Today in History:

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

Page 17 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

Fort Sumter, and several heavily armed batteries on James and Sullivan's Islands. It was seen in flank and reverse by the enemy's artillery. Its communication with Charleston being it the hands of the enemy, and entirely practicable to him during the night, its armament and garrison could be easily maintained at the maximum standard of strength and efficiency.

96. Against the formidable direct and flank fire to which the approaches would be exposed from the batteries which covered and protected Fort Wagner, we could expect to effect nothing, excepting, possibly, the demolition of Fort Sumter, which from its barbette guns could deliver, and had delivered, over both Wagner and Gregg, an accurate and destructive fire.

97. The early elimination of Fort Sumter from the contest, considered simply as auxiliary to the reduction of Fort Wagner, was, therefore, greatly to be desired, and arrangements were at once commenced and the necessary orders given to place the breachng guns in position.

98. At this state of the operations it became necessary to subdivide the engineering operations, civil and military, and assign to each assistant engineer a definite and specified field of labor.

99. Colonel E. W. Serrell, First New York Volunteer Engineers, in addition to his duties as regimental commander, was charged with the constructions of wharves in Light-House Inlet on Morris and folly Islands, with certain projected fortifications on Black Island, and with the erection of a battery in the marsh between Morris and Folly Islands, to be used against Charleston City. To Major T. B. Brooks, aide-de-camp, was instructed the direction of the engineering operations on the right, comprising the approaches to Fort Wagner, and the construction of such batteries, magazines, defensive arrangements, &c., as might be required in that quarters.

First Lieutenant Charles R. Suter, Corps of Engineers, was charged with the construction of a depot powder magazine, and other duties.

Lieutenant [Peter S.] Michie had charge on the left.

First Parallel.

100. On July 18, immediately after our second repulse at Fort Wagner, orders were given to convert the position occupied by our right batteries on the 18th of July, and named Battery Reynolds, into a strong defensive line, capable of resisting a formidable sortie. From that time this line took the name of the "first parallel."

101. A row of inclined palisading, reaching entirely across the island, was planted about 200 yards in advance of the line, with a return of 50 yards on the right. This return was well flanked by two guns on the right of the parallel. The parapet between the guns was arranged for infantry defense, a bomb-proof magazine was constructed, and the armament of the line modified and increased, so that the parallel contained eight siege and field guns, ten siege mortars, and three Requa's rifle batteries.* These works were all completed by the 23rd of July.

102. July 21, I directed an emplacement for one 8-inch Parrott rifle to be prepared next the marsh, on our left and to the rear of the first parallel. It was to be used against Fort Sumter, and its dis-


*See Major Brooks' report, p. 264.



Page 17 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.