Today in History:

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

Page 92 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

I also take pleasure in recording the services of Colonel Alfred Rhett, who, during the siege of Battery Wagner, has command of Fort Sumter, and with his brave garrison endured a long and terrific bombardment from the enemy's batteries by land and sea. His conduct throughout gained my approval and satisfaction.

I commenced, also, to the attention of the War Department the indefatigable zeal of my personal and general staff, who on all occasions were found equal to the calls made on their energy, activity, and devotion to the service.

Respectfully submitted.



General S. COOPER,

Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.

Charleston, S. C. September 30, 1863.

GENERAL: The published report of Brigadier-General Gillmore,* of the 7th instant, to his Government, relative to his acquisition of Batteries Wagner and Gregg, contains several efforts, which I feel called upon to correct.

1. Seventy-five men were not taken on Morris Island, for only two boats' crews, about 19 men and 27 soldiers, or about 46 men in all, were captured by the enemy's armed barges between Cumming's Point and Fort Sumter.

2. Colonel Keitt's captured dispatches could not have shown that the garrison of Wagner and Gregg amounted to between 1,500 and 1,600 effective men on the day of the evacuation (6th instant), for Colonel Keitt reported that morning 900 men all told, only about two-thirds of whom could be considered effectives, the others being wounded or more or less disabled from exposure for so long a period to the weather and the incessant fire (day and night) of the enemy's land and naval batteries. The forces holding these works and the north end of Morris island during the fifty-eight days' siege varied from 1,000 to 1,200 men, seldom exceeding the latter number when it could be avoided.

3. Battery Wagner was not a work of the most formidable kind, but an ordinary field work with thick parapets, but with ditches of little depth. The sand thrown up by the enemy's shells and drifted by the winds during so long a siege had nearly filled up the ditches in many places, and had partially covered up the explosive shells, spiked planks, and pikes placed in the ditch for its defense.

4. The bomb-proof of Wagner could not contain 1,800 men, or more than about 600, the garrison of the work being about 800 men.

5. "Nineteen pieces of artillery and a large supply of excellent ammunition were captured." The pieces of heavy and light artillery left in Wagner and Gregg were more or less damaged, and all with their vents not too much enlarged were spiked. The carriages, chaniss, &c., were more or less disabled by the enemy's shot and shell. Only 1,800 (200 in Wagner, 1,600 in Gregg) pounds of ammunition were left, to explode the magazines and bomb-proofs; but, unfortunately, through some accident, the fuses left burning did not ignite the powder.


* See inclosure, p. 93.


Page 92 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.