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40 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 40 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

battery; one 9-inch Dahlgren gun, two 32-pounders, two 42-pounders at the Point and on board the floating battery, and the six 10-inch mortars bore upon Fort Sumter.

A strict watch was kept all night, but no attempt to send re-enforcements into Fort Sumter was observed. At 4 1/2 o'clock on the morning of the 12th a shell was seen from the batteries of Fort Johnson, and in accordance with orders the signal for general action was made at once. The command went quickly to their posts, and very soon every battery bearing upon the fort had commenced. As it was still dark the firing was very slow, but after dawn the direct fire was quickened, until every gun which bore upon Sumter was in quick operation, and this was continued at the regular intervals presented throughout the day. The enemy at first only replied to the Cummings Point batteries, but in a short time opened a brisk fire on the Point and floating batteries of this command with great precision. Shortly afterward he commenced firing on the enfilade batteries, but did not open upon Fort Moultrie.

At about 8 o'clock I visited the batteries to the west of this fort, and noticed the admirable conduct of the officers and men. Lieutenant Blanding and Flemming, of the Artillery, at mortar battery Numbers 1, and Lieutenants Valentine and Burnet, of the Infantry, at the enfilade battery, were promptly and energetically performing their duties. Captain Hallonquist was directing his fire to enfilade and drive the enemy from his parapet. At the Point battery Captain J. R. Hamilton was firing with great precision and skill, and from his battery I noticed First Lieutenants Yates and Harleston on board the floating battery working their guns with all the rapidity which the order of firing permitted. I next visited Captain Butler's mortar battery, which he was working energetically.

Fort Sumter opened upon Fort Moultrie about 8.30 o'clock in the morning, and from that time a steady and continuous fire was kept up on us from his casemate 32-pounders and 42-pounders throughout the day. This was replied to by the nine guns of the Sumter battery of this fort, under Lieutenants Rhett and Mitchell, and two guns of the oblique battery, under lieutenant Parker, until 9 a.m., when Lieutenant Rhett's command was relieved by the detachment of Company A, under Lieutenants Wagner, Preston, and Sitgreaves.

Captain Calhoun arranged the reliefs, and the officers and men of Companies A, G, and D worked the Sumter battery of this fort alternately until evening. During this time Captain Calhoun kept his channel guns manned and ready for action against the fleet, which was confidently expected to attempt an entrance. At different times during the afternoon five hot were fired upon the quarters at Fort Sumter. I have learned that they were thrice set on fire. Meantime the enemy's shot had told with great effect upon the quarters of Fort Moultrie, continually perforating and breaking them up; but our defenses were strong, the merlons and traverses heavy and well secured, and no material damage was done to our defenses, although the principal fire of the enemy was directed on this fort during the whole of the afternoon. The direct fire ceased with the light, but the mortars kept up the bombardment at the prescribed intervals.

The night set in dark and rainy, and it was feared that the enemy would certainly attempt to re-enforce. All the batteries on the island were visited, and especial vigilance enjoined. The channel batteries were kept manned, the various enfilading guns were all in readiness to sweep the faces ad landings at Fort Sumter, and the mortar batteries


Page 40 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

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