War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0484 S.C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E.FLA. Chapter XL.

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At dark, I sent to Captain H. R. Lesesne, who was commanding Battery Gregg, an order to prepare to blow up his magazine and render his guns unserviceable, directing him to cover with Captain F. D. Lee, of the engineers, who had read the orders. I had no copy of the detailed order, which came late, to give him, which was thus not communicated to him. I refer you to his report, marked B, for particulars.*

To anticipate the possibility of a pursuit by the enemy while retreating from Wagner, I ordered Lieutenant Robert M. Stiles, chief engineer at Battery Gregg, to construct a rifle-pit across the island at a narrow point about a quarter of a mile in advance of Battery Gregg. This was accomplished by him after dark, while under mortar fire, with a force of 77 negroes in his charge. He also cut away most of the earth covering of the magazine on the siege toward our James Island batteries, then sent his negroes off to Fort Johnson, using a large flat left at Cumming's Point for that purpose.

Owing to the necessity of protecting the already reduced garrison, I had, early on the morning of the 6th instant, made the following disposition of my troops: The Twenty-seventh Georgia Regiment, effective total 175 men, commanded by Major Gardner, a gallant and intelligent officer, were in the sand-hills, well protected in pits dug there, the hillock being natural traverses. Fifty men of the Twenty-eighth Georgia, under Captain [M.] Adams, who had picketed the beach during the night, were also there; the remainder of the regiment, numbering 130 effective, were assigned to the extreme right of Battery Wagner; about 45 kept out on the lines and the remainder in the bomb-proof. The Twenty-fifth South Carolina (Eutaw) Regiment, which had been terribly reduced by casualties and sickness, during the day and night preceding, to an effective total of about 365 men, manned the left and center of the battery, keeping only a guard of each company on its respective position of the lines, the remainder in the bomb-proof. Two companies of this regiment were sent to the sand-hills for protection and to make room in the bomb-proof, where several men had fainted on the 5th from excessive heat and foul air. Major Garnder was ordered to cover the retreat with the Twenty-seventh Georgia in case of pursuit by the enemy; in the meantime, to picket the beach at dark and hold his reserve in readiness to support Battery Wagner.

At early dark, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Pressley, commanding Twenty-fifth South Carolina, a very intelligent and reliable officer, to detail four companies (about 100 men) to take a field piece from the left curtain to Cumming's Point and embark on the first boats. Half an hour after, Captain Crawford, commanding Twenty-seventh Georgia Volunteers, was ordered to move a howitzer form the right of Wagner to the rifle-pit near Gregg, place the piece in position there, collect his regiment, form line of battle in rifle-pits when Captain Crawford had left. Lieutenant-Colonel Pressley was ordered to extend his lines and cover the line manned by the Twenty-eighth Georgia as soon as that regiment started, which was promptly done by him. I will here remark that all night, as on the previous night, the enemy threw a strong calcium light on the front of Battery Wagner.


*See No. 39, p.531.