Today in History:

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

Page 74 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

On July 12, the Marion Artillery (four guns and 39 effective) arrived from the Second Military District, and was placed on James Island, as well as the Eleventh South Carolina Regiment from the Third Military District (400 effective), but these last soon had to be returned, to guard our communication with Savannah. A portion of Brigadier-General Clingman's brigade (550 men of the Fifty-first North Carolina Volunteers) arrived from Wilmington about the same time, in consequence of my urgent call for re-enforcements.

The enemy was occupied during the day in erecting works on the middle of Morris Island, while five monitors and three wooden gunboats shelled Batteries Wagner and Greeg.

The armament of Battery Wagner was increased by four 12-pounder howitzers and two 32-pounder carronades on siege carriages.

On July 13, the enemy was actively engaged in throwing up works on the middle of Morris island, but were interrupted but our fire from Battery Gregg and Fort Sumter. During the day, four monitors, three gunboats, and two mortar vessels shelled Batteries Wagner and Gregg, but with little effect and slight casualties. Four monitors only were with the fleet; the fifth was seen going to the south without a smoke-stack on the evening of the 12th.

Orders were issued in this day for the construction at once of new battery on Shell Point (Battery Simkins), in advance of Fort Johnson, for on 10-inch columbiad, one 6.40-inch Brooke gun, and three 10-inch mortars. The armament of Fort Moultrie was ordered to be increased by guns taken from Fort Sumter. An appeal was made to His Excellency Governor Bonham for slave labor for work on the fortifications.

The arrival of Clingham's brigade and re-enforcements from other quarters having increased to some extent my available force, the consideration arose whether or not the expulsion of the enemy from Morris Island was yet feasible. The number of men required for such an attempt would have been 4,000, the surface of Morris Island not permitting the maneuvering of a large number. The only hope of the attempt successful lay in the possibility of our troops carrying the enemy's works and position before daylight, otherwise the advance and attack would necessarily have been made under the fire of the enemy's fleet, in which case it must have ended disastrously for us. After a consultation with my general officers, the idea of this attack was abandoned when it became apparent that our means of transportation were so limited as to render it impossible to throw sufficient re-enforcements on Morris Island in one night, and in time to allow the advance of our troops to the south end before daylight.

Two regiment under Brigadier-General Colquitt arrived on the 14th, and were sent to James Island. During the day the enemy's wooden gunboats and mortar vessels shelled Battery Wagner at long range, doing, however, little damage. The enemy worked hard on his Morris Island batteries, making considerable progress. The fire, however, from Fort Sumter and Batteries Wagner and Gregg appeared to harass him considerably.

The impossibility of expelling the enemy from Morris Island being fully recognized, I was obliged reluctantly to adopt the defensive. Orders were issued for closing the gateway in the gorge of Fort Sumter, and removing a portion of the guns; also for the construction of a covered way from Fort Moultrie to Battery Bee.

Page 74 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.