Today in History:

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


T. Beauregard, Major General J. F. Gilmer, Brigadier General R. S. Ripley, Brigadier General Thomas Jordan, Lieutenant Colonel D. B. Harris.

A discussion until 10 p.m. then took place relative to the condition of the works, the probable plan of attack of the enemy, our means of defense, of transportation, and reasons for prolonging our foothold on Morris Island, the result of which was the determination by the commanding general to hold Moris Island so long as communication with it could be maintained at night by means of row-boats, but for which purpose sailors or men able to handle boats and oars with efficiency were essential. It was agreed that the holding of Morris Island as long as possible was most important to the safety and free use of the harbor of Charleston, and our ability to keep up easy communication with the works on Sullivan's and James Islands, in view of which it was thought proper to renew applications by telegraph to the Secretaries of War and Navy Departments for some 200 sailors or oarsmen, which was done at once.

It was further decided that the five heavy guns on Morris Island, being necessary, morally and physically, for the defense of the positions to the last extremity, and such being the difficulties [if not, indeed, the insurmountable obstacles] in the way of their removal at this time, that no effort should be made to save them, and consequently that they should be ultimately destroyed, with as much of the works as practicable, when further defense was abandoned.

The conference was then adjourned until an answer should be received to application for oarsmen.

CHARLESTON, S. C., September 7, [?] 1863.

On the morning of the 6th instant, the dispatches herewith, marked A, and, subsequently, a letter, marked B, from Colonel L. M. Keitt, commanding Confederate States forces, Morris Island, having been received, reporting that Battery Wagner was no longer tenable, and that the garrison must be sacrificed if the position were not evacuated that night, detailed orders were issued for the withdrawal of the garrison and destruction of the works and armament, contingent on the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, chief engineer, who was directed to repair at once to Battery Wagner, and inspect and report its condition for further defense. His report is appended, marked C.

Meantime Flag-Officer Tucker was conferred with, and called on for such means of assistance in the withdrawal of the garrison as were at his disposition, and every possible arrangement was made.

The orders and an accompanying memorandum, marked D and E, were finally issued, and reached Morris Island about 6 p.m. Orders under instructions from these headquarters, had been issued several days previously, by the district commander, regulating the manner of destroying the work and armament in case of such an exigency. [See paper marked F.]

Respectfully submitted.


Chief of Staff.

[Inclosure A.]

MORRIS ISLAND, September 5, 1863. [Received September 6,12.45 a.m.]

Captain [W. F.] NANCE,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

I had 900 and not 1,400 men. About 100 of these to-day were killed and wounded. The parapet of salient is badly breached. The