HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT,
Charleston, August 21, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report the various operations for the defense of Charleston against the present attack, from August 1, on which day Colonel L. M. Keitt, Twentieth South Carolina Volunteers, relieved Brigadier-General Clingman in command of Battery Wagner:
The work of repairing and strengthening Battery Wagner had been progressed with until the battery had become quite as strong as it originally was. The commanding general having determined to keep up and increase the armament, spare carriages and chassis and one 10-inch gun were transported on the night of July 30 to Battery Wagner, and arrangements made for getting them in position. This delicate and important work was accomplished, under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel [J. A.] Yates, by Captain [Francis H.] Harleston, First South Carolina Artillery, and Mr. A. D. Lacoste, with Captain Harleston's company [D], First South Carolina Artillery, assisted by heavy details from the garrison of Battery Wagner. The enemy during the day was principally employed on his works of attack, but kept up an occasional fire upon the battery, doing no damage. In the evening, he opened on the light-draught steamer Chesterfield, at Cumming's Point, driving her off, and for the first time attempting to interrupt our communication with Morris Island.
The Fifty-fourth Georgia Regiment was relieved from Morris Island by the Charleston Battalion. The guns of Battery Wagner were generally silent during the day. Fort Sumter and Battery Gregg opened upon the enemy whenever they were observed at work within range. Battery Simkins, at Shell Point, kept up a steady fire. Our works in process of erection on James Island progressed steadily, and the troops in that locality were held in readiness for such movements as might become necessary, under Brigadier-General Taliaferro.
During the morning of the 2nd, Battery Simkins kept up its fire on the enemy's works, which did not reply until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when they opened sharply from the land works and one gunboat, keeping up a fire during most of the afternoon, which was replied to by Batteries Wagner, Gregg, Simkins, and Fort Sumter. At night the enemy again opened, with mortars and Parrott guns, toward Cumming's Point, to cut off the communication. No material damage occurred, and in other portions of this command all was quiet.
The fire from the enemy's batteries was kept up on Battery Wagner quite steadily during the morning of the 3rd, having the effect of killing 1 man and wounding 2 officers and 12 privates, most of them slightly. Battery Wagner replied but little to the enemy's fire, the garrison being at work. The carriages for the two 10-inch guns proved to be so badly fitted as to cause delay in getting them ready for service. Fort Sumter and the exterior batteries kept up a fire on the enemy's advanced works. At night the Twentieth South Carolina Volunteers and detachments of the Fifty-first North Carolina Regiment were relieved by the Twenty-first South Carolina Volunteers. As the communication by means of steamers was quite dangerous, the exchange was effected by means of small boats, manned by crews from the navy. These performed their duty well, and my thanks are due to Flag-Officer J. R. Tucker, C. S. Navy, and the officers and men of his command for the valuable assistance rendered.