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Doc. 45.-the defence of Charleston, S. C.1

Message of Jefferson Davis,

Richmond, Va., Feb. 12, 1864.
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several additional “reports of General Beauregard, connected with the defence of Charleston.”

Letter of the Secretary of War.

Confederate States of America, War Department, Richmond, Va., February 10, 1864.
To the President of the Confederate States:
Sir: In response to a resolution of the House of Representatives, calling for “the reports of General Beauregard, connected with the defence of Charleston, which have not hitherto been published,” I have the honor to forward the following, which cover all the periods reported, except those embraced in such reports as have already been transmitted to Congress:

1. Report of the examination of Charleston harbor, by the Spanish consul, after attack by Confederate iron-clads:

2. Report of the action of the seventh of April, 1863, between the abolition iron-clads and the forts and batteries in Charleston harbor.

3. Reports of Brigadier-Generals Ripley and Taliaferro of operations from the eighth to the twentieth of July, 1863, inclusive.

4. Report of operations from the first to the twentieth August, inclusive.

5. Report of operations from the twenty-first to the thirty-first August, inclusive.

6. Reports of the evacuation of Morris Island.

7. Major Elliott's report of night assault on Fort Sumter.

I am, Sir, respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

James A. Seddon, Secretary of War.

Report of the examination of Charleston harbor by the Spanish Consul, after attack by Con Federate iron-clads.

Spanks Consulate, Charleston, February 1st, 1863.
Mr. Thomas Jordan, Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff of the Department South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida:
my dear Sir: I take pleasure in replying to [518] your communication of the thirty-first of January last, respecting the notification of the raising of the blockade at Charleston by the naval force of the Confederate States.

I should inform you, that I remitted a copy of the same communication to His Excellency the Minister Plenipotentiary at Washington. I thank you for your kind offer in placing a steamer at my disposal, so that I may go and satisfy myself as to the condition of the port. Having gone out in company with the French consul, and arrived at the point where the Confederate naval forces were, we discovered three steamers and a pilot boat returning. I must also mention that the British consul at this port manifested to me verbally, that some time subsequent to this naval combat, not a single blockading vessel was in sight.

I avail myself of this opportunity to offer you my sincere respects.

Munoz De Moncada, Spanish Consul.

General Beauregard's report of the action of 7th of April, 1863.

headquarters Department South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Charleston, S. C., May 24, 1883.
General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General, Richmond, Va.:
General: I have the honor to transmit with this, the report of Brigadier-General Ripley, commanding the First military district, South Carolina, of the battle of the seventh ultimo, together with the reports of his subordinate officers, and of Majors D. B. Harris and W. H. Echols, Provisional Engineer corps.

The accumulation of the enemy's troops, transports, and iron-clad vessels at Port Royal, during the months of February and March, and subsequently, in the North Edisto and Stono Rivers, having convinced me that the long threatened attack on Charleston was immediately impending, every possible precaution was at once made for the exigency, including the concentration, at strategic points in this vicinity, of all available troops, for the defence of the several land approaches to the position, and provisions for the further and rapid concentration, upon this point, of forces from other of the military subdivisions of the Department.

On the fifth of the month, the enemy's iron-clads, of the monitor class, appeared, and anchored off the bar, which they crossed on the following day, accompanied by the iron-mailed frigate New Ironsides, bearing the Admiral's pennant. On the seventh of April, in the afternoon, the enemy moved forward to the attack, in single file--seven single-turreted monitors, to wit: Weehawken, Catskill, Montauk, Nantucket, Passaic, Nahant, and Patapsco, the Keokuk with two fixed turrets, and the New Ironsides — the Weehawken leading, the New Ironsides fifth in the order of battle. By three o'clock P. M., the head of the line had come within easy range of Forts Sumter and Moultrie, and Batteries Beauregard, Bee, and Cummins' Point, and Wagner ; a few minutes later the first gun was fired from Fort Moultrie, and soon the engagement became general.

On our side, seventy-six guns of various calibre, including nine mortars and fifteen smooth bore thirty-two-pounders, were brought to bear on the fleet, which carried thirty-two guns of the heaviest calibres ever used in war, to wit: Fifteen and. eleven-inch Dahlgren guns, and eight-inch rifle pieces. The Weehawken in advance, provided with a contrivance for catching and exploding torpedoes, was soon compelled to retire before the iron storm it encountered. The New Ironsides, at the distance of seventeen hundred yards from Fort Sumter, was frequently struck, and was next forced to fall back out of range, evidently injured. The Keokuk having, meantime, approached to about nine hundred yards of Fort Sumter, was quickly riddled, her guns silenced, and she was withdrawn from the fight vitally crippled. The remaining monitors, six in number, with twelve guns, maintained their fire until twenty-five minutes after five P. M., when they, too, retired out of range of our batteries, and came to anchor. four of them hors de combat, and one of them, the Passaic, so disabled as to make it necessary to send her under tow at once to Port Royal.

On the following morning, the full extent of the injury done to the Keokuk was shown, as she sunk at her anchors in the shallow water off Morris Island. Her armament, two eleven-inch Dahlgren guns, two United States flags, two pennants and three signal flags, have since been taken from her, and the former are now in position for effective service — substantial trophies of the affair. The New Ironsides and six monitors remained at anchor within the bar, but out of effective range of any of our works, until the afternoon of the twelfth of April--their crews and a corps of mechanics visibly and actively employed repairing damages, and apparently preparing to renew the attack; then weighing anchor they all recrossed the bar, the New Ironsides to resume her position as one of the blockading fleet, and the monitors (four of them in tow) to return to Port Royal.

For the detail of this conflict, I beg to refer you to the several reports herewith submitted, but it may not be amiss to recapitulate some of the salient results.

The action lasted two hours and twenty-five minutes, but the chief damage is reported by the enemy to have been done in thirty minutes; the Keokuk did not come nearer than nine hundred yards of Fort Sumter. She was destroyed. The New Ironsides could not stand the fire at the range of a mile. Four of her consorts, monitors, were disabled at the distance of not less that thirteen hundred yards. They had only reached the gorge of the harbor, never within it, and were baffled and driven back before reaching our lines of torpedoes and obstructions, which had been constructed as an ultimate defensive resort, as far as they could be provided. The heaviest batteries had not been employed; [519] therefore it may be accepted as shown, that these vaunted monitor batteries, though formidable engines of war, after all, are not invulnerable or invincible, and may be destroyed or defeated by heavy ordnance, properly placed and skilfully handled; in reality they have not materially altered the military relations of forts and ships.

On this occasion the monitors operated under the most favorable circumstances. The day was calm; and the water, consequently, was as stable as of a river. Their guns were fired with deliberation, doubless by trained artillerists. According to the enemy's statements, the fleet fired one hundred and fifty-one shots, eight of which were ascribed to the New Ironsides, three to the Keokuk, and but nine to the Passaic, which was so badly damaged. Not more than thirty-four shots took effect on the walls of Fort Sumter--a broad mark — which, with the number of discharges, suggests that the monitor arrangement, as yet, is not convenient for accuracy or celerity of fire.

Fort Moultrie and other batteries were not touched, in a way to be considered, while in return they threw one thousand three hundred and ninety-nine shots. At the same time, Fort Sumter discharged eight hundred and ten shots; making the total number of shots fired two thousand two hundred and nine, of which the enemy reports that five hundred and twenty struck the different vessels — a most satisfactory accuracy, when the smallness of the target is considered. This precision was due not only to the discipline and practice of the garrison engaged, but in no slight degree to an invention of

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