War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0288 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

Search Civil War Official Records

About midnight a shell from Wagner penetrated the splinter-proof shelter used as headquarters and telegraph office,* in the second parallel, wounding Colonel [Joshua B.] Howell, general officer of the trenches, and two others. The necessary repairs were immediately made by Captain Walker, who was on duty, replacing the sand-bag rivetting of the embrasures of the howitzer battery with gabions and fascines.

The fire from Wagner, although inflicting much less real injury, up to this time, than the aggregate fire+ from the other batteries of the enemy, still gives far greater interruption to the working parties, on account of our nearness to the fort. "Cover-Johnson or Sumter," gives sufficient warning for those in the trenches to seek partial shelter, if the shell is seen to be coming toward them; but "Cover, Wagner," cannot be pronounced before the shell has exploded and done its work. At these cautionary words, I have often observed soldiers, particularly negroes, fall flat on their faces, under the delusion that they were obtaining cover from mortar shells exploding over them, when, in truth, their chances of being hit were much increased by this posture. On one occasion, a soldier was observed to place an empty powder barrel over his head, to shield him from heavy shells.

The enemy's fire was heavier than usual to-day, but has done but little injury to our men or material.

Monday, August 17.-All the heavy rifle guns on the right, excepting one that was accidentally spiked, and so many as are ready on the left, with the Naval Battery, opened fire on the gorge wall of Sumter this morning at sunrise.

The navy, together with the siege pieces in battery on the land, fired on Wagner a considerable portion of the day, to prevent it from opening fire on the breaching batteries of the second parallel.

Two engineer officers were on duty during the day, to make repairs in the second parallel. None of importance were necessary.

The booms++ on the left of the second parallel were fixed to-night by Sergeant [Robert] Scott, New York Volunteer Engineers, having been moved by the spring tide. Gabions and block-house material were carried forward to the third parallel. Continued to increase the covering of service magazines for breaching batteries.

Tuesday, August 18.-Firing on Sumter is continued to-day. This afternoon the spring tide, which is now at its height, was fearfully increased by a northeast storm. Nearly the whole line of trenches contained water, from a few inches to 2 feet in depth. One-third of the parapet of the surf battery@ was carried away, and the sea broke cover it so furiously that its two guns had to be removed.

This night the general commanding ordered the full sap to be started from the left of the third parallel. Accordingly, the trench of this parallel was cleared out and widened, the parapet strengthened, and the debouch made. A Requa battery was placed in position on the extreme left of the third parallel, to enfilade the front of the parapet of the proposed sap. Sap-rollers# and sapping tools were carried forward. The extreme high tide, requiring the men to work in mud and water, greatly interfered with all these operations.

Wednesday, August 19.-This morning at 2 o'clock, the water having so subsided as to render it possible, the full sap was started from the point above indicated, by Captain Walker, with a sapping


*See Note 20, p. 331.

+See Note 18, p. 326.

++See Note 3, p. 308.

@See Note 4, 308.

#See Note 9, p. 317.