Today in History:

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

Page 63 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

with satisfaction the conduct of the troops in their brave and prolonged resistance against a force largely their superior in numbers, and he is specially gratified by the spirit and success with which the garrison of Battery Wagner and the troops under Colonel [Robert F.] Graham repelled the assault on that fortification, as it gives the assurance that he can rely upon the conduct and cordage of both officers and men to check the progress of the enemy.

By command of General Beauregard:


Chief of Staff.

In the Field, near Petersburg, Va., September 18, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose herewith my report of operations on Morris Island, S. C., during the months of July, August, and September, 1863, which was commenced soon after the events referred to, but could not be finished, revised, and corrected, owing to the exigencies of the public service, until the present moment. The report has been made in detail than otherwise would have been done, in order to refute certain charges contained in a letter of the Honorable James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, of August [21*], 1863, to the Honorable William Porcher Miles, member of Congress from South Carolina, and volunteers aide only staff. I doubt not that after the perusal of this report the honorable Secretary of War will admit that he did me unintentional injustice in the following paragraph of his letter containing the charges alluded to, to wit:

* * * * * * *

I have no disposition to critics military operations, or point out errors or omissions which can no longer be avoided or remedied, but you compel me in self-defense to advert to the true cause of the lodgment made by the enemy on Morris Island. According to my conception, it was not the want of infantry force at the command of that department, but, as I have before supposed was universally admitted, the want of adequate work of defense at the lower end of the island, known long to be the external gate of the city, and the establishment by the enemy (without the knowledge of the military authorities) of powerful land batteries on Folly Island, screened and concealed, until fully prepared to open upon us with all the effect of a surprise, by the woods which had been allowed to remain unfilled on that island. That these, and not the want of men, were the true causes of the possession effected by the enemy is shown by their inability to improve their success by the capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg. It is no pleasure to me to refer to those causes of disaster, but under the implications of your letter I could not say less.

* * * * * * *

I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



General S. COOPER,

Adjt. and Insp. General, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.


Report of operations on Morris Island, S. C., during the months of July, August, and September, 1863.

I arrived in Charleston on September 13, 1862, and assumed command on the 24th. In the interval I was engaged in ascertain the plans and measures taken by Major-General Pemberton (my predecessor)


* See Confederate Correspondence, Part II.


Page 63 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.