The land guns can all be fixed, though two barbette carriages on the curtain are badly hurt.
The magazines are well protected, and though there has been some sand knocked and blown off the top of the bomb-proof, that is also safe.
The most imminent danger to Battery Wagner is from the enemy's approaches by their skillful engineer troops, who, by means of a very large gabion or sap-roller, pushed obliquely in front of them, work in the day time, and threaten to gain the rifle-pits on the sand ridge in our front. This gained, they could erect breaching batteries, knock down the parapet of the land curtain, and, bay sudden rush, storm the battery.
Feeling the inadequacy of the means at my command to prevent this (although I might check it from time to time), I applied yesterday to Lieutenant Markoe, signal officer, to open communication between Battery Wagner and Shell Point, so that I might direct the fire of the Shell Point (Simkins') battery upon these approaches.
Lieutenant Markoe reported during the night, and promised to open to communication this morning. A safe place for the operator at Wagner was selected by my engineer.
Much could be done by Sumter to drive back the enemy, but I presume that Colonel Rhett would not wish to draw the fire of the enemy upon his sea-face guns.
My Whitworth rifle sharpshooters were comparatively inactive yesterday. I had intended to give special attention to them to-day, and made arrangements to have a large number of Enfiled rifles firing upon the sap-roller.
There is plenty of powder, grape, and canister at Battery Wagner, but the supply of 8-inch and 32-pounder shell has been totally inadequate. In addition to this 32-pounder shell have been sent down, sabots larger than the caliber of the gun.
I was informed an hour since of the arrival of more 8-inch shell at Cumming's Point.
There are no important incidents since my last report.
The picket in front (detailed from Twentieth South Carolina) went out early and took position as usual, increasing, the advance to 30. The enemy afterward deployed a much larger number, estimated at 200 men, 40 to 50 yards in front of them, but kept quiet.
The engineer party (from Twenty-first South Carolina), repaired the holes in sea face, &c., made by Ironsides in the morning, placed spiked plank in the moat and put sand-bag revetment (in place of plank which was falling in) on the left of Magazine A, land face. I have no report of work done at Cumming's Point.
The sharpshooters from Eighth North Carolina reported, and relieved those of Twenty-first South Carolina. At 1 a.m. to-day, a sentinel reported that a rocket had been sent up and three guns from enemy's fleet, he thought from the Ironsides.
Captain Chichester's services have been very valuable, and he remained one day as a volunteer, when relieved by Major Warley, though hardly able to walk, from exhaustion.
I am, very respectfully,
LAWRENCE M. KEITT,
Captain W. F. NANCE,