Today in History:

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

Page 121 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

12 m. During the greater part of the morning the weather has been too hazy for close observation. The enemy have been firing heavily on Wagner from monitors, Ironsides, and land batteries.

5 a.m. Four loads of troops taken by river steamer from Folly to Morris Island.

Inside of bar-forty-one vessels, including Ironsides, six monitors, flag-ship, three sloops of war, three gunboats, six mortar-boats, &c. Off the bar-eight vessels.

6 p.m. In the last twelve hours, our batteries have thrown 128 shot and shell, while they have fired 983, majority of which were directed against Wagner.

At 1 a.m. the enemy attacked Cumming's Point in barges, opening with a heavy fire from boat howitzers, together with a rapid musketry fire. At the same time the enemy's land batteries commenced shelling Wagner rapidly, and also that portion of the island between Gregg and Wagner. The attack lasted twenty or thirty minutes, and resulted in the repulse of the enemy, and the fire gradually subsisted on both sides.

Major Edward Manigault reports the arrival at Battery Haskell of a double-banded [rifled] 24-pounder with carriage, &c. Also fifty-four very heavy bolts for the same gun which he thinks will strain it.

At 7 p.m. he received notice that Morris Island is to be evacuated to-night, though up to 12 midnight there was nothing to indicate that such a movement was intended.

Honorable Secretary of War telegraphs to-day that orders were sent yesterday to Wilmington to forward from there the other large Blakely gun, the carriage, chassis, &c., of which left Wilmington this morning for the city.

The following dispatches were received to-day from Colonel Keitt, commanding Battery Wagner:

12.45 a.m. I had about 900, and not 1,400 men. About 100 of these to-day were killed and wounded. The parapet of salient is badly breached; the 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 Lee, the engineer, has read this, and agrees. Act promptly and answer at once.

8.45 a.m. Incessant fire from Yankee mortar and Parrott battery. Cannot work negroes; better look after them promptly. Had 30 or 40 soldiers wounded in an attempt to work. Will do all I can, but fear the garrison will be destroyed without injuring the enemy. The fleet is opening, but I hope that we may stand till to-night.

10.30 a.m. Boats must be at Cumming's Point early to-night, without fail.

The following letter, reporting the condition of Battery Wagner, was also received from Colonel Keitt:

The enemy will by might 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, excluding artillery. The engineers agree in opinion with me, or, rather, shape my opinion. I shall say no more.

At p.m., the commanding general issued detailed orders for the evacuation of Batteries Wagner and Gregg.

Page 121 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.