Today in History:

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

Page 85 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

Fort Sumter, his approaches to Battery Wagner were slowly pushed forward under the fire of our and sharpshooters. On the 21st, he made an unsuccessful attack on our rifle-pits directly in front of Battery Wagner. The same day at 12 m., under flag if truce, General Gillmore sent a demand for the surrender of Fort Sumter and Morris Island, with the threat that in case of non-compliance he would open fire on the city. Four hours were allowed for a reply. This dispatch was received at the headquarters of the department at 10.45 p. m. The enemy carried his threat into execution by throwing several shells into the city about 1.30 o'clock on the morning of the 22nd.

On the 24th, the fire on Fort Sumter lessened considerably; not more than 150 shots were thrown against it in the course of the day. Every endeavor was made to retard the approach of the besiegers to Battery Wagner. His working parties were fired on from the battery; but this had to be discounting and the embrasures closed in order to prevent our pieces from being dismounted.

Until 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the 25th of the 25th, the enemy's fire was principally directed against Fort Sumter. After that time Battery Wagner was fiercely bombardment, as well as the space between our rifle-pits and the work. At dusk, the enemy endeavored to carry the position held by our pickets, but were repulsed. Our loss was 5 killed and 19 wounded. A very large amount of ammunition and ordnance stores removed from Fort Sumter the night.

On the 26th, 130 shots were fired at Sumter, Batteries Wagner and Gregg receiving the bulk of the fire. At 5 o'clock in the evening, the enemy concentrated his fire on our rifle-pits in front of Battery Wagner. Between 7 and 8 p. m. the rifle-pits were carried by an overwhelming force, who also succeeded in capturing 76 out of 89 men of the Sixty-first North Carolina Volunteers, who formed the picket.

The fire against Fort Sumter was limited on the 27th to 4 shots.

In front of Battery Wagner the enemy had advanced his trenches to within 300 yards of the work, while the number of the enemy's guns and the accuracy of his fire prevented the opening of the embrasures in Battery Wagner excepting at night.

The honorable Secretary of War informed me by telegraph, in answer to a request that I had made for the services as boatmen of some of the sailors stationed in Savannah, that the Secretary of the Navy declining sending them, and urged detail of men. I replied by letter, setting forth the fact that the army in this department was already depleted by details for the navy, and that no more men could be spared. The importance of keeping our water transportation to Morris Island in an effective condition wa represented, and that without an additional force of boatman it could not be preserved; further, that the iron-clads at Savannah are safely sheltered behind obstructions, and, were a portion of their crews sent to Charleston, they could be returned in the event of an emergency there.

On the 28th, the enemy was extremely quiet, firing only 6 shots at Sumter; but his approaches toward Battery Wagner advanced rapidly, notwithstanding the fire directed upon him from Gregg, the James Island batteries, and the sharpshooters in Battery Wagner.

The enemy did not fire at Fort Sumter during the 29th, but worked industriously at his fortification on Morris Island. His advanced works were shelled throughout the day by Battery Wagner, Fort Moultrie, and the James Island batteries.

Page 85 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.