This morning, the enemy at 5 a.m. opened comparatively a slow mortar fire on this battery and rapid fire against Fort Sumter from various land batteries, including that one in our front.
Captain Chichester, who is still too unwell for active duty, observed a large transport ashore on large sand bank running out from south end of Morris Island, and afterward two large barges high up Vincent's Creek.
Captain Pringle is still acting chief of artillery. At 8.30 a.m. the Ironsides drew up to about 1,500 yards of this battery, and drew up a little closer about 11 a.m., but quiet. The monitors remained about 2 1/4 miles off.
The enemy's shelling slacked about quarter to 9, and has since been very irregular and slow, doing no harm up to about 1.30 to 2 p.m., when in ceased.
At 1.10 p.m. to-day, the Ironsides, which had been lying broadside to us, opened fire, evidently to dismount the columbiad, and though their fire toward the last was rapid and pretty accurate, no damage was done, and it ceased about a quarter after 2 p.m.
The parapet and the top of bomb-proof just to the right and left of my headquarters were struck repeatedly.
I made an effort to cause a diversion this morning in favor of Fort Sumter, by directing the fire of Battery Gregg upon the enemy's Morris Island batteries, but Lieutenant Pringle found that the fire which the enemy then turned upon him was more than his battery could well stand, and soon ceased.
A detailed report on this matter and the condition of Battery Gregg, by my chief of artillery, will be sent you with this, and I urge that a new 10-inch carriage be sent, as advised by him.*
The enemy's sappers have been throwing an earthwork to-day just in front of their most advanced stockade, working slowly, and protecting themselves as they advance, being out of sight.
At 5 p.m. the enemy's monitor fleet commenced to approach this battery. One went as far as the buoy and turned back. I was informed at the same time that the sling-cart at Battery Gregg, had been disabled, one wheel badly wounded. Another sling-cart, or a new wheel for the present cart must be sent; without this, it may be impossible to use a new 10-inch chassis, if you send one.
At 5.30 p.m. the monitor fleet commenced to draw off.
In my account of the action yesterday, I omitted to make honorable mention of Sergeant [William] Satterfield, of Company B, Lucas' battalion, who acted as gunner for the rifled 32-pounder, and of Sergeant [Robert] Swanston, Company K, First South Carolina [Artillery], gunner of the columbiad. Both deserve credit, and the former is highly commenced by Captain Pringle.
The isolated condition of this island is hardly deserved by those who are defending it.
For nearly forty hours there has not been any small boat even communicating with Cumming's Point. I have no means of forwarding my reports to you, and will send my quartermaster, if possible, to suggest facilities.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LAWRENCE M. KEITT,
Captain W. F. NANCE,
*See No. 47; report of Captain Robert Pringle, p.545.