HEADQUARTERS BATTERY WAGNER,
August 16, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded, with a recommendation that the change of guns be at once approved. The other suggestions are also commended to favorable consideration.
LAWRENCE M. KEITT,
August 17, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that our battery opened fire again last night about 12 o'clock upon the enemy's works in our front, with seven guns, and kept up a steady fire until 4.30 o'clock this morning. The enemy replied with mortar shell, continuing until we ceased firing. At 5 o'clock this morning they opened upon us quite rapidly with their Parrott guns, from batteries on Thomas Island, firing at the rate of 6 discharges per minute. The position which these batteries occupy, gives them a direct or slightly oblique fire upon our land face as well as a fire upon the rear of our gun-chambers on the sea face.
This will enable them to drive our gunners from their guns while firing seaward.
As much material has been knocked and blown away from the tops of the bomb-proofs and traverses, making the guns much more exposed than formerly. I would respectfully suggest that the traverses be made thicker and at least 4 additional feet of sand be placed on top.
I would respectfully report that the enemy are erecting another about battery in the marsh, between Black Island and Legare's Point, 2,500 yards from this battery, which, if allowed to be finished, will have a complete enfilade fire upon our land battery, and a direct fire into the rear of our sea guns, as well as bomb-proof, Magazine A, and the entire parade of the battery.
The above suggestion relative to heightening the bomb-proof traverses, &c., will apply with equal force to this battery.
I would also recommend that the low flank curtain connecting the land face of the salient with the re-entering angle of the land face, be raised to the height of the other portions of the work and that efforts be made to procure a good gun to be mounted in the angle, where it would not only answer as a flank defense to the moat, but would have a large field of fire, bearing upon the batteries upon Thomas Island.
I would also report that I have examined the dismounted 32-pounder carronade lying in the battery, and find that the only injuries are the breaking of the trunnion and a portion of the champs of the muzzle. As the bore and chamber are still serviceable, I would respectfully recommend that the engineers be instructed to prepare a platform and support of heavy timbers, and place the piece upon it at an angle of about 45 deg., and that it be used as a mortar against the enemy's forces.
I have no casualties to report in the artillery forces since my last, and none of the guns or platforms have been injured by the enemy's bombardment except the 8-inch naval shell gun, No. 5, which was struck by a Parrott shot and disabled by the breaking of the trunnion bed. The artillery garrison was relieved last night by the following