I have reason for supposing that this assistant se would have arrived sooner, for General A. R. Lawton, commanding provisional forces in Georgia, wrote from Savannah to Colonel W. C. Heyward on the 4th instant, 8.30 p. m., as follows: "From a dispatch received to-day from General Ripley I infer that you (Colonel W. C. Heyward) have been sufficiently re-enforced from his command until the plans of the enemy shall be more fully developed."
Two hours after the gallant Georgians came to the rescue I received the welcome intelligence that Colonel De Saussure's Fifteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, 650 strong, had landed at Seabrook's Wharf, upon Skull Creek, and were close at hand.
At last the memorable 7th dawned upon us bright and serene, not a ripple upon the broad expanse of water to disturb the accuracy of fire from the broad decks of that magnificent armada about advancing in battle array to vomit forth its iron hail with all the spiteful energy of long suppressed rage and conscious strength. At 9.25 a. m. one 9-inch Dahlgren gun opened fire upon the-gun steamship Wabash, flag-ship of Captain S. F. DuPont, which led the van, closely succeeded by fourteen other large steamers and gunboats.
The shell from the Dahlgren exploded near the muzzle, and was harmless. Other shots followed form both forts, and soon the fire became general on land and water. In spite of our fire, directed with deliberation and coolness, the fleet soon passed both batteries apparently unharmed, and then returning delivered in their changing rounds a terrific shower of shot and shell in flank and front.
Besides this moving battery, the fort was enfiladed by two gunboats anchored to the north off the mouth of Fish Hall Creek, and another at a point on the edge of the shoals to the south. This enfilanding fire on so still a sea annoyed and damaged us excessively, particularly as we had no gun on either flank of the bastion to reply with, for the 32-pounder on the right flank for want of a carriage no gun had been mounted. After the fourth fire the 10-inch columbiad bounded over the limber and because useless. The 24-pounder rifled cannon was choked while ramming down a shell, and lay idle during nearly the whole engagement. The shells for the 9-inch Dahlgren were also too large. The fourth shell attempted to be rammed home could not be driven below the trunnious, and was then at great risk discharged.
Thus far the fire of the enemy had been endured and replied to with the unruffled courage of veterans. At 10.30 our gunners became so fatigued that I left the fort, accompanied by one of my volunteer aides, Captain H. Rose, and went back to Captain Read's battery (one and three quarters miles in the rear of front) and borough the greater part of his men back to take the places of our exhausted men inside the fort. It was while thus engaged with Captain Read's company that Colonel W. H. Stiles rode up and reported his regiment about 2 miles off. I instantly directed my aide, Lieutenant Drayton, to accompany Colonel Stiles to the road along which his regiment was advancing, and to station it in position by the side of the other Georgia troops. On entering the fort with Captain Read's company they were cordially greeted by both officers and men.
The vigorous attack from the fleet continued unabated, with still no decided damage to any of their ships. About 12.30 p. m. I again went out of the fort with my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Young, for the purpose of mustering together the infantry and reserves, and have them in readiness for any eventually. Before leaving, however, I turned