Today in History:

7 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I


37. Third. From the position thus secured, to demolish Fort Sumter, and afterward co-operate with the fleet by a heavy artillery fire when it was ready to move in.

38. Fourth. The monitors and iron-clads to enter, remove the channel obstructions, run by the batteries on James and Sullivan's Islands, and reach the city.

39. No written instructions whatever were given by the War Department, everything connected with the operations of the land forces in general and in detail being left to the judgment and discretion of the officer intrusted with the execution of the project. It was presumed that as soon as the fleet should reach the city, the outer line of defenses thus broken through would be abandoned by the enemy, for the control of Cooper and Wando Rivers by our gunboats, and the operations of the land forces which the could then aid and cover, would compel the evacuation of Sullivan's Island, after which the possession of James Island would be of but little would to the enemy.

40. Other plans of joint operations to be executed after the navy should enter the inner harbor and reach the city, were from time to time discussed by Rear-Admiral Dahlgren and myself, but it is unnecessary to mention them here.

41. I assumed command of the Department of the South on the 12th of June. Our forces had then control of the coast from Light-House Inlet to Saint Augustine, a distance of nearly 250 miles. The positions actually occupied by our troops were: Folly Island, Seabrook Island on the North Edisto, Saint Helena Island, Port Royal Island, Hilton Head Island, Tybee Island, Fort Pulaski, Ossabaw Island, Fort Clinch, Amelia Island, and the city of Saint Augustine. And efficient blockading squadron lay off or inside the principal inlets.

42. Folly Island, the most northerly position of the coast in our possession, was occupied by a brigade under Brigadier General I. Vogdes, who had entrenched the position strongly, and had mounted several heavy guns on the south end of the island, to control the waters of Stono Inlets and the water approaches from James Island. A road had also been opened, practicable for infantry and artillery, by means of which a concealed communication with all points of the island was secure.

43. A naval force under Commander [George B.] Balch, comprising two gunboats and a mortar schooner, was also stationed in the Stono and Folly Rivers.

44. The greater portion of Folly Island was very thickly wooded, the undergrowth being dense and almost impassable. Near the north end, for the distance of nearly 2,000 yards, it was extremely narrow, perfectly barren, and so low that the spring tides frequently sweep entirely over it. At the extreme north and, however, the sand ridges, formed by the gradual action of the wind and tide, were, when our operations commenced, covered with a thick undergrowth favorable for concealment and the masking of batteries. In this thicket General Vogdes had his picket, those of the enemy being on the opposite side of Light-House Inlet, within musket-range. Cole's Island and all the hummocks and patches of firm ground between Folly and James Island were kept under our surveillance by means of frequent and constant reconnaissances.

45. It was determined to withdraw the forces from Ossabaw Sound and the North Edisto, as positions of no importance to us and of no