BATTERY WAGNER, August 24, 1863
CAPTAIN: The fire opened on the enemy's advanced lines, commenced on yesterday from one of the 8-inch shell guns and the remaining serviceable 8-inch siege howitzer, was continued throughout the night from the latter, the former having been greatly disabled by the recoil.
At daylight it was apparent that the enemy, had worked diligently under our fire. He had not only repaired damages, but had greatly strengthened his work of the night before. This morning the fire from the 8-inch howitzer was continued under heavy fire from three 30-pounder Parrott guns, about 800 yards distant, and a 200-pounder battery, until the howitzer was dismounted and ruined by a 200-pounder bolt striking it full on the face.
I beg leave here to make honorable mention of Lieutenant [F. C.] Lucas and a detachment from Captain [T. B.] Hayne's company, Lucas' battalion, for the gallant manner in which, under a fire of great rapidity and almost unprecedent precision, they repaired to this piece and fought it for the encouragement of some of those to whose charge it had been committed.
Many of Captain [W. H.] Kennady's company of Second Regiment Artillery could not be induced to man the piece. Those who did their duty were wearied by the labors of the night before. Under these circumstances, the officers and men mentioned repaired to the gun and fought most gallantly until the piece was dismounted. I regret to say that 3 of this detachment were wounded; their names will be reported.
After the loss of the 8-inch howitzer. I ordered efforts to be made to work the mortar in the right bastion of the battery, which has long been silent on account of its unserviceable condition. I also ordered the 42-pounder carronade in the salient to be moved to the position formerly occupied by the 8-inch howitzer, disabled some days ago. Fire was opened from the mortar with great effect. The working parties and many of the enemy's riflemen were driven from their position. This fire, which has been constantly kept up during the day, will be continued.
The 42-pounder carronade has not been fired, owing to prudential motives, but will unite in the fire to-night.
Lieutenant [W. E.] Erwin, with a detachment of Company K, First Regiment Artillery, who were in charge of the 10-inch columbiad, volunteered for service of the mortar, and deserve praise for their gallant services.
They also exhibited much coolness on yesterday while engaging the Ironsides.
The enemy's battery above referred to has replied constantly to the mortar, but has accomplished nothing.
I deem it my duty to say that the efficiency of the battery is much decreased by the habitual disregard or inability to fill the requisitions of the chief of artillery, and ordnance officer.
The 32-pounder guns and howitzers are worthless at this time, owing to the want of shell and shot. It would be wiser to remove them, under the circumstances, and give us smaller and less valuable ordnance, with a full supply of ordnance stores, for protection against assault. The 8-inch shell guns will stand but little service in their present condition, and are saved for emergencies.
Exposed as we are to almost continual firing from the enemy's heaviest guns, a mechanic should be frequently sent to inspect and