Numbers 5. Reports of Colonel Alfred Rhett, First South Carolina Artillery, commanding Fort Sumter.
FORT SUMTER, April 7, 1863.
The nearest iron-clad to Sumter, the Keokuk, came within 900 yards; the others from that to 1,000 yards.
Captain JOHN M. OTEY,
HDQRS. FIRST REGIMENT SOUTH CAROLINA ARTILLERY, Fort Sumter, April 13, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report:
The Abolition iron-clad fleet, consisting of the frigate New Ironside and eight monitors, appeared in sight on Sunday morning, April 5 instant; crossed the bar the same evening,and anchored in the main Ship Channel.
At 2 o'clock p. m., April 7 instant, the whole iron-clad fleet advanced to the attack in the following order, viz: Four monitors were in advance, led by the Passaic. The Ironside came next, followed by three other single-turreted monitors, and the Keokuk, a doubt-turreted monitor bringing up the rear.
At thirty minutes past 2 p.m. the long roll was beaten and every disposition made for action.
At fifty-five minutes past 2 p. m. the garrison, regimental, and Palmetto flags were hoisted and saluted by thirteen guns, the band playing the national air.
At 3 o'clock p. m. the action was opened by a shot from Fort Moultier.
At three minutes past 3 p. m. the leading vessel having approached to within about 1,400 yards of the fort she fired two shots simultaneously, one a 15-inch shrapnel, which burst; both passed over the fort. The batteries were opened upon her two minutes later, the firing being by battery. The action now became general, and the four leading monitors taking position from 1,300 to 1,400 yards distant, the fire was changed from fire by battery to fire by piece, as being more accurate. The fire by battery was again resumed as occasion offered. The Ironside did not approach nearer than 1,700 yards. The whole fire of the batteries engaged was concentrated on the Passaic for thirty minutes, when she withdrew from the engagement, apparently injured. The other ships each in its turn received our attention. The fire of both Fort Moultrie and this fort being now directed against the Ironside she immediately withdrew out of effective range.
The other turreted monitors came under our fire in like manner as the preceding, slowly passing in front of the fort in an ellipse; one only, the last, approaching to about 1,000 yards.
At five minutes, past 4 p. m. the Keokuk left her consorts and advanced bow on gallantly to within 900 yards of our batteries. She received our undivided attention, and the effect of our fire was soon apparent. The wrought-iron bolts from 7-inch Brooke gun were plainly