Today in History:

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

Page 79 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

Brigadier-General Taliaferro, who had relieved Brigadier-General Hagood in the command of Battery Wagner, on the night of the 22nd came to the city to confer personally with me regarding the condition of the garrison of Battery Wagner, the offensive having reported their men as considerably dispirited. After a confederate with him, I communicated my views, as follows: The position must be held, if possible, until the guns en route from Richmond shall be received and placed in position. No idea of evacuation must be entertained, if there is a chance at night to repair the damages of the day. Every night preparations will be on hand for removing troops from Morris Island in case of need. Battery Wagner must be held and fought to the last extremity. The garrison might rest assured that every preparation will be made for their withdrawal in case the work should become untenable.

My telegram to you of this date was:

The enemy's fleet and land batteries shelled Battery Wagner heavily this morning. Garrison lost only 1 killed and 7 wounded. Hope to repair damages during the night. Am anxiously waiting for heavy guns promised from Richmond.

On the 25th, the enemy's fleet remained quiet, owing to the high sea, and his land batteries fired but little, Fort Sumter, Battery Gregg, and the James Island batteries answering. A 30-pounder Parrott was again brought to bear on Fort Sumter from the same battery as on the 20th. During the day, I informed you by telegraph that several of my new batteries were ready for their armament. The strengthening of Fort Sumter proceeded day and night, and in anticipation of the damaging effect which the enemy's heavy rifled guns from stationary batteries would haven this work, a partial disarmament was carried on nightly.

On Sunday, the 26th, the bombardment of the enemy slackened. During the night, shelling of the enemy's works was carried on from Fort Sumter. Re-enforcements were seen throughout the day disembarkating on Morris Island.

I telegraphed on that day:

Have nine positions ready. Not one gun promised from Richmond has yet arrived. Cannot their transportation be expedited?

The weather on the 27th was too windy for the co-operation of the fleet, which had been increased by the addison of another monitor. During that day the bombardment from the land batteries slackened. Our defenses were pushed on vigorously, while the strengthening of Fort Sumter and the withdrawal of guns from that work proceeded. The enemy showed great activity in advancing their work, though harassed by the fire of our batteries.

On the 28th, Battery Wagner sustained another very severe bombardment from the enemy's land and naval batteries, but no great damage was done. Two men were killed and 5 wounded.

My telegraphic dispatch one the evening of the 28th was:

Many transports of the enemy are arriving with troops. At least 2,500 more men are required at present for James Island. Cannot they are ordered here immediately? Enemy land and naval batteries are now playing on Wagner, which replies bravery with Gregg and Sumter.

On the 29th, Battery Wagner was heavily bombardment throughout the day by the fleet and land batteries. In a telegram to you of this date, I notified you of the arrival of some of the promised guns from Richmond.

Have received four 10-inch columbiads and four 10-inch mortars. Regret to say,

Page 79 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.