, with the Third New-Hampshire regiment, and supported by the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania and Forty-seventh New-York regiments, for the purpose of keeping down the fire of the enemy's main work, while Gen. Stevens made his second advance. This was so well done by the Third New-Hampshire regiment, and by Major Metcalf's battalion while with the New-Hampshire regiment, that the enemy were wholly unable to man their guns, and Gen. Stevens succeeded in bringing forward his command to a small embankment about four hundred yards of the work, without the loss, I believe, of a man, while crossing a large open space before reaching the embankment.

I desire to express to your Excellency my extreme admiration of the courage and soldierly conduct of Major Metcalf's battalion, and particularly of the Major himself. It is my belief that no officers or men could have behaved better under fire than they did, and certainly no officer could have led his command with more skill or bravery than did Major Metcalf.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Robert Williams, Col. First Mass. Cavalry, Commanding Post.

Major Metcalf's report.

James Island, S. C., June 18, 1862.
Lieutenant: I have the honor to report, that in accordance with instructions received in the evening of the fifteenth instant, from the Acting Brigadier--General Commanding First division, headquarters brigade, my battalion was held in readiness to move at three o'clock on the morning of the sixteenth, company I (Capt. Strahan) being detailed for duty at the battery in advance of the First brigade, and a detachment under Lieut. Metcalf, of company K, remaining in charge of the battery at this point. My command comprised but five companies, B, E, F, H, and K, numbering three hundred and sixty enlisted men, with two field, three staff, and fourteen company-officers.

Leading the brigade, three companies, B, F, and K, of my battalion were deployed as skirmishers, under the direction of Major Sisson, at the entrance to the wood covering the approach to the rebel battery. The other companies marched steadily to the front, halting in a position to support the troops of the First brigade, who had fallen back, and being joined at this point by the parties thrown out as skirmishers.

After again advancing in line, under orders to support the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania volunteers, the battalion was ordered to take position on the right of the Third regiment New-Hampshire volunteers, and for this purpose crossed the marshy ground flanking the enemy's battery. We had hardly formed in line of battle and commenced firing, when an order came to capture a field-battery in their rear, which was firing with fatal effect on the Third New-Hampshire regiment. The battalion was immediately ordered to about-face and advance upon the thicket behind which the enemy's field-guns were concealed. In effecting this object we encountered a galling fire from the enemy's sharp-shooters in the thickets at our front and left, and many were wounded in our ranks, but all pressed forward, the men cheering and firing with spirit.

I urged them into the cover of the woods as rapidly as possible, and with great difficulty they forced their way in, encountering small parties of rebels, many of whom were shot and bayoneted, one prisoner being secured. A few of my men succeeded in reaching the inner edge of the thicket and gaining sight of the field-guns, three in number, without horses, and supported apparently by only two or three companies of infantry. I felt confident of securing them, but the Third New-Hampshire regiment having fallen back, I deemed it my duty to order my men to retire, which they did in good order, but slowly and reluctantly, bringing off such of our dead and wounded as could be seen on our way.

Feeling my utter want of experience, I have great hesitation in speaking of the conduct of those under my command, some of whom were not, like myself, for the first time under fire. I keenly appreciate the honor of leading such men into battle, and cannot too highly praise their coolness, steadiness, and courage. If any faltered, I was spared the shame of seeing it, where all did their duty so well. I mention a few whose bearing was conspicuous, without detracting from the merits of others.

Major H. T. Sisson deserves much credit for his successful management of the skirmishers during the advance, and for his constant efforts to aid me in carrying out the various orders received in the course of the morning.

I take great pleasure in speaking of the Adjutant of the battalion, First Lieut. J. Lanahan, Co. I, always prompt and cool, and sustaining me in every difficulty by his good judgment and long experience as a soldier. First Lieut. A. E. Green, commanding Co. B, was especially energetic and active. Second Lieut. E. S. Bartholemew, Co. E, nobly proved himself deserving the commission he had received since our departure from Hilton Head, falling mortally wounded while cheering on his men into the thicket from which the enemy so severely annoyed us. Capt. H. Rogers, Jr., and First Lieut. C. R. Brayton, of Co. H, were untiring in their exertions, and zealously supported me. First Lieut. A. W. Colwell, of Co. F, and Second Lieut. D. B. Churchill, of Co. K, particularly attracted my notice by their coolness and energy.

