Today in History:

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


following statement as regards the sinking of the steamer Sumter on the 31st of August last:

He was asleep when the steamer left Cumming's Point with the troops that than been relieved from Morris Island. Just before the steamer reached the Cumming's Point buoy, he was awakened by order of Major Pringle, and went to the pilot-house, where shortly afterward he saw the buoy on the starboard bow. The first shot from Moultrie was fired, he thinks, before the boat rounded the buoy. After 2 or 3 shots were fired he had the whistle blow; it was twice. But as it appeared to do no good, he then thought of having the small boat sent to Sullivan's Island, to have the firing stopped.

Looking for the boat, he found that Captain Riley was getting it ready. He left, with Captain Riley, and when about half way toward Sullivan's Island, saw a light on the steamer, just between the wheel and pilot house on the starboard side. He had seen no light on the steamer before that time. The fort was still firing, however, and continued to until the small boat had actually reached the beach.

He accompanied Captain Riley to Fort Moultrie, and the officers were informed that the steamer they were firing into was the the Sumter, one of our own harbor boats. He went back with Captain Riley to the steamer, and afterward used the small boat to go to Fort Johnson, with the hope of getting the steamer Chesterfield to come to the assistance of the troops on board the Sumter. The Chesterfield being out of order, he collected what small boats he could get, and the navy furnishing a few, he made way gain toward the Sumter. It was then about 6 a. m. The troops were transferred from the steamer to Fort Sumter, and about two boat-loads to Sullivan's Island.

All the troops being then removed, and it being, as far as he can judge, about 9 a. m., he came back to Charleston.


[Inclosure Numbers 5.]

BATTERY BEE, September 3, 1863.

Lieutenant-Colonel LAY:

COLONEL: In obedience to your request, I have the honor to make the following statement in regard to the steamer Sumter on the night of the 30th August, 1863:

I was aroused during the night of the 30th of August, and from habit looked over the bay to see if there was any change in the condition of things; thought I observed a dark object in the direction of Cumming's Point; brought a strong glass and thought I made out one of our river steamers; went to bed. Some time after heard firing; examined again with the glass, made out the same steamer very far toward the fleet; observed her for some time, and thought she was turning to come in. She showed a light, and I heard what I thought was a feeble whistle; concluded it was one of our steamers, and, not feeling myself responsible, went to bed again. I did not know until the next day that our fire was at that boat.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant, First South Carolina [Regular] Infantry.