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The siege of Charleston.

There was no assault in force upon battery Wagner on Tuesday night, as stated by telegraph. It was merely an advance of the enemy with about 1,500 men and a battery of light artillery to capture our pickets and occupy the rifle pits. The advance was met on our side by about 300 troops of the 61st North Carolina and 54th Georgia regiments, and was repulsed after an hour's fighting.--Our batteries on James Island did much execution upon the enemy during the fight. Our loss was five killed and nineteen wounded. On Wednesday night, however, the enemy attempted the same project, and were successful. They made a rush on our pickets at the rifle pits, and captured that portion of them who did not succeed in escaping back to battery Wagner. With the rifle pits in their possession the Yankees advanced their saps two hundred yards nearer the battery. No very great efforts were made by our troops to recover possession of the pits. They were merely dug to shelter the pickets on duty from the enemy's shell, and were not expected to resist an assault. At the late assault on Wagner, in which the Federals were so bloodily repulsed, no opposition to their advance was made at these pits, and the repulse was effected after they had gained the slope of the fort. Before the attack Wednesday night the enemy, in their approaches to Wagner, had advanced by zig-zag lines to within twenty-five yards of our rifle pits, and, in order to run their next parallel, it became necessary that these pits should be carried. The Mercury, of the 27th, gives the following account of the fight for the riffe pits Tuesday night:

A little after 7 o'clock on Tuesday night, just as the 51st North Carolina was relieving the 54th Georgia, a detachment of which was on duty at the pits as pickets, the attempt was made in considerable force by the enemy. A brisk infantry fight ensued, which lasted about an hour and a half, and which ended in the repulse of the Yankees; it is believed with no little loss.

Battery Gregg and the James Island batteries lent material aid in the successful defence of the disputed ground. The fire of battery Simkins (Captain Mitchell's) is reported by Gen. Hagood as having been very effective. Our loss was five killed and nineteen wounded, among the latter of whom is Captain Roberts, of the 54th Georgia, whose hurt is reported mortal.

The enemy opened on Monday, for the first time, a three hundred pound Parrott gun on Sumter. The bolts thrown by this gun are twenty-three inches long and ten inches in diameter. Their effect is far more powerful than those projected from the two hundred pounder. Three hundred shots were fired on Tuesday at the fort. Charleston was perfectly quiet on the night of the 25th. No shells were thrown into the city.

On the 26th the bombardment, of course, opened at the usual early hour. The fire of the Yankee land batteries was directed both at Sumter and Wagner, but seemed to be principally concentrated on Wagner. In the afternoon the Ironsides opened with a few shells. The fleet, however, was for the most part quiet.

About half-past 6 o'clock P. M. the enemy commenced to bombard Wagner with great fury. Fort Wagner, battery Gregg, and the batteries on James Island, replied with equal vigor, and for the space of an hour the fiercest cannonade which has taken place since the beginning of the siege filled the harbor with its thunders. The shots were sixty to the minute. A little before seven a dispatch was brought to the city stating that the enemy were again assaulting in heavy force, and before eight o'clock it was learned that the rifle pits had been carried by the enemy. The details of the struggle had of course not been received up to the time of our going to press.

The Charleston Courier, of the 28th, confirms the statement made above, that the pits were in the hands of the enemy, who was advancing his saps from them, and gives the following account of the capture:

We have received but few additional particulars of the affair of Wednesday night, in which it is reported some sixty of our men, of the Sixty-first North Carolina, were taken prisoners.

The reported recapture of the rifle-pits was incorrect. It appears from those who participated that our advanced picket force of eighty men, occupying the rifle-pits, were flanked and surrounded by an overwhelming force of the enemy, who had been massing all day for the purpose. About twenty only made their escape. The Yankees advanced with three regiments unexpectedly. Our men fought gallantly, but were overpowered by superior numbers. The enemy, however, suffered severely. Our howitzers kept up a steady fire, raking the enemy's columns with grape shot, and doing much execution.

A severe musketry fight also occurred.--One of our men who escaped after being taken prisoner reported the enemy immediately on taking possession of the rifle-pits commenced to throw up more sand, &c., for strengthening their position.

The firing between the land batteries was very slow yesterday, that of the enemy being directed principally on battery Wagner. Fire was also kept up on Fort Sumter, but with little effect. It is believed that the enemy's guns are wearing out from the severe ordeal to which they have been subjected.