I am pleased to name First Sergeant G. W. Green and Sergeant J. B. Batchellee, of Co. B, First Sergeant 0. A. Thompson, of Co. E, and First Sergeant W. Wheeler, Jr., of Co. K, as distinguished for gallant conduct. I shall feel justified in recommending them to the Governor of Rhode Island for promotion. [219]

It is with a bitter feeling of regret, though with no sense of shame, that I have to report the serious loss sustained by my battalion. One sergeant, six privates, killed; two officers, four corporals, twenty-four privates, wounded; one corporal, seven privates, missing; total, forty-five.

. . . . . .

I have the honor to be, Lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Edwin Metcalf, Major Command'g Second Battalion, Third Regt. R. I. Artillery. To Lieut. Channing Clapp, A. A. A. General.

General Stevens's order.

headquarters Second division, Northern District, Department of the South, James Island, S. C., June 18, 1862.
General order No. 26.

The Brigadier-General commanding the Second division, in communicating to his command the thanks of the Commanding General, for the good conduct of the troops in the action of the sixteenth inst., desires to express his own profound sense of their valor, conduct and heroism.

I. Men of the Second division! You displayed in the attack on the fortified position of the enemy at Secessionville, on the sixteenth inst., the highest qualities of veteran troops. You formed in silence and secrecy in the darkness of the night. You moved forward in perfect order at the earliest dawn, and surprised and captured the enemy's pickets. You were ordered not to fire, but to push forward and use the bayonet. You obeyed the order. You formed in line of battle under a terrible and murderous fire of grape, canister and musketry. You pushed to the ditch and abattis of the work from right to left. Parties from the leading regiments of your two brigades, the Eighth Michigan and the Seventy-ninth Highlanders, mounted and were shot down on the parapet, officers and men. Those two regiments especially covered themselves with glory, and their fearful casualties show the hot work in which you were engaged. Two fifths of the Eighth Michigan and nearly one quarter of the Seventy-ninth Highlanders were struck down either killed or wounded; and nearly all the remaining regiments--One Hundredth Pennsylvania, Seventh Connecticut, Forty-sixth New-York, and Twenty-eighth Massachusetts--had a large number of casualties.

II. Notwithstanding these fearful losses you were not discouraged. Some of you were temporarily withdrawn from the murderous fire of the enemy. You retired in order of battle, and you returned to the attack in order of battle. Some held, throughout the action, the advanced position at the abattis and ditch of the work. This position was held by you unflinchingly and confidently. And at this very hedge the light battery of Rockwell threw its effective fire upon the enemy.

III. In obedience to orders from superior authority you all finally returned in good order and in line of battle, and the enemy did not venture to interrupt you.

IV. Men of the Second division! You covered yourselves with glory on that gory field. Your intrepid and able brigade commanders, Leasure and Fenton, in the hottest of the thick fight; your regimental commanders, like the heroic Morrison, who, shot through the head on the parapet, again led his men to the assault, eager to avenge his wounds; at all points rallying and cheering on their men, and officers and men alike gave signal proof of their devotion to duty and their country. In congratulating his comrades on their heroic valor and constancy on that terrible field, the Commanding General of the division has not words to express his and your grief at the sacrifices that have been made. Our best and truest men now sleep the sleep that knows no waking. Their dead bodies lay on the enemy's parapet. Church, Pratt, Cottrel, Guild, Morrow, Horton, Hitchcock, and many other gallant and noble men we shall see no more.

Honor therefore, all honor to you, men of the Second division. You have shown what you will do when you shall have the proper opportunity. You did not seize the fort, because it was simply impossible, and known now to be impossible by the reconnaissance referred to in the orders of thanks of the Commanding General.

By order of

Brigadier-General Stevens. hazard Stevens, Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

Charleston Mercury account.

Charleston, June 18, 1862.
Secessionville is a small village, the summer retreat of a few of the James Island planters. It is on the eastern side of the island, on a high plot of land on a bold creek, which winds through the marshes between James, or Morris, or (Solly) Island, and empties into the Stono River, near its mouth. This creek runs immediately up to Secessionville. On the west of the village, a short shallow creek makes its way toward the waters of Charleston Bay. Thus a tongue of land is formed between the two creeks. It is connected with the body of the land by a narrow neck of thirty yards width, some four or five hundred yards south of Secessionville. Here Lamar's battery is located across the high land, and flanked on each side by marsh and the creeks. It is a simple earthwork, heavily constructed, having a plain face, with an obtuse angle at each side. It faces south, in the direction of Battery Island, Legare's, River's and Grimball's plantations, on the Stono River, which is about two miles off. From this point the cleared high land stretches out toward the Stono River, like the top of a funnel, for the distance of near a mile, interrupted only by the division lines between fields, hedges and ditches. These fields are covered with weeds three feet high. The edges of the high land and marsh are skirted with brushwood and sea myrtles. In the background are [220] patches of wood between these fields and the Stono. On the borders of these woods, three batteries of the enemy are located; and besides these land batteries, the gunboats, approaching by way of the Secessionville Creek, can open fire as they please. For the last fortnight, a fight at long taw has been going on, at intervals, between the Secessionville battery and the guns of the enemy, and our artillerymen have been much fagged by their watching and exertions. They have done much to keep the foe in check.

