Carolina Artillery under your command, for the efficient and distinguished service which was rendered by Battery Read upon that day. Make known to detachment my thanks.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. DUCAN SMITH,
APRIL 7, 1863.-Engagement in Charleston Harbor, S. C.
Statements of Brigadier General R. S. Ripley and Cols. William Butler and Alfred Rhett.*
HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT, Charleston, October 12, 1863.
GENERAL: In answer to the letter of the general commanding the department, dated October 7, inquiring concerning the truth of the statement of William H. Seaward, Abolition Secretary of State, as follows:
An attack by the fleet, made on the 7th of April last, upon the forts and batteries which defend the harbor of Charleston failed because the rope obstruction in the channel fouled the screws of the iron-clads, and compelled them to return after passing through the fire of the batteries. These vessels bore the fire of the forts, although some through an unexampled cannonade with singular impunity. Not a life was lost on board a monitor-
I have to remark that the statement is simply false.
The mendacious particulars are--
1st. "That the rope obstructions fouled the screws of the iron-clads," &c. These would probably have fouled the screws, besides producing other effects, but no Abolition iron-clad came within 300 yards of them.
2nd. "After passing the fire of of batteries." But one of the batteries on Sullivan's Island. The Keokuk sank next morning. None ever came within effective range of the heaviest batteries at all. Whether lives were lost or not, no attempt was made to renown the attack; and on the 12th the whole fleet left the harbor. I had an excellent point for observation, and cannot have been mistaken.
I have the honor to inclose herewith communications from Cols. Alfred Rhett and William Butler, commanding, respectively, the batteries at Fort Sumter and on Sullivan's Island, relating to the same subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. RIPLEY,
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff, &c.
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY, West End Sullivan's Island, October 9, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication addressed by General Beauregard, commanding the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, to Brigadier General R. S. Ripley, dated October 7, 1863, in which an official statement made by Mr.
*See p. 244.