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supports did not come, Strong ordered his brigade to retire, which was done steadily and quietly. Soon afterward the other brigade came up, and, as far as possible, atoned for their past tardiness by their present deeds of valor. Rushing impetuously up the glacis, undeten-ed by the fury of the enemy, whose fire was unintermitted, several of the regiments succeeded in crossing the ditch, scaling the parapet, and descendinto the fort. Here a hand-to-hand conflict ensued; but though our men fought desperately, the enemy succeeded after a time, by aid of reinforcements, in repulsing our attack. About midnight, the order was given to retire, and the troops fell back to the rifle-pits outside of their own works. The loss on this occasion was very severe, numbering in killed, wounded and missing 1,530. The rebel loss was stated by them at about 150 killed and wounded.
An exchange of wounded prisoners was, a few days after the engagement, agreed upon, after a conference of Gen. Vodges, Col. Hall and Dr. Cravens, under a flag of truce, with Gen. Haywood and other rebel officers. On the afternoon of the 23d of July, the rebel wounded were placed on board a hospital boat, and the next day entered Charleston harbor. She was met by the steamer Alice, which had recently run the blockade, and brought the rebels a cargo of machinery and supplies. The number of wounded brought was 105, leaving 140 behind, as unable to be moved with safety. It was particularly observed that none of the wounded negro prisoners were among those
returned. On being inquired for, Col. Anderson, the officer in charge, answered, rather brusquely, that their return was a matter of future consideration with his government. Thirty-eight of the rebel wounded were delivered up, the exchange being made on parole without regard to numbers. Gen. Gillmore, in a note to Beauregard, August 5th, speaking of this keeping back the negro wounded, said, that he could not but regard the whole transaction as a palpable breach of faith on Beauregard's part, and a flagrant violation of his pledges as an officer.
Gillmore next made extensive preparations to plant new batteries, armed with the heaviest guns used in the service, so as to bombard not only Forts Wagner and Sumter, but also the city of Charleston. In the reduction of Fort Pulaski (see p. 151), the heaviest gun employed was the rifle 42-pounder. Now, 200 and 300-pounder Parrott rifle guns were brought into use; and some three weeks were spent in erecting the batteries whence they were to discharge their terrible'missiles. The nearest of these batteries were located a little short of two miles from Fort Sumter, about a quarter of a mile from Fort Wagner, and a mile from Battery Gregg. On the night of August 13th, our works were advanced within 420 yards of Wagner, without any suspicion on the part of the rebels. Soon after daylight, a fire was opened from Wagner, Gregg and Sumter, which continued for two hours, and was answered with great vigor from our batteries. On the 15th, Fort Sumter was brought under fire for the first time by our batteries, and the range accurately and carefully secured. Seven shots were fired for this purpose from a 200-pounder Parrott, at a distance of two miles and a half. One of these went through the gorge wall, making a hole four or five feet in diameter, and demonstrating the power of these guns.
On the morning of August 17th, the bombardment of Fort Sumter was begun in earnest, and continued without cessation until it was, to all intents and purposes, in ruins. Admiral Dahlgren's force moved up at the same time, and attacked Forts Gregg and Wagner. The latter was entirely silenced, and the former nearly so, between nine and ten o'clock. Two of the monitors then moved to within a mile or so of the south-east front of Sumter, and opened fire upon it. In the course of the afternoon the fleet retired, keeping up, however, a fire upon Fort Wagner, to prevent the rebels remounting the guns. The result of this active and unceasing bombardment was briefly stated by Gillmore, in a dispatch, under date of August 24th: "I have the honor to report the practical demolition of Fort Sumter as the result of our seven days' bombardment of that work, including two days of which a powerful northeasterly storm most seriously diminish
i§63 accuracv an^ effect of
our fire. ... I deem it unnecessary at present to continue the fire upon the ruins of Sumter. I have also, at great labor, and under a heavy fire from James Island, established batteries on my left, with effective range of the heart of Charleston, and have opened with them, after giving Gen.