On Sunday night, two companies, consisting of the Charleston light infantry, from the Charleston battalion, under Capt. T. Y. Simons, and company A, Capt. Smart, from Smith's battalion, were thrown out half a mile in front of the work. The rest of the men of these two battalions of infantry, stationed at Secessionville to support the battery, were laboriously occupied during the night. The two companies of Lamar's South-Carolina volunteer artillery--Reid's and Keitt's — were also engaged in labor until a half-hour of dawn, when they were ordered by Col. Lamar to take a nap. At break of day, the pickets came running in just before the advancing foe. When Col. Lamar was notified and looked out from the work he was to defend, the enemy had approached to within four hundred yards. But twenty-five of the garrison were awake. It was a complete surprise, and nothing but the nerve, promptitude and energy of the officers, especially the commanding officer, saved the battery from easy capture. The first round was fired when the column was within thirty paces of the guns. It was directed by Col. Lamar himself. The shot burst through the closed ranks with great havoc, and the foe soon retired. The wearied men, startled by the sound, or aroused by shakes or bayonet-punches from their officers, sprang to their guns. The two infantry battalions rushed to their quarters for their weapons, formed under their officers, and came to the assistance of the gunners. Three land-batteries, two sections of field-artillery, and three gunboats, began to open fire upon the work.

The second charge of the enemy was made and repulsed with slaughter. And again the third. The animated fire from our riflemen, cooperating with the deadly discharge of grape and canister, swept the field in front, and cut down the skirmishers, who, deploying on the left flank under cover of some bushes, had come up to the very work at that angle. In these successful efforts, which occurred at five o'clock in the morning, Col. Lamar fell from the effect of a Minie-ball striking him through the lower part of the ear, and running around the neck under the skin. To his cool courage and energy, in the early part of the action, is due the preservation of the position, under circumstances of great peril, from the surprise. His brave example and personal efforts greatly inspired his command. After Col. Lamar was wounded, he was unable to stand, from his great loss of blood, and was carried off as soon as practicable. His place in the battery was filled by that able, accomplished and indefatigable officer of the regular artillery, Lieut.-Col. P. M. Wagner--being the next officer in rank present — as Col. Gailliard had been stationed at the post with his battalion for some time, and had done good service. Col. Wagner, who was only temporarily there, requested him to assume command, adding that he would aid him and take charge of the battery. This he did until the conclusion of the fight, between eight and nine o'clock, sustaining a terrible flank fire, and directing the gunnery with great coolness and precision.

Upon failing to storm the works, or flank it on the left or eastward side, the enemy drew off and came up on the right flank on the other side of the small creek, and north to the marsh. Here, at the short distance of about one hundred and fifty yards, three regiments, deploying in line of battle, and partially covered by a small growth of underbrush, poured upon the gunners of the work, and upon the two batteries of infantry drawn up facing them across the marsh, a continuous and deadly fire. The gun-carriages were torn and perforated by many balls. Many of our men fell at the guns and along the line forward, to the rearward of the battery and its right flank. The contest was very unequal and trying. It raged for some time, but at this critical juncture, the Louisiana batteries came up gallantly at the double-quick, under its skilful officer, Lieut.-Col. McHenry. By the guidance of Major Hudson, of Smith's battalion, it formed on the right of that corps, facing the marsh. The reinforcement and its galling fire disheartened the foe. Capt. Boyce, with one gun of light artillery, began to play on his rear. He began to fall back, fairly beaten off. While the struggle was progressing, immediately on the rear right flank of the battery against these three regiments, a formidable force of the foe attempted, by passing further out to the west, to gain the rear of our position. But in skirting a wood, they came upon the advancing lines of the Eutaw regiment, Col. Simonton, who had come two miles. Declaring they were friends, not to shoot, they came close up and fired into our men, killing many. But the response they got was cutting. The wood edge was strewn with the dying and dead. Thirty or forty bodies were picked up here. The movement was foiled. Nothing was left but retreat from every portion of the field.

