War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 1017 Chapter XXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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cerning the action of April 7, 1863, I have the honor to say that it is incorrect throughout.

The obstructions lay between Forts Sumter and Moultrie. During the attack on Fort Sumter I was on the parapet of the fort, observing the fight in regard to time, distances, movements, and results. So far from passing thought the fire of our batteries, the object of the enemy appeared to be to engage Fort Sumter at the longest effective range of their 15-inch guns. At no time did any of them enter within the fire of our heaviest batteries, which did not bear out to sea. The leading vessel, the Weedawken, approached, under the fire of our guns, as near as 1,300 yards of Fort Sumter and 600 yards of the obstructions, and passed back out of range in an ellipse. The other vessels, in turn, followed the course of the Wechewken, the Ironside having come to anchor at about 1,800 yards from Sumter and about 1 1\4 miles from the obstructions. Two vessels only, the Keokuk and the Nahant, the last engaged, came nearer than 1,300 yards of Sumter. The Keokuk left the line and came in toward the fort, about 900 yards. Becoming disabled by the effect of our shots, she drifted in with the tide (flood) to about 300 yards of the obstructions, when she managed to get under way again, and passed out of range in a sinking condition . The next morning she sank in shoal water, in full view. This was the only vessel that came at any time as near as 300 yards of the obstructions. The Nahant, in support of the Keokuk, came as near as 1,100 yards from Sumter, and occupied that position for a short time.

I have no hesitation in saying that the statement that any of the enemy's iron-clads on the 7th of April last advanced to the obstructions, is utterly untrue, and I am slow to believe that the gallant men who commanded those vessels upon that occasion would lend themselves to the false statements of their Government.

The fleet did not escape with impunity. The Keokuk was sunk; others were damaged. With regard to the loss of life, I had no means of ascertaining the facts; but when the iron-clad fleet withdrew from the harbor, I visited the wreck of the Keokuk in my barge. I found that not only the hull of the vessel had been penetrated, but that the 10-inch rounds shot and rifled bolts had made clean holes through the turrets. Several United States flags, three officers'; swords, pistols, &c., and a quantity of bloody clothes and some bloody blankets were taken out of the turrets.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALFRED RHETT,

Colonel, Commanding First Regiment South Carolina Artillery.

General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff.

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

CHARLESTON, December 12, 1862.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I must apologize for calling your attention to a matter which I am not assured comes under your control.

A portion of the workmen employed on marine torpedo ram are threatening to leave, if their wages (now high) are not increased. I have stopped these proceedings so far as the white men are concerned,