Today in History:

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

Page 76 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

doubtful in proportion to the lack of these three elements of success. The fire from the enemy's batteries from this date prevented communication with Cuming's Point during daylight, and henceforth it had to be effected at night. The very limited transportation at my command added considerably to the difficulties of relieving the garrisons on Morris Island as frequently as I could have wished. The time of service was at first limited to forty-eight hours, but owing to the difficulties in the way of transportation, I had to lengthen the period of duty on Morris Island to three days.

On the morning of July 18, it became evident that the enemy was about to attempt serious operations against Wagner. The south end of Morris Island was crowed with troops, and in their batteries and advanced works great activity was apparent, large bodies of men being engaged in pushing them rapidly to completion. Troops were continually being landed on Morris from Folly Island; these advanced, and took up position in line of battle behind their breastworks. At 8.10 a. m. Battery Wagner opened; five minutes afterwards Battery Gregg joined. At 10 a. m. four of the enemy's vessels were in action. At 11.30 a. m. Fort Sumter opened on the enemy's rifle -pits on Morris island. The guns of battery Wagner about this time got the range of the enemy's working parties, and seemed to harass them extremely. At 12.10 p. m. the brigade Ironsides and one monitor moved up abreast of Battery Wagner, and at 12.30 were joined by two other monitors, when they opened fire on the work. At 1 p. m. the Ironsides, five monitors, a large wooden frigate, six mortar-boast (these latter could get the range without exposing themselves), and the land batteries (mounting five guns), concentrated their fire on Battery Wagner, and continued it until dark. The enemy's firing throughout the day was very rapid, averaging 14 shots per minute, and unparalleled, until this epoch of the siege, in the weight of projectiles thrown.

Brigadier-General Taliaferro, commanding at Battery Wagner, estimated that 9,000 shot and shell were thrown in and against the battery during the eleven and a half hours that the bombardment lasted. During that time our casualties in the work were 4 killed and 14 wounded. Throughout the day the garrison replied slowly to the terrific fire to which it was exposed, while Fort Sumter and Battery Gregg fired rapidly. The garrison of Battery Wagner consisted of the Charleston Battalion, the Fifty-first and Thirty-first North Carolina, two companies of the Sixty-third Georgia Heavy Artillery, and two companies of the First South Carolina [Regular] Infantry, acting as artillery. During the bombardment, the garrison was kept under the shelter of the bomb-proofs, with the exception of the Charleston Battalion, which was stationed along the parapet of the work - a position which they gallantry throughout the day, exposed to a few d'enfer. Providentially the casualties did not exceed 8 killed and 20 wounded.

At 7.45 in the evening, the casualties lines of the enemy were seen advancing from their works, and the bombardment from the fleet and land batteries subsisted. The garrison were quietly called to their allotted positions, and, with the exception of one regiment, responded manfully to the summons. The Charleston Battalion guarded the right of the work, and the Fifty-first Carolina Volunteers the center. These two regiments drove back the enemy opposed to them with terrible slaughter, while our guns, discharging grape and canister into their shattered ranks, completed their discomfiture. On

Page 76 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.