Today in History:

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

Page 10 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

56. The duty of constructing these batteries was assigned to Brigadier General I. Vogdes. The task was by no means easy, and to its successful execution our subsequent triumphs were due in no small degree.

57. It was necessary that the attack on Morris Island should be a surprise in order to insure success. Secrecy was, therefore, and essential element in the preparations. Most of the work on the batteries and all the transportation to them was accomplished at night and in silence. Moreover, all signs of work had to be carefully concealed by day. One fortune circumstance favored these operations. A blockade runner was chased ashore just south of the entrance to Light-House Inlet, within point-blank range of our batteries, and while the enemy on Morris Island were industriously engaged in wrecking this vessel, night and day (an operation which we could easily have prevented), our batteries were quietly and rapidly pushed forward to completion. They were ready to open fire on the 6th of July.

58. The fact that forty-seven pieces of artillery, with 200 rounds of ammunition per gun, and provided with suitable epaulements, splinter-proof shelters, and magazines, were secretly placed in battery in a position within speaking distance of the enemy's pickets, exposed to a flank and reverse view from their tall observations on James Island, and to a flank view at pistol-range from the wreck, furnishes by no means the least interesting and instructive item of this campaign. (See report of Brigadier-General Vogdes, Appendix A.*)

59. Meanwhile, during the week ending July 8, additional troops, comprising Brigadier-Generally Terry's division, about 4,000 strong, and Brigadier-General Strong's brigade, about 2,500 strong, were quietly accumulated on Folly Island, under cover of darkness.

60. They buoys at the entrance to Stono River, where the channel was narrow and crooked, with but 5 feet of water at low tide, were lighted at night, and all transports carrying troops were ordered to enter after dark, land their men, and depart before daylight in the morning. Sutler's schooners were ordered away, and all appearance of preparations for offensive operations was carefully suppressed. On General Vogdes' defensive works, a semblance of great activity was conspicuously displayed. Everything being in readiness, the following order was issued:


Folly Island, July 8, 1863.


I. An attack upon Morris Island will be made, at the rising of the moon to-night, by Brigadier-General Strong's brigade, of Brigadier-General Seymour's division. This force will be embarked in small boats, immediately after sunset, and will pass through Folly Island Creek to and across Light-House Inlet.

A small detachment from this force will enter the creek to the west of Morris Island, and will land just north of the old light-house, seize the batteries there, and, if possible, turn them upon the enemy's encampment north of them. The main column will land from Light-House Inlet, carry the batteries on the south end of Morris Island, and advance to the support of the detachment above mentioned. Two regiments and some field artillery will be held in readiness on the extreme north end of Folly Island, to be pursued over as re-enforcement. To this and, General Strong will send his boats over as soon as he has disembarked his command.

II. At the same time, General Terry, with all his division, excepting the One hundredth New York Volunteers, will ascend the Stono River under convoy of the navy, and make a strong demonstration on James Island, but will not unnecessarily


*Printed as Numbers 11, under Operations on Morris Island, p. 350.


Page 10 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.