The fleet kept quiet yesterday. The Ironsides and four monitors were reported moving up, but they had not opened fire up to a late hour. Nothing authentic has been received in relation to the number of casualties at battery Wagner on Wednesday night or yesterday.

Gen. Colquitt is now in command of the forces on Morris Island.

We give below some interesting particulars of the siege from Northern and Southern papers. The following is an

Official Dispatch from Admiral Dahlgren--the death of Capt. Rodgers.

Flag Steamer Dinsmore, Off Morris Island, August 18, 1863.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington:
--Yesterday was begun another series of operations against the enemy's works.

Early in the morning General Gillmore opened all his batteries upon Fort Sumter, firing over Fort Wagner and the intermediate space.

About the same time I moved up the entire available naval force, leading with my flag in the Wechawken, followed by the Catskill, Nahant, and Montank, the Passaic and Patapsco in reserve for Sumter; the Ironsides in position opposite to Wagner, and the gunboats named in the margin at long range, viz: Canandaigua, J. F. Green; Mahaska, Commander J. B. Creighton; Cimmarone, Commander A. K. Hughes; Ottawa, Lieut.-Commander J. L. Davis; Dal-Ching, Lieut.-Commander J. L. Chaplin; Ladona, Lieut.-Commander E. Brodhead.

As the tide rose the Weehawken was closed to about four hundred and fifty yards off Wagner; the other three monitors followed, and the Ironsides was taken as near as her great draught of water permitted. After a steady and well-directed fire Wagner was silenced about thirteen minutes past 9 A. M., and the fire of our own vessels was slackened in consequence.

Meanwhile the fire of our shore batteries was working effectually upon the gorge of Sumter, which appeared to have been strengthened in every possible manner. At this time the flag was shifted to the Passaic, which, with the Patapsco, both having rifled guns, steamed up the channel until within two thousand yards of Fort Sumter, when fire was opened on the gorge, angle, and southeast front of the work. The Patapsco fired very well, and is believed to have struck the southeast front nine consecutive times.

To all this Sumter scarcely replied. Wagner was silenced, and battery Gregg alone maintained a deliberate fire at the Passaic and Patapsco. It was now noon. The men had been hard at work from daybreak, and needed rest; so I withdrew the vessels to give them dinner.

During the afternoon our shore batteries continued the fire at Sumter with little or no reply from the enemy, and I contented myself with sending up the Passaic and Patapsco to prevent Wagner from repairing damages. The fort replied briskly, but in a short time left off firing. I am not able to state with exactness the result of the day's work, but am well satisfied with what a distant view of Sumter allowed me. Our entire power is not yet developed, as it will be daily, while the enemy is damaged without being able to repair. The officers and men of the vessels have done their duty well, and will continue to do so.

All went well with us, save one sad exception. Captain Rodgers, my Chief of Staff, was killed, as well as Paymaster Woodbury, who was standing near him. Captain Rodgers had more than once asked on this occasion if he should go with me as usual, or resume the command of his vessel, the Catskill; and he repeated the query twice during the morning, the last time on the deck of the Wechawken, just while preparing to move into action. In each instance I replied, "Do as you choose." He finally said, "Well, I will go in the Catskill, and the next time with you."

The Weehawken was lying about one thousand yards from Wagner, and the Catskill, with my gallant friend, just inside of me, the fire of the fort coming in steadily.

Observing the tide to have risen a little, I directed the Weehawken to be carried in closer, and the anchor was hardly weighed when I noticed the Catskill was also under weigh, which I remarked to Capt. Calhoun. It occurred to me that Capt. Rodgers detected the movement of the Weehawken, and was determined to be closer to the enemy if possible.

My attention was called off immediately to a position for the Weehawken, and soon after it was reported the Catskill was going out of action, with a signal flying that her Captain was disabled. He had been killed instantly.

It is but natural that I should feel deeply the loss thus sustained; for the close and confidential relations which the duties of fleet captain necessarily occasioned impressed me deeply with the worth of Capt. Rodgers. Brave, intelligent, and highly capable, devoted to his duty and to the flag under which he passed his life, the country cannot afford to lose such men. Of a kind and generous nature, he was always prompt to give relief when he could.

I have directed that all respect be paid to his remains, and the country will not, I am sure, omit to honor the memory of one who has not spared his life in her hour of trial.--

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

John A. Dahlgren, Rear Admiral,
Comd'g South Atlantic Block'g Squadron.

Accounts of the bombardment — effects of the iron-clads firing.

