Taking all circumstances into consideration, I trust that this will not compare unfavorably on the part of the garrison with any other retreat made during this war.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LAWRENCE M. KEITT,
Captain W. F. NANCE,
A. A. G., 1st Mil. Dist., Dept. S. C., Ga., and Fla.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., September 19, 1863.
Had this evacuation been conducted in strict compliance with detailed orders, it would be one of the most memorable in history, and after all, may be regarded as a signal success and highly creditable to the commanding officer and all officers and men who participated in it. Subjected to a terrible fire, and beleaguered almost to the very ditch of the work, by an enterprising, watchful adversary, yet the entire garrison was withdrawn in safety. The coolness and discipline which characterized this operation, and through which an efficient command has been saved to the country for future use, are deemed worthy of notice and commendation by the War Department, especially when taken in connection with their stout defense of Morris Island for four days preceding the evacuation, together with the limited and imperfect means of water transportation at command.
One of the reasons assigned for not bursting the guns, blowing up the magazines and bomb-proofs in Batteries Wagner and Gregg-that is, and alleged want of time after the order to evacuate had reached Morris Island-calls, however, for remarks from these headquarters. It had been a standing order for several weeks previous to the evacuation that in such an event all guns, magazines, bomb-proofs, &c., should be thoroughly destroyed, and, with that view, time fuses had been tested, and, with rat-tail files, were provided for both works. Further, the written special instructions of Brigadier-General Ripley, prescribing measures and means for the complete destruction of these works and of their armaments at the proper time, and the detailed orders directing and regulating the evacuation of Morris Island, were received by the commanding officers at dark on the 6th instant (about 6 p.m.). The last detachment of his command did not quit the island until after 1 a.m. on the 7th instant; hence, there were seven hours for the completion of all necessary arrangements. I am, therefore, unable to admit that there was any lack of time for the thorough execution of the work of destruction ordered. It is not explained why the time fuses failed to explode the powder left in the magazines. They were seen burning brightly when last observed, and it is therefore probable that either before or while the fire was being applied the ends in contact with the powder were accidentally detached.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
CHARLESTON, September 18, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of my command on Morris Island during September 5 and 6, previous to the evacuation:
On the 5th instant, about 5.15 a.m., the Ironsides opened a heavy