It was impracticable to train the right columbiad on the Ironsides.
Captain Pringle, Company B, Lucas' battalion, directed the fire of the rifle gun against the left and nearest monitor, she being about 200 yards nearer than the Ironsides, for about an hour, and then against another monitor, which came in still nearer on the right, for about another hour, when I directed the men to leave their guns. These monitors threw canister and shrapnel frequently, causing great annoyance to the cannoneers.
Captain Pringle fired over 40 bolts from his gun, with little effect at first, but thinks he struck with one shot out of every three during the last two-thirds of his firing. During this firing, Captain Wampler, of the Engineers, rendered gallant and effective service in repairing traverse circle to this gun.
After Lieutenant Alston had fired about 5 shots from the right columbiad, the monitor came in so close-within 500 yards-that the was unable to depress the gun sufficiently to strike the turret, though he fired some 6 shots over it in very good line.
Toward the last of our firing (which lasted about two hours and ten minutes), the monitor, which had been receiving Lieutenant Alston's fire, drew off to the fleet, apparently injured, and his fire was transferred to the next monitor to the right.
Lieutenant Alston fought his gun all through our firing, only interrupted by temporary disabling of one of his eccentric wheels. Sergeant Welch handled his gun well, and is reported to have struck the Ironsides several times. His detachment was relieved, being worn out, at about a quarter before 8, with detachment from Company E, Charleston Battalion, under Captain Miles. They had been at their gun about ten minutes, when a shell burst among them, wounding or stunning every man and thus stripping the gun-chamber. Lieutenant Alston had no men for it, and, indeed, had been assisted by 3 or 4 men of Pringle's company.
Captain Miles, being stunned and very weak, looked after his mangled men in the hospital, and Lieutenant Palmer, Company E, Charleston Battalion, who had been assisting Captain Chichester for an hour, as adjutant, was soon after ordered to get a detachment and take charge of the gun, which he failed to do, but finally a detachment was supplied under Lieutenant [J. W.] Axson, who received a slight contusion in the knee before the gun was loaded. They only fired it once, about 8.40 a.m., when, with the advice of Captain Chichester, my chief of artillery, all the cannoneers on the sea face were called off to the passages and bomb-proofs, as their exposure was greater than any attainable result would justify. Six monitors came up, and certainly five of them were firing on this battery at once, coming as near as they pleased. Various land batteries of the enemy, including their strong work in rear of the stockade, kept up a brisk fire, but I do not think that many casualties resulted from it.
Just before 9 a.m. my acting aide, Lieutenant John D. Hopkins, Company G, First Georgia, carried an order to Captain Davenport, commanding First Georgia, in the sand-hills, to detail three gun detachments from his command, and led them up; one man being killed by shrapnel in execution of this order. They reported, under Lieutenant [H. A.] Elkins, before 10 a.m., too late to take part in morning fight, and were put in charge of left columbiad.
At 9.20 parapet in front of left columbiad was badly damaged, and Captain Wampler soon after took measures to strengthen it.