It was a bloody fight, fought against odds by exhausted men, without preparation. It was a signal victory of Southern patriots over the murderous invaders of the soil. The five regiments attacking are said to be the Seventy-ninth New-York (Highlanders) the Eighth Michigan, one from Massachusetts, a New-Hampshire and Connecticut regiments. But for the distance of our troops and the brief time occupied in the action, together with obstructions in the road, preventing the passage of light artillery to the enemy's rear, their whole force might perhaps have been taken or cut up. From the account of prisoners, who assert that there were nine United States regiments out that morning, it is probable that four [221] regiments were held in reserve to support the five engaged, and to protect their retreat.

Richmond Dispatch account.

Charleston, June 20, 1862.
The late battle in the vicinity of this city was a far more brilliant and important affair than at first supposed. The enemy were so badly beaten that they have not fired a shot from their gunboats or batteries since, though previous to the fight they kept up a constant cannonade, day and night. Considering the number of troops engaged on our side, and the length and fierceness of the combat, the battle is one of the most remarkable of the war. The rout of the invaders was complete. They abandoned their dead, and fled in wild confusion to their gunboats. Two of their regiments, the Seventy-ninth New-York (Highlanders,) and one from Michigan, fought well. One company of the former penetrated as far as our breastworks, and its captain was killed while mounting the ramparts. The enemy had five regiments in the fight.

Our forces engaged consisted of three companies of South-Carolina artillery--the Charleston battalion, which numbered only one hundred and fifty men; the Eutaw battalion, four hundred strong, and Col. McEnery's Louisiana battalion. Other regiments came to the relief of these troops, but most of the fighting was already over. It will be seen, therefore, that the enemy outnumbered us two or three to one. Their greatest loss was occasioned in attempting to storm our intrenchments, behind which Col. Lamar's artillery was stationed. Col. Lamar was the hero of the battle. He was severely wounded. Col. McEnery also deserves great praise. He led his Louisianians fearlessly into the fight with the watchword: “Remember Butler.”

Every day's exploration of the surrounding woods reveals additional dead of the enemy. It has been ascertained that a body of the Federals attempted to cross a swamp, where many of them stuck fast in the mud, and were killed and wounded by our shells. Finally the tide came up, and drowned both dead and wounded. Two hundred and fifty of the enemy have already been buried by our troops, and fifty additional dead bodies were discovered yesterday. The total loss of the enemy in the battle cannot be far from--

Killed and left on the field,300
Taken prisoners,130
Wounded and dead carried off of the field, estimated at700
Total loss of the enemy,1430

The confederate loss in this glorious victory is:

Total confederate loss,154

The enemy's attack was a surprise to our troops. Had a competent confederate general been on the field, and some plan of action arranged, the whole of the enemy's attacking force might have been cut off. As it was, the greater part of the battle was fought by the rank and file “on their own hook.” We have four confederate generals in this quarter, but not one was in command. To the rank and file, then, be the glory given of having achieved one of the most brilliant successes of the war. If the confederate government is looking for material for more brigadier-generals, let promotion fall upon the lionhearted Col. Lamar, who defended the intrenchments, and the gallant and chivalrous McEnery, who, like Blucher, came into the field just in the nick of time.

Since the battle, the enemy have been intrenching themselves silently at the lower end of James Island. As their plan of assault has proved impracticable, it is presumed they will be contented hereafter to advance by regular approaches — that is, if they are permitted to do so. Prisoners state that there are nine Federal regiments on the island, and that Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, of Oregon, (the chairman of the Breckinridge National Committee in the last Presidential campaign,) is in command. This man Stevens professed to be an ardent pro-slavery man before the war, and was here in Charleston, enjoying its hospitalities, only two years ago.

There is much dissatisfaction here with the military authorities of the department, and a strong wish expressed for a change in the commanding officers. The South-Carolina troops are anxious to defend Charleston, and will do so successfully if they are permitted to. A report that we were to have the great services of Beauregard spread universal joy omong the troops. If, however, we cannot have Beauregard, we would be glad to get Huger, Magruder, Hill of North-Carolina, Whiting, Gregg, Joseph R. Anderson, or any other first-class general. A change of some kind is necessary to restore confidence to the troops and people.

1 see Gen. Benham's narrative, sup. Rebellion record.

2 Two companies were on fatigue-duty.

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