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Chapter 32:

  • General Beauregard's report of the operations on Morris Island in July, August, and September.
  • -- number of effective troops in the Department on the 7th of April, 1863. -- troops in the First Military District on the 10th of July. -- War Department advised of the threatening nature of the enemy's preparations. -- withdrawal of troops from the Department. -- Protest of General Beauregard. -- Mr. Seddon's telegram of the 9th of May. -- he is informed on the 10th of the erection of the enemy's batteries on Folly Island. -- General Beauregard's letter of the 11th of May. -- Insufficiency of his forces to resist the enemy's movements. -- President Davis asks reinforcements for General Johnston. -- General Beauregard's answer. -- different routes of approach for attacking Charleston. -- route by Morris Island the least injurious. -- want of labor and transportation a serious drawback to the defence. -- inadequate number of negroes furnished. -- attack on the south end of Morris Island. -- the enemy carries the position. -- want of labor to fortify, and of infantry support, the cause of lodgment. -- strong demonstration against James Island by way of the Stono. -- the enemy assaults Battery Wagner on the 11th. -- is repulsed with loss. -- General Beauregard again appeals for negro labor. -- on the morning of the 16th General Hagood attacks the enemy on James Island, and drives him back.—the enemy's concentration on Little Folly and Morris islands. -- nine hundred shot and shell fired at Wagner on the 18th. -- the enemy again assaults that night. -- his repulse disastrous. -- number of his dead buried in front of Wagner. -- heroic conduct of the garrison. -- General Beauregard orders Morris Island to be held at any cost. -- gorge-wall of Sumter strengthened. -- flag of truce from General Gillmore. -- James Island batteries not to open fire until their completion. -- no material damage done to Wagner up to the 24th. -- General Beauregard anxiously waiting for heavy guns from Richmond. -- Partial disarmament of Sumter carried on at night. -- five hundred and ninety-nine shot fired at our different batteries, on the 30th, in less than three hours.—works not seriously harmed. -- interior harbor defences advancing rapidly. -- enemy advances his trenches. -- is annoyed by fire from Sumter, Gregg, Wagner, and James Island batteries. -- General Beauregard on Morris Island. -- sand-bags in Sumter; covered way between batteries Wagner and Gregg. -- effective force on Morris Island. -- the enemy's advanced works on the 10th of August at six hundred yards from Wagner. -- the armament of Sumter reduced to thirty-eight guns and two mortars. -- terrific bombardment. -- weight of projectiles thrown against the fort from thirty to three hundred [103] pounds. -- all its guns rendered unserviceable. -- gorge-wall and northwest face greatly damaged. -- the First bombardment over. -- the fire on Sumter Slackens on the 24th. -- removal of ammunition and ordnance stores. -- not a gun in working order at Sumter. -- the enemy's flag abreast of south angle of Wagner. -- preparations for evacuation. -- General Beauregard's orders to that effect. -- troops withdrawn on the night of the 6th of September. -- Colonel Keitt in command at the time. -- success of the movement. -- correspondence between Generals Beauregard and Gillmore concerning the exchange of prisoners and the demand of surrender. -- defence of Sumter and Wagner.

General Beauregard's official report of the defence of Morris Island, from July 10th to September 7th, 1863, contains so full a narrative of this memorable event that it is deemed advisable to insert it here, without alteration or curtailment. This remarkable paper will thus become the chief, if not the exclusive, subject of the present chapter. No pen could more truthfully describe the momentous incidents of that part of the siege of Charleston, and no authority could be of greater weight, in the eyes of the public, than General Beauregard's. All the more will this be the case, inasmuch as not one of his main averments will fail to be substantiated by undeniable proof:

Headquarters, Department of N. C. And So. Va., in the field, near Petersburg, Va., September 18th, 1864.
To General Samuel Cooper, Adjt. and Insp.-Genl., Richmond, Va.:
General,—I have the honor to enclose herewith my report of operations on Morris Island, S. C., during the months of July, August, and September, 1863, which was commenced soon after the events referred to, but could not be finished, revised, and corrected until the present moment.

The report has been made more in detail than otherwise would have been done in order to refute certain charges contained in a letter of the lion. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, of August, 1863, to the Hon. Wm. Porcher Miles, M. C., from South Carolina, and volunteer aid on my staff. I doubt not that, after the perusal of this report, the Hon. the Secretary of War will admit that he did me unintentional injustice in the following paragraph of his letter, containing the charges alluded to; to wit:

* * * I have no disposition to criticise military operations or point out errors or omissions which cannot longer be avoided or remedied, but you compel me, in selfdefence, to advert to the true cause of the lodgment made by the enemy on Morris Island. According to my conception, it was not the want of infantry force at the command of that Department, but, as I have before supposed was universally admitted, the want of adequate defence at the lower end of the island, known long to be the external gate of the city, and the establishment by the enemy, without the knowledge of the military authorities, of powerful land batteries on Folly Island, [104] screened and concealed, until fully prepared to open upon us with all the effect of surprise, by the woods which had been allowed to remain unfelled on that island. that these, and not the want of men, were the true causes of the possession effected by the enemy, is shown by their inability to improve their success by the capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg. It is no pleasure to me to refer to these causes of disaster, but, under the implications of your letter, I could not say less.

I remain, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

The report reads as follows:

General,—I arrived in Charleston on the 13th of September, 1862, and assumed command on the 24th of that month.

In the interval I was engaged in ascertaining the plans and measures taken by Major-General Pemberton, my predecessor, for the defence, particularly, of Charleston and Savannah, and in rapid inspections of the condition and defensive resources of the Department, the results of which were communicated to the War Department in two papers, dated, the one relative to Charleston, on the 3d, and the other, chiefly concerning Savannah, on the 10th of October, 1862.

At the time the troops in that Department (as then arranged) consisted of—

In South Carolina.
Artillery in position1,787
Field artillery1,379
In Georgia.
Artillery in position1,330
Field artillery445
Total of all arms in Department19,736

Of this force, 1787 artillery in position, 727 light artillerists, 4139 infantry, and 410 cavalry, were assembled in the First Military District, for the defence of

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