Today in History:

11 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements


teers, One hundredth New York Volunteers, Sixty-seventh Ohio, Sixty-second Ohio. The total force of the brigade was about 1,700 men. The One hundredth Regiment, having three companies absent on other duty, numbered on that day 465 men. At about 150 yards south of the beacon-house the brigade, then in column of companies, was halted and the regiments deployed. While in this formation I lost three men by a solid shot from Fort Gregg. I endeavored at this time to obtain some information from Colonel Putnam of the plan of attack and of the manner in which the approach was to be made. Colonel Putnam informed me that he knew of no plan, and that we were to follow the leading brigade. Within half an hour after the brigade had been halted the Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers was ployed into column of companies and moved forward. I was about to do the same with my regiment, although I had received no orders, when Colonel Putnam directed me to remain where I was. Shortly after I received an order from Colonel Putnam, through Major Henderson, of the Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers, to move forward, and I gained the lost distance by taking the double-quick.

We made one or more halts, and our loss from the fire of the enemy during these halts was very great; still while daylight lasted not a man from my regiment unless wounded left the ranks. I marched to the ditch of Fort Wagner in line of battle, my right on the beach, my left fronting the bastion next the marsh. At this time the marsh (which covers near Wagner two-thirds of the front of that work) was soft and full of water holes, and the approach in line was difficult. The ditch in front of my left was deep, miry, and filled with water, and that portion of my regiment fronting the curtain was subjected to a galling cross-fire, both of artillery and infantry, from the bastions which it connected. A few companies on the right of my regiment succeeded in crossing the ditch near the beach and mounted the paapet; the center and left found it impossible to do so. I mounted that portion of the parapet in front of the bomb-proofs with a few of my men and was fired upon from the entrances of two bomb-proof galleries. It was then so dark that friends and foes could not be distinguished. In my opinion no man entered Fort Wagner that night except those who are now prisoners of war. Some 200 of our troops may have gained the parapet, but on account of the fire of the enemy in the bomb-proofs were obliged to seek safety by lying flat or crouching on the superior slope of the work. The only point where the ditch could be crossed by troops was the most defensible part of the work, as the top of the bomb-proofs formed a cavalier, form which the riflemen of the enemy could and did command the whole work. I could not determine from my position who were friens of foes, and eescending from the slope I endeavored to collect men in the ditch for the purpose of assisting in the capture of one of the guns then firing heavily on our reserves. Shorty after Colonel Putnam was killed and the order came to leave the work. I lost 5 officers and 176 men in the assault. I do not think that from its commencement to its termination our forces at any time held and portion of the work, or without more information of its plan than we had on the occasion of the assault in could be taken at night.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel One hundredth New York Volunteers.


Headquarters U. S. Forces, Morris Island, S. C.