Monday, August 10.-This night perfected the defensive arrangements of the third parallel. Built banquette tread with sand-bags, strengthened the parapet, built a barbette for a Requa battery* in salient angle near the center of the parallel, and began to set palisading to inclose the keep, in a dike which fortunately ran in the right direction.
At about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 11th, when the last-mentioned work was about one-half completed, Wagner opened a heavy fire of grape, canister, and shell, which, with the fire of the James Island batteries and Sumter, stopped our working parties entirely for the first time in the siege. Lieutenant Farrand, who had charge of the work, supposed that the tall palisading which was set across the gorge of the keep attacked the fire. This is the most spiteful fire delivered landward by Wagner since the 18th July. Indeed, this work has been very quiet since that time for fear of drawing the fire of the heavy guns of the navy, and that of the land siege batteries upon it. Our reply to all the enemy's fire, from whatever direction, has been directed against Wagner.
Lieutenant Wilcken began the construction of the defensive splinter-proof shelter, for the reserve of the grand guard, in front of the second parallel.
Dr. Grant undertook to-night to light up Cumming's Point with two calcium lights, placed in the left batteries, distant 3,000 yards. The object was to reveal to our gunners any of the enemy's succor boats that may be attempting to communicate with his forces on Morris Island, and interrupt the operations with our fire. On the night of August 4, Captain [Lewis S.] Payne, the scout, and party, were captured while repeating their endeavors to discover these relief boats. Neither plan fully succeeded.
Tuesday, August 11.-As is usual after particularly heavy firing,+ it is very quiet on both sides to-day.
Up to this time no fascines or gabions have been used on the right, nor are there any considerable number on hand in the department. To-day their construction,++ together with that of sap-rollers, was begun on Folly Island, by a detachment of engineers, under command of Lieutenant Henry Mehles, New York Volunteer Engineers. This work soon passed from under my direction to that of the commander of the engineer depot.
In an official communication made to-day, I stated that--
On account of the scarcity of material in this vicinity, and lack of men for fatigue duty, I would recommend that 1 non-commissioned officer and 6 artificers of volunteer engineers be sent to Hilton Head to instruct 50 infantry, who should be detailed for this purpose, in the duty of making gabions and fascines.
This work was ordered to be commenced at Beaufort by engineers already there.
The reason that sand-bags,@ which are far more expensive and require more labor, have been used in place of gabions for rivetting is, that the latter the dry sand rapidly; hence cannot be used. The gabions++ used about embrasures were often filled with sand-bags.
I reported in writing to-day to the general commanding concerning--
The great inconvenience and extra expense we are incurring in our engineering operations in the second parallel (in magazine floors, rivetting, and splinter-proof shelters) from the want of lumber.
*See Note 16, p. 324.
+See Note 18, p. 326.
++See Note 9, p. 317.
@See Note 10, p. 318.