Today in History:

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


Five schooners, four brigs, seven steamers, three gunboats, one tender, and one bark in the harbor.

The fleet at Hilton Head to-day is two steam frigates, two sloops of war, seven gunboats, and fifty-three transports.

General Walker telegraphs that out of 6 of the Yankee telegraph party, Colonel [William] Stokes has captured 1 chaplain, 1 lieutenant, and 1 negro soldier; also the Yankee operator. The remaining negroes are being pursued with dogs.

A portion of [George T.] Anderson's Georgia brigade arrived this evening from Virginia. Two more brigades are expected.

[Colonel Robert H. Anderson assumes command of outposts on Sullivan's Island.*]

September 14, 1863.-The enemy are reported to be working industriously on Morris Island, chiefly at Battery Wagner, but also at Gregg.

At about 4 p.m. a large party could be plainly seen from Battery Haskell working on a new battery or a covered way about the center of Black Island.

Fire was immediately opened on them from Haskell with 8-inch seacoast howitzer and from Tatom with an 8-[inch] siege howitzer. Eight shots were fired from the former and 6 from the latter. Most of the shots fell short, and many did not explode.+ The effect, however, was to prevent the enemy from prosecuting their work any further for the time being. Mortar fire is still kept up day and night from Moultrie and Battery K, Sullivan's Island, and direct fire from Simkins and Cheves. Seventy-nine shells were fired from Simkins and 48 from Cheves.

The enemy's fleet off the harbor to-day is Ironsides, five monitors, and twenty-six other vessels.

The other monitor is reported by Colonel Johnson to be at Hilton Head.

September 15, 1863.-The enemy continue very quiet, but are working steadily on their Morris Island batteries. About dusk they threw a few shell at Battery Simkins.

Thirty-three shots were fired to-day by Simkins and 100 by Cheves. At about 11.05 a.m. the magazine at this latter battery blew up, killing Lieutenant L- and 4 men and wounding 2 others. ++ It is thought the accident occurred from the premature explosion of a shell from which the sergeant of the magazine was endeavoring to extract a short-time fuse, in order to replace it by a longer one. As all 4 men in the magazine were killed, the cause of the explosion can be a matter of conjecture. None of the guns at the battery were injured or dismounted.

The enemy still have a working party on Black Island. They were fired on from Battery Cheves with 10-inch seacoast mortar and 8-inch seacoast howitzers. The majority of the shots fell short. A few shot were also fired at the party from the 4-inch Blakely, but the result was very unsatisfactory.+ The elevation used was 13, 14, 15, and 16 30'. It is believed, however, that the enemy were seriously annoyed.

A scouting party returned to-day from Long Island. They discovered no signs of the enemy.


*Anderson's report.

+Major Edward Manigault's report.

++See September 15, 1863, Explosion at Battery Cheves, p.730.