In selecting sites for our batteries advantage was taken of the sand hills previously spoken of. By cutting down the natural slopes of these hills to a sufficient dept to lay the platforms for our guns and mortars and reverting the interior faces with sand bags excellent epaulements were formed. Embrasures for the Parrott guns were cut directly through the sand hills, and reverted with sods taken from the salt-marsh close at hand. During the night of the 24th the embrasures of the Parrott-gun battery were opened, and at 5.40 o'clock on the morning of the 25th the first shot was fired upon the fort. Immediately all three of our batteries opened, and our fire was vigorously answered.
Owing to the high wind and rough sea it was impracticable to communicate with the blockading fleet our intention of opening fire on the morning of the 25th. As soon, however, as the commanding officer, Captain Samuel Lockwood, discovered our movements he brought all his vessels into action, and for a time attracted the enemy's attention to such an extent as to greatly facilitate the officers in charge of the mortar batteries in correcting their range and length of fuse, but owing to the extreme roughness of the sea the fleet was compelled to withdraw. At 4.30 in the afternoon a white flag was displayed upon the ramparts of the fort and the firing ceased upon both sides. After communicating with the general commanding during the night of the 25th, on the morning of the 26th, at 9.30 o'clock, I received the surrender of the fort and garrison.
A copy of the terms of capitulations is herewith transmitted.*
For the detailed operation of the three batteries I have to refer you to the very interesting reports of Captain Morris and Lieutenant Flagler.
The fort and armament bear evidence not only of the great skill with which these batteries were served, but also of the wonderful effects produced by the introduction of rifled guns into our siege trains. The number of guns disabled to view from our position, are sufficient proof of the great value of the 30-pounder Parrott as a siege gun.
In truth, the result of the ten and a half hours' firing from our three batteries exceeded my most sanguine expectations, and they reflect the highest credit upon the officers and men engaged in their location and construction, as well as the working of the mortars and guns.
To Captain R. S. Williamson, of the Topographical Engineers, I am under lasting obligations. His bold and daring reconnaissances to within 800 yards of the fort gave us full and complete knowledge of the ground up to the very foot of the glacis. He so located the batteries that he sand hills themselves served as epaulements, rendering but little work necessary to prepare them for the guns and mortars and the construction of the magazines.
Captain Morris and Lieutenant Flagler were untiring in their zeal and energy in superintending the construction of the batteries. The work was carried on both by day and night under their supervision by the men of Company C, First United States Artillery, and Company I, Third New York Artillery, and such details as could be spared from the infantry force.
The Parrott-gun battery was commanded by Captain Morris, First United States Artillery, assisted by Lieutenant Gowan, Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, and Lieutenant Pollock, First United States Artillery.