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41 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 41 Chapter I. OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.

to redouble their fire upon an alarm. The night passed away with one alert, during which the mortar practice was increased in rapidity for a short time, and a few shots were fired from the different batteries; but it becoming apparent that the alarm was groundless the vertical fire was resumed, according to orders, and kept up until the day dawned.

Believing that it was impossible that the fleet outside would permit the cannonade to proceed without an attempt to re-enforce during the day, and the men of my command having been exposed to a pelting rain during the night, and feeling confident that we had perfect command of the enemy's parapet, it had been determined to fire but two or three guns from the Sumter battery of Fort Moultrie, and, while keeping up a brisk mortar practice and fire from the enfilade battery, to save the ammunition of the Point and floating batteries to repel an attempt to re-enforce. Orders were given to such effect, and the two guns were opened from the Sumter battery of this fort, the other batteries firing in order. Fort Sumter opened early and spitefully, and paid especial attention to Fort Moultrie-almost every shot grazing the crest of the parapet, and crashing through the quarters. Our defenses were still uninjured and our losses trifling.

Finding that I could spare men and still keep the channel battery manned, the fire was somewhat increased, until about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 13th smoke was seen to issue from the roof of the quarters of Fort Sumter, and it was evident that a conflagration had commenced. The entire Sumter battery of Fort Moultrie was manned at once, and worked with the utmost rapidity, officers and men viewing in their energy. Captain Calhoun, First Lieutenants Wagner, Rhett, and Preston, Second, Lieutenants Sitgreaves, Mitchell, and Parker, of the Artillery, and Mr. F. D. Blake, acting engineer, all superintended the working of the guns, which were manned by detachments from Company B, relieved at times by detachments from Company A, with a skill, and precision rarely excelled. Indeed, I doubt whether an artillery fire at such a distance with ordinary guns has ever equaled it in precision. The shot, both hot and cold, crashed into the quarters of Fort Sumter and along the parapet, rendering the extinction of the flames difficult, and lighting up new places to windward. It became evident soon that the enemy was worsted, but to insure the result orders were passed to each of the batteries to redouble their fire.

Captain Hamilton, Captain Hallonquist, and Lieutenant Yates, and Valentine had anticipated the order, and Captain Butler soon increased the rapidity of his mortar practice; nevertheless from his casemates the enemy still poured shot thick and fast upon Fort Moultrie until about 12.45 p.m., when his flagstaff was cut away, and it slackened. The thick and stifling smoke arising from the ruins of his buildings told plainly that the time for surrender had nearly come. Nevertheless he hoisted a new flag over the crest of his parapet, and our fire, which had been ordered to cease when his flagstaff fell, was reopened with all the vigor we could command. The smoke still poured out of the ruins, and the fire from Fort Sumter having slackened again the order was again given to cease, but upon his recommencing we reopened.

While the enemy's flag was still flying and he was still firing upon us, a boat was observed to leave Cummings Point and pull towards Fort Sumter. By my order a shot was sent ahead of it, but it continued on and landed.

At 1.15 p.m., a white flag having been hoisted alongside the United States ensign, the firing ceased. Brigadier-General Dunovant, who was present in Fort Moultrie, immediately sent Captain Hartstene, C. S. N.,


Page 41 Chapter I. OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.

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