War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0537 Chapter XL. OPERATIONS ON MORRIS ISLAND, S.C.

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the enemy upon this battery by their approaches, has been apparently almost fruitless. I am induced to offer the following plan of operations, believing that it is practicable and will result in materially retarding their progress, if not in their complete overthrow.

The fire which is now directed upon them, artillery and sharpshooters, is apparently in a great degree harmless, and I propose to throw forward on the right flank of Battery Wagner beyond the ditch a covered way and gun chamber by means of sand-bags. This chamber when finished is expected to be supplied with a 12-pounder howitzer. This gun will be then in position to rake the advance approach of the enemy, and put a complete stop to their work.

I think the proposed work can be done by a skillful and energetic engineer in one night; then the next morning it is expected to take them by surprise and rake the ditch. Several rounds can be fired before the enemy will be able to get the range and direction. When the enemy has done this, the gun can be dismounted and covered with sand-bags, to be used again as soon as the fire is not too annoying.

Major Bryan, assistant adjutant-general, and myself visited the outside of the ditch on the extreme right to-night. We think that a suitable position for this work can be found beyond the ditch.

If it is although that the enemy would discover us when at work, a feint could be made upon the extreme left flank, by means of a sortie, and while the enemy is thus distracted, our work can be pushed vigorously to completion.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain 1st S. C. [Regular] Inf., Actg., Chief of Artillery.


Respectfully forwarded. It is hoped that this plan would be successful, if tried. At present the enemy's advance upon this work, unless some additional measures are taken to check it, is mere question of time. The weight of metal at the disposition of the commander of this battery will not prevent their approaches from being pushed up to the very moat, in a time very short. The present engineer is unwilling to adopt this scheme, which would require a more active man than Captain [T. B.] Lee.


Colonel, Commanding.


Charleston, S. C. September 6, 1863.

Respectfully referred to Lieutenant-Colonel Harris for his immediate consideration. Every exertion should be made to retard, if possible, the advance of the enemy to the site of Battery Wagner.


General, Commanding.

OFFICE CHIEF ENGINEER, September 7, 1863.

Respectfully returned, with the remark that Captain Lee's rejection of the proposed scheme is approved, and that I do not think he merits the implied rebuke in the foregoing indorsement of the colonel commanding.


Chief Engineer.