field of fire, retreated under the fire of our artillery and the shells of Fort Sumter, and must have suffered heavily as long as they were within the range of our guns.
Colonel Harris, of the engineers, to whose skill I am much indebted, and whose coolness and gallantry were most conspicuous during the previous day, placed a howitzer on the right of the fort outside the beach, and co-operated with the guns on the left.
Thinking it advisable to dislodge the enemy at once, before they had time to communicate their temporary success, I called for volunteers to dislodge them. This call was promptly met by Major [J. R.] McDonald, Fifty-first North Carolina Troops, and by Captain Ryan, Charleston Battalion. I selected Captain Ryan's company, and directed them to charge the enemy in the salient. This work they advanced to with great spirit, but, unfortunately, Captain Ryan was killed at the moment of the advance, and his men hesitated and the opportunity was lost. Whenever the enemy showed themselves, a sharp fire was kept up upon them by the Fifty-first North Carolina, and after considerable injury thus inflicted a party of the Thirty-second Georgia Regiment having been sent along the parapet to the left and on the top of the magazine to approach their rear, they surrendered. In front of the fort, the scene of carnage is indescrible. The repulse was overwhelming, and the loss to the enemy could not have been less than 2,000, in killed, wounded, and prisoners-perhaps much more.
Our loss I estimate at 50 killed and 150 wounded, but will forward an exact return.
The assailants consisted of troops from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, and New York, and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (negro) Regiment (under Colonel [R. G.] Shaw, who was killed), under the command of Brigadier-General Strong. The supports were commanded by Brigadier-General Terry. I will here-after make a supplementary report* and give such details as may be required.
As to the damage done to the work and guns, I have the honor to refer you to the reports of the engineer officer and chief of artillery, which will be forwarded. I will remarks this: While the injury done to the work is considerable, it is much less than could have been expected, and the damage to the guns, it is hoped, may be repaired in a short time.
In conclusion, while I feel it my duty to mention the disgraceful conduct of the Thirty-first North Carolina Troops. I am proud to bear testimony to the efficiency and gallantry of the other troops. Colonel McKethan's regiment, Fifty-first North Carolina Troops, redeemed the reputation of the Thirty-first Regiment. They gallantly sought their position, under a heavy shelling, and maintained it during the action. Colonel McKethan, Lieutenant-Colonel [C. B.] Hobson, and Major McDonald are the field officers of this regiment, and deserve especial mention.
The Charleston Battalion distinguished themselves not only by their gallantry, but by their discipline and the cool performance of their duty, and obedience to orders under the excitement and confusion always incident to a night attack.
Lieutenant-Colonel Gaillard and the brave Major Ramsay, who, I regret to say, were severely wounded, deserve the highest expression