I found the enemy shelling the island from Battery Gregg to Wagner, on my arrival. About or a little after dark, their Parrott guns ceased firing, but their mortars continued during the night.
General Hagood had made preparation to open fire on the enemy's working party in front of Wagner, at 8 p.m. yesterday. I determined to carry out this programme, but was prevented by receiving a dispatch from Fort Johnson, just about the time I was ready to open fire, that troops for this point were on transport and ready to leave.
Finding my garrison very much fatigued and worn out, I thought best not to draw fire of the Abolitionists till my relief had been perfected. At 12.30 o'clock the relief had not yet arrived, and as I could hear nothing from them, I directed Captain Chichester, chief of artillery, to open fire on the enemy then at work in our front, which he promptly did with eight shot, averaging about one gun every minute and a half. The shells were mostly 3" fuses, with an occasional 5", and the entire practice was unusually good, the shells bursting low and immediately over the different working parties and batteries from the front beach to the back creeks, rendering it impossible for the enemy to do any labor while the firing continued. At 3 o'clock, the moon arose showing both to the land batteries and two monitors, lying in our front, the position of our battery, whereupon I ordered the firing to cease (this was recommended by Captain Chichester).
The enemy's land batteries opened with two monitor and three rifled Parrott guns, at first firing wildly but gradually getting our range, until the firing became very accurate. At daylight they had acquired the exact range, throwing their mortar shells into the different gun-chambers and galleries of the bomb-proof.
At 3.30 clock, one of the monitors lying in front opened fire on us. I returned with one 10-inch columbiad, and the rifled 32-pounder continued for thirty minutes, when the monitor having been struck seven times moved out of range.
Captain Chichester now ceased firing, when I ordered the guns again masked. The enemy continued the fire from their land batteries for about two hours longer, doing no damage. During the engagement Private George Egleston, Gist Guard (Captain Chichester), was mortally wounded while at his gun-since dead-and Private P. Elder, Marion Artillery (Captain Parker), was slightly wounded.
I would respectfully call attention to the necessity of strengthening the rear of this work against an assault by erecting traverses and placing guns in position.
I find the ordnance department in good condition here. Captain Hill, ordnance officer, has everything in its place, and is unceasing in his efforts to keep his department in proper order. Some projectiles are needed, for which Captain Hill has made requisition.
The enemy kept quiet during the day (after ceasing fire this morning), until 5.15 p.m., when they opened from their land batteries (mortars and Parrotts) and have continued a brisk fire until the present time, 7 p.m.; it is still going on.
Battery Gregg joined in the fire on the enemy last night, and annoys them whenever she can.
Private Washington I. Smith, Gist Guard, mortally; Private John L. Patrick, Gist Guard, severely; Sergt. Casper Unfug, Gist