the commandants of the various batteries on Sullivan's Island engaged in the action of 7th instant with the enemy's iron-clad fleet.
The action began at 3 o'clock by Fort Moultire, and in a short time thereafter was general throughout all the batteries. Immediately after the opening of the engagement I left Fort Moultrie (where Brigadier-General Trapier had stationed his headquarters and was overlooking the conflict) and repaired to Battery Bee.
At this battery I found the garrison alert and ready to direct their fire against the invading fleet. Their guns were promptly trained and fired with rapidity and great precision.
I saw very distinctly a large number of 10-inch shot from this battery strike the Keokuk, and also two of the monitor vessels, which alternately advanced to the front. They struck turrets, decks, and hull. The injury inflicted could not be accurately estimated, but I believe that it was severe. The officers of the garrison were cool, vigilant, and energetic, and the men were prompt, active, and thoroughly familiar with their duties. Lieutenant-Colonel Simkins overlooked the management of the battery, and I testify to his vigilance, skill, and the energetic discharge of his duties.
The firing I thought a little too rapid, but I have no doubt that in the end it around the enemy confused if it did not appall him.
The Beauregard Battery directed its fire with great precision against the Ironsides and the two monitors which were nearest to it. The shot from this battery struck those vessels repeatedly.
The officers and men behaved with the highest coolness and gallantry. Fort Moultrie was under General Trapier's own eye, and he can best tell how worthily she vindicated her historical reputation. The companies of the Twentieth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers which were upon the island were drawn up to protect the upper batteries and to repel a land attack if such were attempted. They were eager to join their brethren in arms in the conflict, but the prudent abstinence of the foe from an attempt to land prevented them. They were under command of Captain P. A. McMichael, Lieutenant-Colonel Dantzler having been invited by General Trapier to act as his special aide on the occasion; and had a land attack been made Lieutenant-Colonel Dantzler could easily have reached the portion of his regiment drawn up on the island and have taken command of it, which he intended to do.
I have the honor to be, captain, your obedient servant,
LAWRENCE M. KEITT,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
Numbers 9. Report of Colonel William Butler, First South Carolina Infantry, commanding Fort Moultrie.
HEADQUARTERS, Fort Moultrie, S. C., April 13, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following statement of the part taken by this fort in the action with the iron-clad fleet of the Abolitionists on the 7th of this month: