War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0073 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

force on Morris Island, the result of the attack of July 10, I am confident, would have been different; but, as I have already explained, the threatening position of the enemy on James Island entirely precluded the withdrawal of a single soldier from its defense until the point of attack had been fully developed, and the only re-enforcements that could be sent to Morris Island (some 300 men of the Seventh South Carolina Battalion) arrived too late to render material assistance on the morning of July 10. The long-protracted defense of Battery Wagner must met be compared with the evacuation of the south end of Morris Island by way of throwing discredit on the latter movement. The two defense are not analogous. In the one, a large extent of exposed ground had to be guard with an entirely inadequate force; in the other, a strong earthwork with a narrow line of approach could be held successfully against any attack by a body of men numerically quite insufficient to have opposed the landing of an enemy on the south end of Morris Island. While the enemy on July 9 was threatening Morris Island, he also made a strong demonstration against James Island by the Stono River. At 12 m. on that day, Colonel [Charles H.] Simonton, commanding at Secessionville, telegraphed:

The enemy are landing on Battery Island; their advance pickets and ours are firing. Pickets from Grimballs (on the Stono) report the enemy landing at that place.

Three gunboats and a monitor proceed up the Stono as far as the obstructions.

On the morning of July 10, while the attack was progressing on Morris Island, Colonel Simonton telegraphed that the main body of the enemy were moving in force from Battery Island to Legare's house, having a line of pickets extending from a point at Legare's in an oblique line up the Stono, cutting the Crimball causeway about midway. Later in the day, however, the same officer telegraphed that the reported advance of the enemy was premature. "They are in force on Battery Island."

Through the demonstration of the enemy in the Stono and on James Island was instituted to distract our attention from Morris Island, yet it was made in such strength that at any moment ot could have been converted into a real attack of the most disastrous kind to us had the garrison been weakened to support Morris Island.

On the afternoon of July 10, detachments of First, Twelfth, Eighteenth, and Sixty-third Georgia (534 effective) arrived from the District of Georgia, under the command of Colonel [C. H.] Olmstead, with the Twenty-first South Carolina Volunteers and [P. H.] Nelson's battalion, and became the garrison of Battery Wagner.

At daylight on the morning of July 11, the enemy assaulted Battery Wagner, and was repulsed with much loss; 2 officers and 95 rank and file being left dead in front of our works, and 6 officers and 113 rank and file taken prisoners, about 40 of the latter being wounded.

Our loss was 1 officer and 5 privates killed, and 1 officer and 5 privates wounded.

During the day, three monitors and three wooden gunboats shelled battery Wagner, and in the evening a fifth monitor the bar.

Colonel Simonton, on James Island, at 7 a. m. reported no forward movement in his front; two gunboats and several transports off battery Island. At 9 p. m. he telegraphed that the enemy were advancing in force from Legare's house to Grimball's, our pickets falling back on the reserves.