War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0297 Chapter XL. OPERATIONS ON MORRIS ISLAND, S. C.

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a second line of approach from the right of the fourth to the fifth parallel, thus avoiding the mud.

The enemy fired all night from Wagner with their light guns and mortars.

I recommended to the general commanding to-day that--

The battery of four 8-inch mortars now on the right of the third parallel be moved forward to the fifth parallel; for, in its present position, its fire endangers seriously our own men in the advance. From the fifth parallel, being within 200 yards of Wagner, it could give the enemy very serious annoyance, judging from the effect of his mortar fire on us, at a greater distance.

I also recommended that--

Field guns be placed in battery in the fifth parallel, to aid the mortars in keeping down the light gun fire of the fort, which has been very annoying the past two nights.

This was returned indorsed:

Positions will be prepared for the 8-inch mortars, and two field guns, in the fifth parallel, but they will be placed there until further orders.

Friday, August 28.-Continued improvements in the fifth parallel. Moved three Coehorn mortars forward into it. Continued work on bomb-proof magazine and construction of traverses against James Island fire. Began emplacements for siege mortars, in compliance with orders.

Lieutenant J. S. Baldwin reports that--

The torpedoes with which the enemy have obstructed our progress may be easily rendered harmless by boring a small auger-hole through the wood of which they are constructed, and pouring in a sufficient quantity of water to destroy the explosive power of the powder.

This was afterward practiced.

Captain Suess reports:

It was intended, in compliance with instructions, to finish the most advanced branch of the approach, but there being full, clear moonlight all night, it was impossible to place the fatigue party in position. The already existing parapet was too low, and made much worse yesterday by the heavy rain, to afford concealment, and the trench was full of water, this being a period of spring tides.

I am instructed by the general commanding to increase the amount of cover for troops in, and in advance of, the fifth parallel to the utmost extent, in order to allow a large force to be massed there, preparatory to assaulting Wagner. This will be done by traverses, widening trenches, and additional bayou.

Saturday, August 29.-Completed siege mortar battery and bomb-proof service magazine in fifth parallel. This is the third time these peculiar mortar platforms* have been laid; they are still good. Built a splinter-proof shelter for headquarters and for engineer service depot in fifth parallel.

I ordered the sharpshooters to-day to endeavor to explode the torpedoes in advance of our works by firing at their plungers. Hitting the plunger did not explode them.

It was bright moonlight to-night, and the enemy concentrated a sharp musketry and light artillery fire on the party who were strengthening the advanced line of sap under Captain Walker. The fire destroyed the parapet, and one shell killed and wounded 6 sappers. The work was discontinued. Dark nights, or subduing Wagner's artillery fire, will alone permit the work to advance.


*See Note 11, p. 319.