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9 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I

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Page 9 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

final assault is made, is always an operation attended with imminent peril in its execution and great uncertainty in its results. The best troops can seldom be mace to advance under the fire of even a few well-served pieces of artillery. The hazard of such an undertaking, great as it is under ordinary circumstances, when both parties operate on firm ground, becomes immeasurably augmented when the assaulting column had to approach in small boats from a distant point, exposed to full view and constant artillery fire, disembark and form upon an open beach in the presence of the enemy, and finally advance to the attack under the combined fire of artillery and small-arms.

51. Yet these were the difficult conditions of the problem so successfully solved in the descent upon Morris Island on the 10th of July.

52. It was known from deserters and fugitives that the enemy had there in position from ten to twelve guns of various calibers, and that these were so arranged in batteries of single pieces that they each cohere with their fire not only the north and of Folly Island, held by our advanced pickets, and the main ship-channel abreast of Morris Island, but could be so traversed as to sweep the entire length of Light-House Inlet, which separates the two islands.

53. Three methods of conducting the assault suggested themselves. First. To place the men in small boats in Stono River, tow them out to sea, and land them in the surf at daybreak on the sea point of Morris Island.

Second. To accumulate on the north end of Folly Island the boats required for the assaulting column, keep them concealed there until the moment of attack, and then launch them under fire, embark the men, and cross over.

Third. To embark the men in Folly River, and pass in the night-time during high tide through the shallow creeks into Light-House Inlet, and make the assault from that direction. This last-named method of attack was adopted.

54. In the meantime, between the middle of June and the 6th of July, ordnance and ordnance stores were quietly accumulated on Folly Island.

55. The following armament, designed to operate against, and, if possible, dismount the enemy's guns nearest the landing place, and therefore the most to be dreaded, and also to cover the debarkation of our troops on Morris Island, but more particularly their re-embarkation in case of repulse, was secretly place in position on the north end of Folly Island, completely masked from the enemy's view by the sand ridges and undergrowth.

Kind of guns. No of guns.

Battery A. Rifled 3-inch field.................................. 2

B. 20-pounder siege Parrott............................. 4

C. 30-pounder Parrott................................... 4

D. 10-inch mortar siege................................. 6

E. 3-inch rifled field.................................. 2

F. 10-pounder Parrott field............................. 6

G. 30-pounder Parrott................................... 8

H. 10-inch mortar siege................................. 4

I. 3-inch Wiard rifled field............................ 6

K. 8-inch mortar siege.................................. 5

(See Plate II.*)

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*Reference is to "Map of siege operations against the defenses of Charleston Harbor, 1863, showing batteries covering the descent upon Morris Island, July 10," &c. It is to appear in Atlas.

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Page 9 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

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