War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0245 Chapter XXVI. ENGAGEMENT IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.

Search Civil War Official Records

its turrets. Several United States flags, 3 officers' swords, pistols, &c., a quantity of bloody clothes and blankets were found on board.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding.

Numbers 2. Report of Major D. B. Harris, C. S. Engineers, Chief Engineer.

OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER,

Charleston, S. C., April 28, 1863.

GENERAL: In compliance with instructions Major Echols has made a report in detail of the engagement on the 7th instant of the enemy's iron-clad fleet with the forts and batteries commanding the outer harbor of this city, which I have the honor to hand you herewith.

This report is based upon information derived from the commanding officers of the forts and batteries engaged in the fight and upon an examination in company with myself of those works on the 8th and 9th instant.

The rife of the enemy was directed chiefly against Fort Sumter at a distance of from 900 to 1,500 yards. The injures to the fort, of which the tables and drawings accompanying Major Echols' report five an accurate description, were not of a character to impair its efficiency. The crushing effect of the enemy's heavy missiles was less than I had anticipated. The chief damage was probably caused by the explosion of shells against and in the walls of the fort.

The manner in which the fort withstood the bombardment is a matter of congratulation, and encourages us to believe that the repairs that have been made and the measures now in progress to strengthen and protect its walls will enable the fort to withstand a much more formidable bombardment with like good results.

Of the other works engaged, none of which attracted much of the enemy's attention, only one (Fort Moultrie) received any damage, and that was very trivial.

Fort Moultrie, Battery Wagner, and Cummings Point Battery fired upon the fleet at a distance of from 1,200 to 1,500 yards; Batteries Bee and Beauregard, at a distance of from 1,600 to 2,000 yards-too far, in the case of the latter-named batteries, for useful effect against iron-clads.

Our batteries were admirably served by our skilled artillerists. Much of the rapidity and accuracy with which our heavy guns were fired was due to the use of Colonel Yates' traverser, with the merits of which the general commanding has been fully impressed.

Our batteries discharged about 2,200 shot of all sorts; the enemy's fleet about 110, chiefly 15-inch shell and 11-inch solid shot; not less than 80 of which were directed at Fort Sumter.

The skinning of the Keokuk and the discomfiture of other iron-clads has established their vulnerability to our heavy projectiles at a range, say, of from 900 to 1,200 yards.

It appeared on an examination of the wreck of the Keokuk, on the 16th instant, by Lieutenant Boyleston, confirmed in the main by my own observations on the 19th instant, that her turrets within 1 1/4 feet of their tops had been pierced by four 10-inch shot and one 7-inch rifle