The boats containing the portion of the garrison last embarked were fired upon by the enemy's barges, but without effect. Only two of our boats, containing views of about 19 men and 27 soldiers (or some 46 in all), were captured by the enemy's armed barges between Cumming's Point and Fort Sumter.
Thus Morris Island was abandoned to the enemy on the morning of September 7, 1863, with but little loss on the part of its garrison, either in men or material. The total loss killed and wounded on Morris Island from July 10 to September 7 was only 641 men; and, deducting the killed and wounded due to the landing on July 10, and to the assaults of July 11 and 18, the killed and wounded by the terrible bombardment, which lasted almost uninterruptedly night and day during fifty-eight days, only amounted to 296 men, many of whom were only slightly wounded. It is still more remarkable that during the same period of time, when the enemy fired 6,202 shots and shells at Fort Sumter, varying in weight from 30 to 300 pounds, only 3 men were killed and 49 wounded. It is difficulty to arrive at the loss of the enemy during these operations, but judging from the slaughter made in their ranks on July 11 and 18, it will be within the mark to say his casualties were in a ration of ten to one of ours.
It may be well to remark that the capture of Morris Island resulted in but a barren victory to the enemy, if his only object was to gain a position from which he might hurl his missiles and Creekfire into the city of Charleston. A reference to the map will show that the possession of Cumming's Point placed him no nearer the city than when he held part of James Island, prior to the battle of Secessionville, in June, 1862, and again in July, 1863, from whence he has driven on the morning of the 16th of the same month.
In conclusion, I cannot express in too strong terms my admiration of the bravery, endurance, and patriotism displayed by the officers and men engaged in these operations, who, during so many days nights, withstood unflinchingly the extraordinary fire from the enemy's land and naval batteries, and repulsed with heroic gallantry every attempted to surprise or carry the works by storm.
I have particularly to commend the gallantry, coolness, and zeal of Brigadier General W. B. Taliaferro, Brigadier General Johnson Hagood, Brigadier General A. H. Colquitt, Colonel L. M. Keitt, and Colonel G. P. Harrison [jr.], who at different periods had immediate command of the defense of Morris Island. To particularize would be invidious. They, one and all, on every occasion, did their duty nobly.
I have to express my acknowledgments of the valuable services rendered by Brigadier General R. S. Ripley, in command of the First Military District, which included the city of Charleston and its out-works. He was invariably active, industrious, and intelligent, and carried out his important duties to my entire satisfaction.
Although Major General J. F. Gilmer arrived at Charleston only a few days before the evacuation of Morris Island, he was, nevertheless, active, zealous, and of assistance to me in holding the island to the last moment.
To Co. D. B. Harris, chief engineer of the department, I have to return my most sincere thanks. He was ever cool, gallant, and indefatigable in the performance of his arduous duties during the whole period of the operations on Morris Island. Always present in the hour of need, he exposed himself when necessary to the hottest fire and to the greatest dangers in the most reckless manner.