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12 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements

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Page 12 Chapter LXV. S. C., S. GA., MID. & FLA., & WEST. N. C.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Abbott, Seventh New Hampshire Infantry, of second assault on Battery Wagner, July 18.*

Morris Island, S. C., November 6, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers in the assault on Fort Wagner on the 18th of July, 1863:

Colonel H. S. Putnam, then the commander of the regiment, was on the 14th of July placed in command of the second Brigade, Seymour's division, and consequently the command of the regiment devolved upon myself. Pursuant to orders the regiment formed upon the beach, near the signal station, at 9 a. m. of July 18, composing a part of Putnam's brigade and occupying its right. This position was retained during the entire day while the bombardment of Fort Wagner by the batteries and the fleet was in progress. At about an hour before sunset I received orders from Colonel Putnam to loda and put the regiment into close column by division, which was at once done. A few moments after, by order of Colonel Putnam, I caused the muskets to be uncapped. Colonel Punam then rode to the signal station, where he held a short consultation with General Gillmore, and on returning, by his order, the brigade advanced. Moving up the beach in the order above mentioned to within about 150 yards of the beacon-house, we were deployed into line so that the brigade was in column by battalion. It was now that we began to received the fire of the enemy's artillery. In this order we advanced until we arrived near where our batteries then were (first parallel) when we massed, in order to pass them upon the beach, and having advanced to a point a little beyond where was afterward established our second parallel, we were again deployed into line. At this time the fire of the enemy was very severe and we were ordered to lie down to avoid it. Soon, however, the order was given to advance, and we moved on the enemy's works. Whikle lying down, and immediately after we rose to advance, we met the stragglers of the First Brigade retreating. The numbers we such as led me to suppose that a retreat had been ordered. In advancing from the point where we laid down the left on my line was obstructed by the marsh and broken, but the companies thus thrown from their position came up promptly by obliquing to the right.

The center of the line reached the works nearly opposite the south-eastern bastion, while the right and left wings, respectively, were opposite the eastern and southern faces of the works, but on account of the depth of the ditch and the water the least difficult place to cross was near the angles, and hence the left wing moved in that direction. The moat the approach to the bastion were swept by the enfilaning fire of howitzers, besides being under the fire of infantry from behind the parapets on the western and eastern faces, and hence here was our heaviest loss. In the face of this deadly fire the attempt was made to cross the moat and mount the parapet, the men being gallantly led or urged on by their officers, but in a brief time the other regiments of the brigade came up, all were mingled together, the regiments pressing upon and mingling with each other, and, as in the darkness one man could hardly be distinguished from another, all


* See also VOL. XXVIII, Part I, p. 363.


Page 12 Chapter LXV. S. C., S. GA., MID. & FLA., & WEST. N. C.

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