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55 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 55 Chapter I. OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.

42-pounder shot, which shattered the bolts and scattered the fragments between the cannoneers. The proper working of this windows, however, was not interfered with by this occurrence, but in a half hour after this columbiad recoiled with such violence as to brake the laver-bar by which the window was lifted. This casualty prevented the use of this gun until the following morning, several engineers being engaged for the purpose of repairing it. After the second shot from the same place, and, until the surrender, columbiad No. 2 was fought with its shutter open permanently. The fire of the Iron battery was directed during the first day at the guns in barbette and those in the casemates. Major Anderson directed his fire for four consecutive hours, from 7 to 11 o'clock a . m., at the Iron battery, striking it seven times. he then pointed his guns at the mortar battery of Cummings Point, and making no impression upon the unbroken wall of sand he turned his attention to the 42-pounders, thrusting at successive intervals their muzzles along the sides of their palmetto embrasures. At 4 o'clock p. m. the gunners at Fort Sumteer ceased firing towards Morris Island, the batteries pointing in that direction being completely silenced. The rifled cannon did great execution, two of its balls passing entirely through the walls of Fort Sumter.

On the morning of the 13th we attempted to breach with our columbiads by concentrating our ire upon a point to the right of the sallyport, intending thus to effect another object at the same time, viz, by the ricochet of the ball to beat away the traverse of granite, which had ben built up for the purpose of protecting the doorway from and enfilading fire. We had fired but a few shots when a shell from the mortar battery at Cummings Point fell upon the northwestern portion of the roof of the fort. After the lapse of some minutes we perceived the smoke issuing from that quarter. Soon flames burst upward. From that moment until the flagstaff was shot down seven-second shells were fired rapidly from the Iron battery, aimed in such a manner as to scatter the flame and to increase the fury of the conflagration. I refer you, dear sir, to the marks of shot and shell upon the outer and interior walls of the fort to enable you to form an adequate idea of the accuracy with which the columbiads, the mortars, the rifled cannon, the 42-pounders of the Cummings Point batteries were aimed and fired.

The posts of the officers of the Palmetto Guard were as follows: Captain Cuthbert commanded and directed the fire of the Iron battery; First Lieutenant Holmes, assisted by Lieutenant Armstrong, of the Citadel Academy commanded the mortar battery; Second Lieutenant Brownfield commanded and directed the fire of the 42-pounders; Captain Thomas, of the Citadel Academy, with a squad of the Palmetto Guard, had charge of the rifled cannon; to Major Stevens was assigned the post of suprinteding the working of all these batteries, and he was so recognized; Lieutenant Buist acted as gunner to Numbers 3 columbiad during the greater part of the engagement, aiming many of his shots very accurately.

Lieutenants Holmes, Brownfield, and Buist behaved throughout the conflict with distinguished courage and gallantry. Major Stevens, Captain Thomas, and Lieutenant Armstrong, by their coolness, bravery, and skill, gave the highest evidence of their long military training. Lieutenant Brownfield's 42-pounders were fired with great precision, and to his industry and pride in his battery is attributable the fine working condition of his guns. To Mrs. Phillips and Mr. Campbell much praise is due for their untiring devotion to their particular department of the


Page 55 Chapter I. OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.

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