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20 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 20 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

a small flagstaff on one of the batteries. At one time during the day a revenue schooner which had been seized by the insurgents was observed lying at anchor between Sullivan's Island and Mount Pleasant. Lieutenant Snyder, Corps of Engineers, who had charge at this time of the battery firing in this direction, directed two or three shots at her with such effect as to put one of them through the vessel and cause her to haul down her colors, the flag of the so-called Confederate States, to hoist her anchor and sails, and get out of range as soon as possible.

One or two shots were thrown at the hulks which had been anchored in the channel, on a line between Cummings Point and Fort Moultrie, to be fired at night if our fleet should attempt to come in. As no person appeared on board, the fire was not continued in this direction.

The barracks caught fire three times during the day, from shells, apparently, but each time the flames, being in the first or second stories, were extinguished by a pump and application of the means at hand. Peter Hart, who was formerly a sergeant in Major Anderson's company, and employed by me at the time as a carpenter, was very active and efficient in extinguishing the flames.

The effect of the enemy's fire upon Fort Sumter, during the day was very marked in respect to the vertical fire. This was so well directed and so well sustained, that from the seventeen mortars engaged in firing 10-inch shells, one-half of the shells came within or exploded above the parapet of the fort, and only about ten buried themselves in the soft earth of the parade without exploding. In consequence of this precision of vertical fire, Major Anderson decided not to man the upper tier of guns, as by doing so the loss of men, notwithstanding the traverses and bomb-proof shelters that I had constructed, must have been great. These guns were therefore only fired once or twice by some men who ventured upon the parapet for this purpose. In doing this they managed without much care, producing little or no effect upon the enemy, besides doing injury to the guns. At the third fire of the 10-inch columbiad at the right gorge angle, it was omitted to throw the friction wheels out of bearing, and consequently in the recoil the gun ran entirely off its chassis, overturning itself, and in its fall dismounting the 8-inch sea-coast howitzer next to it.

The direction of the enemy's shells being from the northeast, north, southwest, and southeast, sought every part of the work, and the fuses being well graduated, exploded in most instances just within the line of parapet. To this kind of fire no return was made. The four 8-inch columbiads that I had planted in the parade to be used as mortars on Cummings Point were not used, neither was the 10-inch columbiad, arranged to fire shot and shells towards the city. The hot-shot furnaces were not used nor opened. The effect of the direct fire from the enemy's guns was not so marked as the vertical. For several hours firing from the commencement a large proportion of their shot missed the fort. Subsequently it improved, and did considerable damage to the roof and on the gorge. The aim of the guns during the day, with the exception of batteries Nos. 1 and 2, on Cummings Point, appeared to be directed to dismount the guns of our barbette tier. Those from Fort Moultrie succeeded in dismounting an 8-inch columbiad, and in striking on its side and cracking a second 8-inch columbiad, both situated on the right flank. The roof of the barracks on this flank and the stair towers were much damaged by this fire.

The shots from the guns in the batteries on the west end of Sullivan's Island did not produce any considerable direct effect, but many of them


Page 20 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

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