Beauregard due notice of my intention to do so." *
Fort Sumter having been thus rendered virtually useless to the rebels, Gillmore next proceeded to perfect his operations against Fort Wagner. The siege was pressed with vigor. On the 26th of August, a fourth parallel and sap having been completed, which ex tended very close to Wagner, it was determined to gain possession of a ridge of sand which interposed and was needful for our operations. It was bravely carried by the 24th Massachusetts, and a number of prisoners taken. In the first week of September, a vigorous bombardment was kept up from the Ironsides and other vessels of the fleet and the batteries on shore. At length Gillmore's efforts were crowned with success, and on the 7th of September, Morris Island was evacuated by the rebels. Under the same date, Gillmore reported the fact to the war department at Washington, stating, among other things, that "Fort Wagner is a work of the most formidable kind, its bomb-proof shelter, capable of holding
* Allusion is here made to a correspondence between Gillmore and Beauregard. The former, on the 21st of August, sent a demand to Beauregard for the immediate evacuation of Morris Island and Fort Sumter, threatening, in case of non-compliance, to open fire upon the city of Charleston. The rebel commander being absent from his headquarters at the time did not receive the communication till the next morning, when ho replied, in his usual style, denouncing Gillmore's conduct as "atrocious, and unworthy any soldier f threatening also some terrible retaliation, and dilating upon the wickedness of firing upon a city "filled with old men, sleeping women and children." Gillmore's answer was in good temper and quite to the point. He put aside most of Beauregard's remarks as requiring no notice at his hands, and deferred for two days tho bombardment of the city.—For this and a previous correspondence in July, see Appleton's "American Annual Cyclopedia" for 1863, pp. 137—143.
1,800 men, remaining intact after the most terrible bombardment to which any work was ever subjected. We have captured nineteen pieces of artillery and a large supply of excellent ammunition. The city and harbor of Charleston are now completely covered by my guns." Several additional pieces of artillery were subsequently found, making, with the eleven guns taken when the troops first landed, an aggregate of thirty-six pieces captured on the island.*
On the night of the 8th of September, an attempt was made to gain possession of Fort Sumter. About thirty boats were fitted out, manned by over 100 sailors, under Lieut. Williams, and about 100 marines, under Capt. Macawley. The boats were towed near the fort, and the assault made; but the rebels were prepared, and repulsed the attack. Three of the boats were smashed, and all who landed were either killed or captured. Our loss numbered in all about eighty.
Although Fort Sumter was not yet occupied by our troops, nor the other powerful forts in the harbor reduced, still the army and navy, having possession of Morris Island, held the key of the position. The firing was kept up at intervals upon Charleston and Fort Sumter, which latter still enjoyed the empty privilege of flaunting the rebel flag from its walls in the face of our men. The forts on Morris Island were
* (Jillmore congratulated the army on their signal success, especially in regard to Fort Sumter: "It has yielded to your courage and patient labor. Its walls are now crumbled in ruins, its formidable batteries are silenced, and, though a hostile flag still floats over it, the fort is a harmless and helpless wreck."
enlarged and strengthened by Gillmore, so as effectually to command Fort Sumter and guard perfectly the entrance to the harbor. That part of Charleston within the reach of the shells was greatly injured, and almost entirely abandoned by its inhabitants; there was, however, but little further progress made in the siege during the remainder of the year. An attempt was made by the rebels, by way of variety, on the night of the 0th of October, to blow up the steamer Ironsides. A sort of nondescript vessel, with a cigar-shaped hull, carrying a for midable torpedo suspended to her bows, bore down upon the Ironsides, and the torpedo exploding against the sides of the frigate, a great body of water was thrown up, jarring the Ironsides, but inflicting no serious damage.
At the close of the year, the secretary of the navy, in his annual report, briefly noted the result of the operations, above spoken of, in the southern department: "Since the fleet, under Admiral Dahlgren, has remained inside the bar, and we have had possession of Morris Island, the commerce of Charleston has ceased. Not a single blockade-runner has succeeded in reaching the city for months, and the traffic which had been to some extent, and with large profits, previously carried on, is extinguished. As a commercial mart, Charleston has no existence; her wealth, with her trade, has departed. In a military or strategic view the place is of little consequence; and whether the rebels are able by great sacrifice and exhaustion to hold out a few