The Charleston correspondence of the New York Herald, dated the 17th, gives us some very readable matter about the progress of the siege. We make some extracts:

Operations of the rebels.

The rebels are making herculean exertions to place Fort Sumter in the most impregnable condition. They labor on the gorge of the work every night, and we can see that the results of their operations are very important. They seem to have built up an immensely thick barricade of sand bags, and perhaps cotton bales between the sand bags and the wall, covering the wall of the gorge and protecting the magazines, which are located in that face of the work. From appearances the outer slope of the barricade is nearly perpendicular, and therefore liable, if badly torn at the base, to give way and tumble down. Still, as long as it stands, it is a capital protection to the brick wall, and will prolong the defence of the work somewhat. But with a certain class of projectiles that we have it is not doubted we shall be able to get it out of the way. The barricade on the left flank of the gorge is nearly up to the parapet, and is about finished; that on the right is about up to the second tier of casemates, and progressing rapidly. A large black steamer, of the high-pressure style, was seen coming down the harbor yesterday afternoon towing three large barges deeply laden, evidently containing bags of sand for Sumter. The entrance to the sally port on the gorge face has been covered by a traverse of sand bags, and the sally port itself protected by a large traverse of the same material. Portions of the parapet have been built up with sandbags, and good covers made for the artillerists and barbette guns. Every portion of the work exposed to our fire or that of the navy has been strengthened by sand bags and cotton bales. How effectual these new defences may be will be determined by the time this letter is before your readers.

Effect of experimental fire on Sumter.

From the experimental firing of one of our siege guns, a two hundred-pounder Parrott, and from the heavy guns of the navy, results have been attained of the most encouraging character. Five or six gaping craters in the gorge face and the southeast front attest the severity of the fire and the damaging effects of our heavy rife projectiles. Immense loads of brick and mortar tumbled down from each impact, and the holes in the wall, as nearly as we can judge, are two feet deep and between five and six feet across the outer edge, and formed like an inverted cone. The firing occasioned no little consternation among the garrison, which crowded to the edge of the parapet, looked over, and gazed intently upon the wounds. Others rushed from the sally port and inspected the damaged face of the work with evident surprise. The rebels did not reply to our brief fire. It is reported that a rebel steamer, lying at the wharf, was injured by a pile of bricks, and perhaps a fragment of a shell, and completely disabled. But this story, though it would be pleasant to believe, is a little doubtful.

Naval mortar practice.

Two mortar schooners, which arrived from the North Atlantic squadron a few days since, after being stripped, their masts taken out, and every preparation made for action, were towed up to their positions on Thursday last, in good range of Fort Wagner. On the following day they opened on Wagner from their thirteen-inch mortars. The practice was not very accurate. Probably the roll of the vessels prevented that accurate firing which the "bummers" are said to obtain sometimes. I am of opinion that they will be of little service until they can be anchored in smoother water than they can find outside of Fort Sumter. If they can once get inside the harbor, no doubt, if Charleston is the mark, they can be of great service. Several of their shells have exploded over our trenches, but inflicted no damage.

Opening of the great cannonade.

At half-past 6 all our guns at present in position were in full play, from battery Gillmore, the Navy battery, in command of Commander Foxhall A. Parker, to the extreme left battery, doing good service. The gorge wall was repeatedly struck by huge bolts that penetrated two or three feet into the brick wall, and threw out immense piles of bricks, mortar, and clouds of dust, that at times obscured the face of the work. The fort must have been shaken from foundation to parapet by the violence of the impact.--Nothing of the kind was ever before thrown against a fortification, and works built to resist ordnance less heavy than that engaged in the present siege are but poorly prepared to meet the tremendous shock of the projectile. Immense holes in the smooth face of the work were visible after the impact of each shot, apparently at least five feet in diameter and two or three feet deep, in the form of an inverted cone. The sand traverse, or barricade, which the rebels had so industriously thrown up to protect the gorge about the sally port, was at an early hour penetrated by a shell, which knocked out some of the lower tiers and brought the grand pile tumbling down about their wharf in an irregular mass, but still in such a position as to protect the wall in a great degree.

The Grand guard strengthened.

Between 6 and 7 o'clock the damaging effect of our fire becoming apparent to the rebels, a sortle was apprehend on their part to spike some of our guns, in order to prevent further injury to their work. In order to counteract any efforts of that kind — which would never be undertaken by any other foe than that we now battle with — a regiment or two was scut up the beach to a point where they could be made available in case of necessity. In this position they spent the day, and were not called upon to aid their brethren in the extreme front.

