I was informed that the foot causeways over the marsh were consuming it.
To-night continued last night's unfinished work. Captain Suess finished the surf battery.* This is the last work, excepting repairs, done on the defensive arrangements of the second parallel. This seaward work could only be carried on at those low tides which occurred in the night. The palisading which closes the gorge of the keep of the third parallel was completed, as was also the emplacement for the Requa battery in its salient. Built 20 linear yards of splinter-proof shelter in the north end of the approach to the third parallel. Built a traverse arranged for musketry defense on the right and 20 yards to the rear of the third parallel, to defend its right flank. This traverse afterward became the parapet of two successive mortar batteries. Began to extend an abatis along the front of the keep, thus entirely inclosing it by an obstacle.
Wednesday, August 12.-Lieutenant Talcott reports--
That, in accordance with instructions received from you last evening, I had charge of works in and in front of the second parallel. Owing to a heavy fire from Wagner, we did not commence our work until 11 o'clock, and consequently did not accomplish as much as could be desired. The infantry detail (colored troops+) broke at the first fire, near the entrance to the approaches to the second parallel, and became so scattered that it was impossible to collect them again. This would have been prevented by the presence of more commissioned officers, there being but one lieutenant with 175 men.
The want of a sufficient number of good officers with the infantry fatigue details was frequently felt. Regimental and brigade commanders too often seem to consider that second-rate officers, and but few of them, will answer for fatigue duty. Soldiers usually, work with reluctance. "I did not come to war to work, but to fight," is often heard from the infantry private. If the officers and non-commissioned officers commanding details sympathize with this idea, and take no interest in the duty to be performed, the position of the engineer officer in charge is very unpleasant. "Too much pains cannot be taken," says a celebrated engineer, "to prevent the recurrence of a feeling so radically opposed to the success of siege operations."
The parapets of the approaches in advance of the second parallel were strengthened to-night.
The fire of the enemy's sharpshooters was particularly brisk during the day.
Thursday, August 13.-To-day I was instructed by the general commanding to attempt no farther advance of our approaches against Wagner (which henceforward will have to proceed, in part, at least, by the full sap++) until our batteries open on Sumter, which will be in a few days. These batteries will then silence a portion of the enemy's fire, and attract a part of it to themselves. Nearly all this fire is now directed on our advanced trenches. In the interim to complete the defensive arrangements of the third parallel, thoroughly repair the whole line of approaches, and complete the final arrangements for opening the breaching batteries.
The magazines in the second parallel were to-day floored with lumber just obtained. I sent a party to pick up some plank in the creeks west of Morris Island, not used in the construction of the marsh causeways. It was hauled to the creek near Battery Hays, and afterward rafted to the left of the second parallel.
*See Note 4, 308.
+See Note 19, 328.
++See Note 13, 323.