Numbers 9. Report of Captain Samuel F. Chalfin, Fifth U. S. Artillery.
FORT PICKENS, FLA., November 25, 1861.
MAJOR: In obedience to instructions from the colonel commanding I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the two batteries under my direction during the bombardment of the 22nd and 23 instant:
One battery is in barbette, the other in casemate. The barbette battery consists of one 10-inch columbiad along the capital, one 42-pounder rifled gun and two 32-pounders on the north flank of bastion E, and of seven 32-pounders on curtain D E. The casemate battery comprised two 8-inch columbiads, one incumbered and one 42-pounder rifled gun. Both these batteries were served by Company A, First Regiment of Artillery. After the signal gun was fired, at 10 o'clock a. m. on the morning of the 22nd, all the guns of the barbette battery except the rifle were opened on the navy-yard and the enemy's boats lying at the wharves. Owing to the dense smoke which arose after the first discharge, and to the great distance (1 3/4 miles), it was almost impossible to observe with any certainty the effect of the 32-pounders. Before the firing commenced with these guns the elevating screws and their beds had been removed and quoins substituted, by means of which an elevation of 12 deg. and 13 deg. could be obtained. From an occasional observation it could be seen tha the shots were not falling short. After about two hours' firing with the 32-pounders the cannoneers were taken away from them and placed at the casemate guns and barbette rifle. The 10-inch columbiad, under charge of Second Lieutenant F. E. Taylor, First Artillery, maintained a steady and effective fire throughout the day. The barbette rifle opened on Fort Barrancas about 12 m., and id good execution. The casemate guns open about the same time, the rifle on Fort Barrancas and the columbiads on the enemy's batteries near the Marine Hospital. The firing from these guns was generally very effective, and kept up steadily at the prescribed intervals until ordered to cease.
About 4 o'clock p. m. a shell from one of the enemy's batteries lodged and exploded in the parapet immediately in front of the 10-inch columbiads, by which one of the cannoneers, Private Theodore Shauver, was slightly wounded on the head.
On the morning of the 23rd the barbette rifle and 10-inch columbiad open when the signal was given, the first on the barbette gun on the east face of Barrancas, the second on the Haxo, Boggs', or Church battery (for it has been called by all these names). The fire from this latter gun was steady and effectively kept up throughout the day. The fire from the rifle was maintained steadily, but many of the shots fell short, and towards evening became decidedly uncertain, owing in a great measure, doublers, to the giving way of the stone work under the traverse circle. After the fire opened in the morning six of the 32-pounders were used for throwing hot shot at the buildings in Warrington and the vicinity. About 12.30 o'clock the cannoneers were taken from five of these guns and put at the casemate guns, which they continued to serve regularly until night. About 3 o'clock p. m. the 32-pounder, still used for hot shot, burst the chase, throwing the fragments into bastions D and E, as well as amongst its own cannoneers, without, however, doing any injury.
About 4 o'clock a building in rear of the church battery was observed to be on fire, and soon after the steeple of the church was seen in flames.