War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0295 Chapter XL. OPERATIONS ON MORRIS ISLAND, S. C.

Search Civil War Official Records

the artillery fire of Wagner be subdued, or the enemy driven out of the ridge in which they confront us so closely and securely. The general commanding approves of an effort being made to drive them out of this ridge with mortars this evening. For this purpose the three Coehorns were moved and mounted in the redan, in which position they more nearly enfiladed the ridge with their fire. During the afternoon the heavy guns in the second parallel fired on Wagner. About 5.30 p. m. the four 8-inch mortars in advance of the second parallel, and the three Coehorn mortars above referred to, opened on the ridge. At the same time the navy howitzer, served by Ensign [James] Wallace, U. S. Navy, and the Requa battery on the left of the fourth parallel, fired to enfilade the reserve of the ridge. Owing to some fault in the ammunition or service of the 8-inch mortars, the fire was very inefficient. The enemy not only remained in the ridge, but were re-enforced just at dusk, when brisk musketry firing took place, which lasted for half an hour. The two Requa batteries* in the fourth parallel took part in this skirmish. Although not well served, their firing was such as to confirm my previous favorable impression of the gun for defense of earthworks.

The fire from the James Island batteries has been very accurate, and much felt in the fourth parallel to-day. Several casualties took place among the engineers and infantry. I witnessed three successive shots take effect among our troops. This is surprising, as the enemy is using smooth-bore guns, at ranges of from 3,00 to 4,000 yards. Provoked by our shelling the ridge, the enemy opened on us, about sundown, the heaviest artillery fire+ yet directed on the advance, which was continued through the early part of the night. I think he anticipated an assault on Wagner, although that work fired but very little. Additional traverses against this enfilading fire were built to-night. The propriety of building a keep against sorties on the fourth parallel, as was done in the third, and in accordance with the original plan,++ was discussed to-day, but the general commanding did not order it.

There was nothing to do in the second parallel, its works being in good condition.

This has been to me the saddest day of the siege. Less has been done in existing works than on any other; no advance has been made, nor does any seem possible. Something besides spades and sharpshooters will have to be tried. The troops seem to be resting from the labor and excitement of demolishing Sumter, and do not yet take much interest in the operations against Wagner.

The engineer officers of the sap express the earnest wish that the enemy be driven out of the ridge with the bayonet, and that our superior artillery fire be directed on Wagner. This would enable us to cross the very difficult ground immediately in our front, obtain a lodgment in the ridge, which is very favorable, and thus make a long stride toward the fort.

The embrasures of all the heavy guns on the right and left are ordered to be arranged to embrace Wagner in their field of fire.

Wednesday, August 26.-No work worthy of record was done during the day.

The general commanding ordered General Terry to take and hold the ridge, and placed the resources of the command at his disposal for that purpose. It was accomplished at 6.30 p. m., by a brilliant


*See Note 16, p. 324.

+See Note 18, p. 326.

++See p. 283.