No. 31. Reports of Captain C. E. Chichester, Gist Guard, Artillery, Chief of Artillery, &c.
CHARLESTON, S. C., July 31, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I desire respectfully to present the following report:
Saturday, July 25, 1863.-Having procured an order relieving my company for a time from Battery Wagner, but feeling the deepest interest in the successful defense of the battery, I asked and received permission from the general commanding to remain at the battery until relieved, and render such assistance and advice to the chief of artillery as my knowledge of everything connected with the battery might dictate. I also received from the general a supply of safety-fuses and rifles, with full instructions as to their use, should occasion require. I arrived at Battery Wagner about 9 p.m. and reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Yates for special duty.
Sunday, July 26.-Was sent for at 7 a.m. by General Taliaferro, who informed me that he desired me to occupy the position of chief of artillery in place of Colonel J. A. Yates, who was compelled to return to the city on account of illness. I accepted the position, and proceeded at once to carry out all requisite orders. The first matter of importance to which I turned my attention was to move the dismounted 32-pounder smooth-bore from its chamber on the sea face to a chamber on the land face, occupied by an 8-inch sea-coast howitzer, also dismounted. My reasons for making this change were that I had no carriage suitable for remounting the howitzer, but had one which would do for the 32-pounder smooth-bore, also because I was desirous of cleaning out the chamber on the sea face preparatory to laying a platform for another 10-inch columbiad, which I hoped to get soon. Succeeded, by my own personal superintendence, in getting the 32-pounder to its place, its chassis and carriage in position, and the gin put together and laid over trail, thus having every thing ready to raise the gin at dark and mount the guns before midnight. Captain R. Pringle, commanding company-Lucas' battalion-raised a question of rank between himself and myself and reported to General Taliaferro that he was entitled to the position of chief of artillery, as he was the ranking officer. General Taliaferro, being desirous of making no changes, informed Captain Pringle that he considered me as acting on his staff, and consequently the question of rank did not apply. In the afternoon, General Colquitt arrived to relieve General Taliaferro. In turning over the command, this matter of rank was again brought up, and I was called away from my labors on the gun to make my statement. I informed the generals that I was mustered into Confederate service on the 12th of September, 1861, from which date to the present I have been in constant service and have received pay as captain from the Confederate Government and not from the State authorities; that my present company had been mustered into Confederate service on April 2, 1862, but that it had been decided by competent authority that I should date from September 12, 1861. They desired me to continue the duties of chief of artillery as a staff officer, and they would refer the matter to the general commanding the district for his decision. After getting the 32-pounder all ready for mounting, I proceeded to lay the platform in chamber No. 2, sea face, for the new columbiad, and succeeded in getting it ready before dark, whereupon I telegraphed