A New rebel Gallery opened.

At 8 o'clock in the morning the rebels on James Island opened a new work upon our trenches. Although its existence had been suspected, no definite information had been gained to make it certain, and the first white curl of smoke that arose from the woods on the left of Fort Johnson, and the scream of a rific shell over our works from that direction, not unnaturally created some excitement, and its fire was watched with a considerable degree of interest. Although it fired rapidly through the day, its fire occasioned no damage; but its line of fire over our works was somewhat different from that which we should select if the matter was left to us. A second gun was also opened from the battery next to Simpkins, on James Island, which had already one piece firing on us for some days past; but neither of them inflicted any damage.

The damage to Fort Sumter.

A letter from Charleston to the Savanvannah Republican says:

‘ The entire southern face of the fort is one vast ruin. A pile of rubbish — brick, mortar, stone, timber, and guns — rises from the water and forms an inclined plain to the original parapet, some fifty feet in height. Many of the guns on this face are still in their carriages and pointing over the wreck. The interior of this, as well as the eastern side, was packed with sand bags, and for this reason, notwithstanding the walls have been battered down, there is no caving in and but little diminution of the work. It also offers far more resistance to the shot of the enemy than the north or west side is capable of, and hence but little more damage can be inflicted from the Morris Island batteries.--The only shot that now tell are those which pass over and strike the interior of the northern wall or rake the parapet. This fact has annoyed the enemy no little, and an attack was made before daylight this morning from another quarter. The inevitable Ironsides and three or four monitors came up under cover of a thick haze to within a short distance of the fort, and opened a terrific fire upon the sea or eastern face. Sumter proved her vitality by returning it vigorously, and Moultrie and our iron-clads (they have awoke at last from their long sleep) coming to the rescue, the Yankees were soon compelled to retire. Several shots were put into the wall of the fort, but no serious damage was sustained. There are some very ugly apertures on the north side, but the walls still stand, and will probably continue to do so. It is Gen. Ripley's determination not to evacuate it, though it clearly would be wise to withdraw all the force not necessary to work the few remaining guns, as so large a body would appear to be an unnecessary exposure of life; though, the men take care of themselves in the eastern and western casemates, and the daily casualties are but trifling.

The shelling of the city.

The editor of the Savannah News, who was in Charleston the night Gillmore commenced shelling the city, thus describes the same:

‘ The citizens, as it seems by an error in the transmission of Gillmore's answer by the signal corps, were led to believe that they would have until Monday night to remove their families, and were surprised by a second midnight attack. The scene, as the Yankee incendiary shells came hurtling through the air, crashing through the chambers of sleeping women and children, or bursting in streets, scattering their fragments in every direction, and lighting up the darkness with a sudden glare, was shocking in the extreme. Shell after shell followed at intervals of some ten minutes, each preceded by the sullen roar of the far-off battery. Soon the streets in the vicinity where they struck were filled with men, women, and children; the former as firemen or soldiers repairing to their alarm posts for duty, the latter hastening — they knew not where — somewhere for safety. While the streets were thus filled with terrified families the rain poured down, adding to the horrors of the scene. The shelling continued for about an hour and a quarter, when it ceased. At 2 o'clock, when we retired to our chamber in the Mills House, Meeting street was comparatively quiet. From the door of our hotel every shell could be distinctly heard, and the point at which it struck pretty nearly determined. We heard of several houses and one church in different parts of the city which were more or less damaged by the shells, but no instances of injury to persons was reported when we left the city yesterday morning. We heard of one very narrow escape, a shell having passed through a chamber in which two young girls were sleeping. The bed was struck and a part of the mosquito bar torn away, but, providentially, neither of the sleepers were hart.

The battery that Shelled the city.

A letter from Charleston, also speaking of the shelling, says:

‘ There has been some difference of opinion, even among military men, as regards the exact location of the battery from which these missiles are thrown to so great a distance. It was first supposed to be on Morris Island, near the foot of Craig's Hill, but it has been definitely ascertained to be located on a raft in the marsh, about a mile this side of Morris Island, and five miles distant from the city. Some say that its movements are regulated by the tide, and that it is floated off during the day so as to avoid observation and a concentrated fire from our James Island batteries. This may be so, and it true will account for their choosing the night for their operations. There are as yet but two guns in position on the battery, and the strain to the metal in firing at so long a range will account for the slowness of the fire and its brief duration. The battery was expected to open again to-night, but has not done so up to this hour, half-past midnight.

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