Today in History:

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

Page 59 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

of labor, were under constructions at the southers extremity and at other points near Morris Island as counter-dispositions to the demonstrations of the enemy on Folly Island.

The force of the enemy may be set down as at least four brigades, of 2,500 men each, or a total of some 10,000 men, with ample means of transportation and every appliance of war, supported by the guns of a powerful and numerous fleet.

Making a strong demonstration against James Island, filling the Stono with gunboats and troops, and occupying Battery Island in force, the enemy at the same time vigorously attacked the small force available for the defense of the south end of Morris Island with his main force, under cover of a powerful battery of long-range guns place in a battery thrown up on the north end of Little Folly Island. He soon overpowered the small force and weak batteries, which alone could be opposed to his offensive movements at the time, and drove our troops out of their works back to the shelter of Battery Wagner. Nor could any effort be made to dislodge him before the arrival of re-enforcements, by which time he had so firmly established his naturally strong position as to make any offensive attempt desperate and impracticable; that is, without the support of a strong naval force.

It may be asked, why was not this catastrophe guarded against? To which I have to say, generally, that stronger works could not be erected for lack of labor, though every effort was exhausted to secure negroes from the day I took command of the department up to July 1, 1863. Further, I had not been able to get the armaments essential for such works, and, besides, as before said, I did not have a garrison sufficiently strong for Morris, James, and Sullivan's Island at the same time. The holding of the position is secondary to that of James Island, which must first be secured beyond peril, if possible, of surprise and capture. But my reports to the War Department are full of these details, showing the relative positions and value of these approaches to and defenses of Charleston; in fact, all the information necessary for a correct appreciation and comprehension of the state of affairs here.

I shall, course, allow no opportunity to pass for annoying the enemy, and shall make every effort to anticipate and foil my adversary, and, if practicable, dislodge him from his present position.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


General, Commanding.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War Richmond, Va.


Read and returned. I hope some clear comprehension of the causes which enabled the enemy to approach Morris Island with batteries before being observed will be given in the promised report.

J. D. [DAVIS.]

ADDENDA Numbers 1. WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., July 12, 1863.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: Serious solicitude is felt by the Department at the renewed attack on Charleston, and we hear with regret that the enemy

Page 59 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.