War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0491 Chapter XL. OPERATIONS ON MORRIS ISLAND, S.C.

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The field howitzers were temporarily commanded by Lieutenant [E. W.] Macbeth, Company A, First South Carolina [Regular] Infantry, and, under his judicious handling, were the principal means of driving off the barges.

Lieutenant Robert M. Stiles, Engineer Corps, showed gallantry and judgment during the affair, assisting Major Gardner in his dispositions.

Few of the barges came nearer than 80 yards, though about 3 men landed from one on the sand-spit above, returning quickly.

The surgeon's report of casualties is inclosed, marked B.*

I cannot be too thankful for the warning which enabled me to repel this insidious attack. While it was going on, the enemy shelled the sally-port and rear of Battery Wagner furiously.

Throughout the night, the enemy's calcium light threw its bright, silvery rays upon our front.

My usual artillery fire was suspended, in the hope that the enemy would likewise cease and my engineer work go on.

Captain T. B. Lee, engineer in charge at Battery Wagner, seemed powerless to arrest its destruction, although his attention was frequently called and he doubtless reflected carefully. He made an effort to repair the bomb-proof just before day, but at the earliest dawn the sharpshooters drove off his party. He had no assistant. Mr. Freer, a worthy old gentleman, had been sent to him, but confessed his total ignorance of engineering, and stuck to headquarters.

Two alarms were given during the night, but found to proceed from reconnoitering parties of the enemy.

September 6 dawned with gloomy prospects. The enemy's approach along the beach had reached a point parallel to the angle of the left salient, and the effect of their continued fire upon our unrepaired damages was certain. My first step was to shelter the men. The 50 men of Twenty-eighth Georgia on picket were observed to stay in the sand-hills, and two companies of Twenty-fifth South Carolina sent there. Most of the remainder of the Twenty-eighth Georgia were put on their line, which was comparatively safe, and all the Twenty-fifth South Carolina ordered to the bomb-proof except a few necessary guards. The chief surgeon and quartermaster were ordered to carry wounded throughout the day to Cumming's Point, regardless of fire.

Our policy was uncertain, General Beauregard having telegraphed just before day:

Repair works. * * * I will determine to-day what measures to adopt.

I was fully impressed with the necessity for an evacuation, and in the course of the day privately informed my regimental commanders of my views and received their hearty concurrence. I notified them that secrecy was required, and that Major Gardner should cover the retreat, if one was ordered.

The enemy's land fire was kept up steadily through the day, but not so furiously as the day before. Their fleet assisted at irregular intervals. Between 6 and 7 a.m. the Ironsides and six monitors were deployed in front of Wagner and the fire from them for about an hour was terrific. It then diminished, and during the remainder of the day was principally kept up by the Ironsides. During the severest fire, at Lieutenant-Colonel Presley's request, I withdrew every man from the salient, observing it from other points.

Early in the afternoon, Colonel Harris, chief engineer, inspected

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*Not found.

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