The services of Lieutenant Bunce, U. S. Navy, were valuable, and worthy of high commendation.
But the hearty devotion and cheerful courage of the soldiers of this division, their patient labors in preparing for the battle, and the ready courage with which they fought it, must after all be given the highest honors, and their gallant conduct in this brilliant action will always be to them, their commanders, and their country, the source of just pride.
Our loss was 15 killed-among whom was the brave Captain Lent, Forty-eighth New York-and 92 wounded, nearly all on Morris Island.
The reports of Brigadier-General Strong and Vogdes and Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson accompany this.
Very respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Lieutenant Colonel E. W. SMITH,
FOLLY ISLAND, S. C.,
November 10, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command on Morris Island from July 10 to July 18, more particularly as connected with the assault of Fort Wagner on the last-named day. The rendering of this report has been unavoidably delayed by the difficulty of procuring those of subordinate commanders, not a few of whom fell in the assault, and of obtaining such detailed information as was essential. Even now, some regimental reports have not been received.
On the morning of July 10, Morris Island, up to the very ditch of Fort Wagner, had fallen under our command. Pickets had been established at 600 yards from the work, and a rifle-pit constructed during the evening, for their shelter, by Lieutenant Michie, U. S. Engineers, at a point extremely favorable for the complete command of the intervening ground, and for the establishment of batteries against for fort. Before daylight on the 11th, an assault had been made by Brigadier-General Strong, with his brigade, in accordance with instructions given to him directly by Brigadier-General Gillmore, which attack failed, from the complete preparation of the enemy, due to his pickets having been driven in an hour previous to the attempted surprise. It only remained, then, to make a more powerful effort, after a concentration of all the artillery that the land or naval force could bring to bear, or to undertake a siege by regular approaches.
The guns and material at the north end of Folly were transferred to Morris Island. At points selected by Brigadier-General Gillmore, and distant 1,300 and 1,700 yards from Fort Wagner, two grand batteries were constructed, under the active supervision of Colonel Serrell, First New York Engineers, and Major Brooks, of General Gillmore's staff, and by the night of July 17, in seven days, twenty-five rifled guns (10, 20, and 30 pounders) and fifteen siege mortars, with the large supplies required for their service, were placed in position. This labor was performed under highly disadvantageous circumstances, under a broiling sun, with frequent heavy rains at night,