Today in History:

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

Page 103 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

whole fort is much weakened. A repetition to-morrow of to-day's fire will make the fort almost a ruin. The mortar fire is still very heavy and fatal, and no important work can be done. Is it desirable to sacrifice the garrison? To continue to hold it is to do so. Captain [F. D.] Lee, the engineer, has read this, and agrees. Act promptly, and answer at once.


Colonel, Commanding.


The above was received by me at 1.30 a.m. September 6.


[Inclosure B.]


Captain [W. F.] NANCE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Charleston, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: The enemy will by night advance their parallel to the moat of this battery. The garrison must be taken away immediately after dark, or it will be destroyed or captured. It is idle to deny that the heavy Parrott shell have breached the walls and are knocking away the bomb-proofs. Pray have boats immediately after dark at Cumming's Point to take away the men. I say deliberately that this must be done or the garrison will be sacrificed. I am sending the wounded and sick now to Cumming's Point, and will continue to do so, if possible, until all are gone. I have a number of them now there. I have not in the garrison 400 effective men, including artillery. The engineers agree in opinion with me, or, rather, shape my opinion. I shall say no more.


[Inclosure C.]

OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER, Charleston, S. C., August 6, 1863.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I visited our works on Morris Island to-day, and, in consideration of their condition; of our inability to repair damages at Battery Wagner as heretofore; of the dispirited state of its garrison, and of the progress in the enemy's sap, I am reluctantly constrained to recommend an immediate evacuation of both Batteries Wagner and Gregg. The thirty-six hours' severe bombardment to which these batteries have been subjected, confining the troops to the shelter of the bomb-proofs, has resulted in so dispiriting the garrison at Wagner as to render it unsafe, in the opinion of its chief officers, to rely upon it to repel an assault should the enemy attempt one. The head of the enemy's sap is within 40 yards of the salient of the battery, and he is making rapid progress in pushing it forward, unmolested by the fire of a single gun, and with scarcely any annoyance from our sharpshooters.

In consequence of the accuracy of fire of his land batteries, which are now in close proximity to Battery Wagner-say from 500 to 800 yards-aided by reverse fire from his fleet, it is impossible, in the opinion of the officers of the fort, to keep up a fire either of artillery

Page 103 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.