Today in History:

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

Page 12 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

67. In pursuance of the above order, nearly 2,000 men of General Strong's brigade were embarked in small boats in Folly River on the evening of the 9th, and at daybreak on the following morning the head of the column had reached Light-House Inlet, where it was halted. The boats kept close to the east side of the creek, and were screened by the marsh grass from the enemy on Morris Island.

68. Our batteries opened shortly after daybreak, and were served rapidly for about two hours, when I sent an order to General Strong, by signals, to land and make the assault by putting two regiments ashore at Oyster Point and the balance of his command on the farmland lower down. This he accomplished at once, and all the enemy's batteries on the south end of Morris Island were gallantly and successively taken by him. By 9 o'clock we occupied three-fourths of the island, and our skirmishers were within musket-rake of Fort Wagner. The heat being intense and the troops exhausted, offensive operations were suspended for the day.

69. Brigadier-General Seymour was ordered to carry Fort Wagner by assault at daybreak on the following morning. The attempt failed. The following report of these operations was made to the General-in-Chief:


In the Field, Morris Island, July 12, 1863.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to report that at 5 o'clock on the morning of the 10th instant, I made an attack upon the enemy's fortified positions on the south end off Morris Island, and, after an engagement lasting three hours and a quarter, captured all his strongholds on that part of the island, and pushed forward my infantry to within 600 yards of Fort Wagner. We now hold all the island, excepting about 1 mile on the north en, which includes Fort Wagner and a battery on Cumming's Point, mounting at the present time fourteen or fifteen heavy guns in the aggregate. The assaulting column was gallantly led by Brigadier-General Strong. It landed from small boats under cover of our batteries on Folly Island and four monitors led by Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, which entered the main channel abreast of Morris Island, soon after our batteries opened. The monitors continued their fire through the day, mostly against Fort Wagner.

On the morning of the 11th, at daybreak, an attempt was made to carry Fort Wagner by assault. The parapet was gained, but the support recoiled under the fire to which they were exposed, and could not be gotten up. Our loss in both actions will now vary much from 150 killed, wounded, and missing.

We have taken eleven pieces of heavy ordnance and a large quantity of camp equipage. The enemy's loss in killed, wounded, and missing will not fall short of 200.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

71. It was subsequently ascertained from deserters and prisoners that the enemy's loss was very considerably underestimated in the above report. General Beauregard, in his official dispatch, admits a loss of 300, including 16 commissioned officer killed, wounded, and missing.

72. The kind and caliber of the guns captured in this assault are given in the following table, and their several positions are indicated on plate by the capital letters, as follows:

A. One 8-inch navy shell gun, pintle in center transom.

B. One 8-inch sea-coast howitzer, pintle on rear transom.

C. One 3-inch Whitworth siege-carriage.

C. Three 10-inch sea-coast mortars.

Page 12 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.