relieved the Fifty-first North Carolina at Battery Wagner. A brisk artillery action was kept up between our batteries on Morris Island and those of the enemy, and one of the monitors threw several shells at the transport steamer Sumter. Battery Simkins and Fort Sumter kept up a fire upon the enemy's approaches. During the night of the 15th, the enemy kept up a vigorous fire, both vertical and direct, on Battery Wagner and Battery Gregg until about 4.30 on the 16th, when it ceased. It was replied to by Sumter, Gregg, and Simkins, at intervals. From Battery Wagner the fire was continuous and slow until about 2 o'clock in the morning, when a general discharge took place along the whole front, causing interruption to the advancing work of the enemy.
The enemy's batteries were unusually quiet during the 16th, so far as Wagner and Gregg were concerned; but during the afternoon he opened on Fort Sumter, apparently to get the range, firing 48 shots, of which 4 passed over, 4 or 5 fell short, 10 struck inside, and the remainder outside of the fort. Wherever the shot struck the lighter brick work it did considerable damage, and disabled a 24-pounder on the gorge by loosening the pintle through the masonry. During the night, the Twenty-first South Carolina Volunteers relieved Colonel Olmstead's command on Morris Island. The artillery commands and couriers were also relieved by detachments from their respective regiments and battalions; and at about 12 o'clock Battery Wagner opened on the enemy, keeping up a continuous fire during the night. Fort Sumter and Battery Simkins also kept up their practice.
On the morning of the 17th, the enemy opened with three 200-pounder Parrott guns and one 100-pounder on Fort Sumter, at distances varying from 2 1/4 to 3 miles. This fire was kept up with but little intermission throughout the morning. At 9.25, the Ironsides and six monitors came into action against Fort Sumter, Batteries Wagner and Gregg, directing their shots principally at Sumter. At 10.45 they came within about 3,000 yards of Fort Sumter, when Colonel Rhett opened his batteries. Colonel [William] Butler, from Fort Moultrie, had opened a few guns, but, a large force of negroes being at work on his front, he was directed to discontinue his fire.
The Ironsides and the monitors were struck repeatedly, and at 12.50 the rapid firing ceased, the fleet withdrawing from the contest. One of the monitors, during the action, left the squadron and steamed rapidly down the channel to the wooden fleet of the enemy, and soon after all their flags were observed to be flying at half-mast.
Six hundred and twelve shot and shell had been fired at Fort Sumter, of which most struck. The casualties in the fort were: 1 man killed; Lieutenant John Middleton, Lieutenant Julius M. Rhett, Lieutenant [John] Johnson, engineer, and 10 privates slightly wounded. The fort was seriously injured on the northwest face. One 9-inch Dahlgren gun, three 42-pounders, and one 8-inch columbiad disabled.
During the afternoon, the land batteries reopened their fire heavily upon the fort, cutting deeply into the gorge wall, and adding much to the damage of the northwestern face and disabling a 10-inch columbiad. By night the enemy had thrown 948 shot, of which 445 struck outside, 233 inside, and 270 passed over.
Battery Wagner, which had received its full share of the enemy's fire, was but little damaged, but sustained a serious loss in the death of Captain J. Morris Wampler, of the engineers, a gallant and accom-