HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT,
Charleston, S. C., July 22, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the daily occurrences of my command, commencing on the 8th instant, on which day the enemy's iron-clad fleet appeared off the bar, and his force of transports at sea and in the Stono River was largely increased, indicating the renewal of the attack on the approaches of the city of Charleston:
With the limited force at my command, such measures as could be taken to guard the salient points of attack (the south end of Morris Island and James Island) were ordered, and directions given for the disposition of troops ordered by the commanding general for re-enforcements.
On the 9th, the enemy landed a strong force on Battery Island, and unmasked works on Little Folly bearing upon our positions at the south end of Morris. The works at that point were from various causes incomplete, and from want of transportation the arrival of re-enforcements was tardy. Endeavors were made to strengthen our position on Morris Island, but from lack of force no great improvement was accomplished.
On the morning of the 10th, the enemy opened a heavy fire upon our positions from Little Folly, with from twenty to thirty long-range guns, which he had placed in battery during the night. Soon after, four monitors took position to the northeast of the position, enfilading it and taking some of the batteries in reverse. Our troops defending were composed of the Twenty-first South Carolina Volunteers, under Colonel R. F. Graham; two companies [I and E] of the First South Carolina Artillery, under Capts. J. C. Mitchel and J. R. Macbeth, and a detachment of the First South Carolina [Regular] Infantry [Third Artillery], under Captain Charles T. Haskell, jr. (in all about 700), with the following artillery, placed in position in detached batteries along the shore to command the beach and the crossing from Little Folly, viz: Three 8-inch navy shell guns, two 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, one rifled 24-pounder, one 30-pounder Parrott, one 12-pounder Whitworth, and three 10-inch sea-coast mortars - in all, eleven pieces. There were on Morris Island, besides, two companies of artillery under Captains [C. E.] Chichester and [John R.] Mathewes, the garrison of Battery Wagner, and one at Battery Gregg under Captain [Henry R.] Lesesne; all the artillery under Lieutenant Colonel Joseph A. Yates, First South Carolina Artillery.
After about three hours' furious shelling from the enemy, to which hour guns steadily replied, a large number of barges filled with troops came up Little Folly River, and, under cover of their fire, succeeded in effecting a landing on Oyster Point and the main shore of Morris Island. The enemy advanced immediately, driving back our inferior force of infantry, and succeeded in expelling our troops from the south end of Morris Island and capturing the artillery above named, with its munitions. This was not effected without a severe struggle, in which we lost 294 killed, wounded, and missing, among whom I mention with especial regret the following officers: Captains [Langdon] Cheves and Haskell and Lieutenant [J. S.] Bee, who had rendered important service previous to, and behaved with distinguished gallantry in, the engagement. The first re-enforcements (Nelson's Seventh Battalion, South Carolina Volunteers) arrived at the close of the action and could only assist in covering the retreat, which was