received that the enemy's fleet was intended for Port Royal and how they were carried out and followed. I deem, however, that no good would result to the service from a discussion of these points at this time; and requesting that, should it be thought proper to publish this report, it should be published with this indorsement, it is respectfully forwarded.
R. S. RIPLEY,
Numbers 3. Report of Colonel Joseph A. Wagener, First Artillery, South Carolina Militia, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.
CHARLESTON, November 11, 1861.
SIR: Inconsequence of our fatiguing retreat from the island of Hilton Head I am only now able to render you my official report of that disastrous day, together with the returns, in part only, as I have not been able to obtain the reports of Captains Bedon, Canaday, and White, of Colonel Heywards' regiment, which I would beg you to receive through Colonel Heyward.
On Thursday morning, the 7th instant, the fleet which had been watching us for days began to move in such a manner that I had the long roll beat immediately, and in one and a half minutes every cannoneer was at his post. The armament of the fort was divided into batteries and served as follows, viz:
Right channel battery: Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, German Artillery, Company B, Captain H. Harms. Center channel battery: Nos. 6, 7, 8, and 9, German Artillery, Company A, Captain D. Werner. Left channel battery: Nos. 10, 11, 12, and 13, Company C, Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Captain Josiah Bedon. These were the front batteries, all under command of Major A. M. Huger, First Artillery, South Carolina Militia.
The flanking and rear guns were manned by detachments from Captains Bedon's, Canaday's, and White's companies. Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment, under the command of Captain Canaday. The reserve was under charge of Captain White. The first gun (32-pounder rifle), which was loaded with a percussion shell, I directed myself, but unfortunately the shell exploded in front of the muzzle.
The battle opened, I think, a few minutes before 9 o'clock. a. m. The enemy had chosen a day which was entirely propitious to him. The water was as smooth as glass. The air was just sufficient to blow the smoke of his guns into our faces, where it would meet the column of our own smoke and prevent our sight, excepting by glimpses. The sailing vessels of our opponents were towed by his steamers, and thus could maneuver on the broad expanse of Port Royal with the accuracy of well-trained battalions. No sooner did we obtain his range than it would be changed, and time after time recharged, while the deep water permitted him to choose his own position, and fire shot after shot and shell after shell with the precision of target practice. Most unfortunate for us was the mistake of the engineers, which I had pointed out before the battle, of having failed to establish a battery on the bluff which commanded our flank. The enemy having taken position in the mouth of the creek exposed us to a raking fire, which did us the greatest damage, dismounting our guns and killing and wounding numbers of our men.