force being unable to co-operate with boats, and, the weather being favorable, it was determined by the quartermaster in charge to make the attempt to communicate direct. The Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth Georgia Regiments and Captain [J. D.] Johnson's company of artillery, with the supplies and stores for Morris Island, had been safely landed, and the Twentieth South Carolina and Twenty-third Georgia Regiments and Captain Mathewes' artillery received on board; so much time had been taken up, however, that the tide had fallen so low as to necessitate going by the main channel, and, unfortunately, the necessity had not been provided against by giving information to and establishing a signal with the batteries on Sullivan's Island; the steamer had run safely by the enemy's fleet and was coming up the channel, when, being observed from Fort Moultrie, fire was opened upon her. Before the officers in charge had learned their error, several shots took effect, sinking the boat and causing the loss of arms and equipments. The troops on board were rescued by the garrison of Fort Sumter, under Colonel Alfred Rhett, and boats sent down by the navy. Eight men were reported missing the next morning, and it is feared were drowned. Special reports have been made to headquarters on this unfortunate occurrence.*
August 31, during the night, in spite of a heavy fire from Battery Wagner, the enemy continued strengthening his approaches, replying to our fire with his mortars. The batteries on James Island continued their practice, oftentimes with good effect; but from the near approach of the enemy to Battery Wagner it was, at others, quite dangerous to our own people, and General Colquitt directed them by signal to cease. Occasional shots were thrown by the enemy in the morning, and their sharpshooters were especially active. About 3.30 in the afternoon, four monitors came up and commenced firing at Battery Gregg, Fort Moultrie, and Fort Sumter, and the wreck of the steamer sunk the previous night. This was returned by the batteries on Sullivan's Island and Battery Gregg, and the monitors were repeatedly struck from both sides. At dark they withdrew. The fire upon Fort Sumter was quite slack during the day, and did no damage. At night the troops rescued from the Sumter were transported to their respective posts, and the shipment of stores and ammunition continued.
The enemy was engaged on his works on Morris Island during the night of the 31st, under a brisk fire from Battery Wagner along his front. He succeeded in advancing his lines but a short distance. At daylight he opened with his mortars upon that battery, and kept up the bombardment at intervals throughout the day. The long-range land batteries opened early against Fort Sumter and kept up a regular and destructive fire, injuring the fort very seriously and disabling the remaining guns en barbette. The entire terre-plein of the northeastern face, with the exception of two arches near the eastern salient, fell in under the fire.
At 11.40 p. m. six monitors steamed up and took positions varying from 800 to 1,500 yards from Fort Sumter, and opened a heavy cannonade upon the eastern face. Fort Moultrie and the batteries adjacent on Sullivan's Island and Battery Gregg opened upon them in return, striking them frequently and heavily. Two or three soon retired, and remained at long range.
* See August 31, 1863. - Sinking of C. S. transport Sumter, etc.