Today in History:

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

Page 77 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

the left of the work, however, the Thirty-first North carolina disgracefully abandoned their position, and no resistance being offered at this point, a portion of the enemy succeeded in crossing the ditch, and in gaining a foothold upon the rampart. The main body of the enemy, after vainly endeavoring to gain a position upon the parapet, retreated in disorder, under a destructive fire from our guns, including these of Fort Sumter. The ditch and slope of the southeastern angle of the battery was then swept by a fire of grape and musketry, in order to prevent the escape of the enemy lodged there, who, after a brief resistance, surrendered themselves prisoners.

Brigadier-General Hagood, who, in anticipation of an assault, was relieved from the command of James Island, and with Colonel [George P.] Harrison's regiment (the Thirty-second Georgia Volunteers) was ordered to the re-enforcement of Morris Island, arrived in time to assist in the dislodgment of that portion of the enemy who had gained a footing in the southeastern salient, but no before the attack was made and the enemy repulsed. The assault was terribly disastrous to the enemy. His loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners must have been 3,000, as 800 bodies were interred in front of Battery Wagner on the following morning. The enemy's forces on this occasion consisted of troops from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New York, and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts negro regiment, the whole said to be under the command of Brigadier-General Strong, who died afterward from the effects of wounds received on this occasion. Brigadier-General Taliaferro reported that the garrison, with the exception of the Thirty-first North Carolina Volunteers, behaved throughout with the utmost gallantry. the heroic conduct of the Fifty-first North Carolina Volunteers counterbalanced the unworthy behavior of the Thirty-first and retrieved the honor of the State.

Our own loss during the bombardment and assault was 174 killed and wounded.

At 1 a. m. on the morning of July 19, during the engagement, I telegraphic to Brigadier-General Ripley that Morris Island must be held at all costs for the present, and re-enforcements thrown there to push any advantage possible before daylight. The day passed in comparative quiet. The enemy sent in a flag truce in the morning to arrange for the burial of the dead. Brigadier-General Hagood reported that 600 of the enemy's dead in and around our works were buried by our troops, and at least 200 more by the enemy. The strengthening of the gorge wall of Sumter by cotton bales and sand proceeded rapidly.

On the 20th, the enemy opened fire from two new batteries. Throughout the day the fleet joined in the bombardment, and were answered by Fort Sumter and Batteries Gregg and Wagner. At 3 p. m. information was received that the 10-inch gun at Battery Wagner was dismounted. I impressed upon General Hagood, commanding the work, that I did not consider 10-inch columbiads essential to the defense of the position for which siege guns, musketry, stout arms and hearts, and the strength of sand parapets must be relied on. Orders were issued, however, for the remounting of the 10-inch gun, if practicable.

The enemy's fleet this morning consisted of four monitors, the Ironsides, and seventeen vessels inside the bar; fourteen vessels outside; thirty vessels in Folly River; one gunboat and four vessels in North Edisto, and one steam frigate, one sloop of war, one gunboat,

Page 77 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.