Today in History:

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


trous. As it is, we have cause of congratulation that the neglect of the officer in charge of the boat to use the necessary precautions has resulted in so small a loss.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Commanding.

Captain W. F. NANCE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

FORT MOULTRIE, September 3, 1863.

[COLONEL: ] On the night of the 30th of August, a dispatch was sent to this post from district headquarters enjoining unusual vigilance against any attempt on the part of the enemy to run by the batteries under cover of night. Officers and men were required to sleep at the guns, and at 1.30 a. m. I was informed by the officer of the day of the approach of one of the enemy's boats. On looking out from the parapet, we could easily observe a low, dark boat coming in from the direction of the enemy's fleet, and exactly in the course in which the monitors had come on two preceding nights. The boat being then to the south of Morris Island, I waited until she came in nearer, to be sure of our range, and ordered fire opened from a 10-inch columbian. After 3 or 4 shots had been fired, the boat appeared to stop, and I then for the first time saw what I supposed to be a candle-light. Supposing it might be tended as a signal, I ordered firing to cease, when even this light disappeared, and I again ordered fire opened. After firing awhile, I saw a signal light on Cumming's Point, when I again ceased firing. After the fire had ceased, I saw a light on Fort sumter. A small boat then came ashore, and the captain of the steamer came into the fort. I asked him why he had not showed a signal? He said he "did not have a light on board, but that a candle had been shown." I asked him why he had come in that way? He said he had been delayed at Cumming's Point, and told the officer in charge he would have to come in round the buoy. The night, though dark, was starlit, and when the boat was first seen she was below Morris Island. Not a light of any kind-except what I have described-was seen. Not a sound of a whistle, or escape of steam, heard; not a cry or sound of any kind. After the captain had been her some minutes a telegram from Sumter arrived.

We are not allowed to pass in our out a boast of any kind, either by day or night, without having received notice, and on preconcerted signals. This boat was coming form the direction of the enemy, in the track always pursued by the enemy, and while we were expecting an enemy, we had had no notice and saw no light or signal of any kind. I could see with a glass that the steamer was not a monitor, but beyond that could not tell anything, and had it not been for the light on Cumming's Point, which made me suspect her character (together with the fact that Cumming's Point was not firing), I would very soon have opened form all the guns, when the loss of life must have been far greater.


Major, Commanding Fort Moultrie.

[Lieutenant Colonel JOHN F. LAY.]

[P. S.]-After I had first ceased firing, Colonel Butler came into the fort and told me to resume firing. I fired a few shots more, and