Morris Island, August 19, 1863.
MAJOR: Pursuant to instructions received from you, I proceeded to Battery Gregg, and have the honor to report that when I arrived Lieutenant Pringle was firing on the enemy's batteries that play upon Fort Sumter, with very indifferent success, as his fuses were imperfect and only 7 inches in length. I ordered him to train his 9-inch gun on the battery now being erected by the enemy in the marsh between the wreck of the steamer Manigault and Black Island, but before the order was executed a Parrott shell (100-pounder) entered the chamber of this gun and went into the bomb-proof. Lieutenant Pringle tells me that this is the second time that the same thing occurred. The effect of this shot was most serious to the bomb-proof, breaking a heavy piece of timber and making a large hole.
Believing that firing on the Marsh Battery would only draw a fire on the front, I deemed it prudent, in the condition of the bomb-proof, to countermand the order. From the position of this battery, the 9-inch gun would be exposed to an enfilade fire from the enemy's land batteries, mounting 30-pounder Parrott guns. Lieutenant Pringle reports that for every gun he fired the enemy replied with six or eight with great accuracy. In addition, the engineer reported that if the fire of the enemy was drawn upon the battery, the bomb-proof-the only protection to the men not engaged in working the guns-would be destroyed, thus cutting off communication between the 9-inch gun and the magazine. I therefore ordered all firing to cease. With reference to the effect of Battery Gregg's fire upon the batteries which play upon Fort Sumter, Lieutenant Pringle thinks it doubtful if he could do them much damage, as he will be forced to fire slowly on account of the concentrated fire of the enemy, before alluded to, whenever he opens. In my opinion, if the 9-inch gun was embrasure it might he used with much-more effect on these batteries, and, in addition, would act as a protection to the mouth of the bomb-proof. The only disadvantage from this arrangement would be cutting off the field of fire from the sea; but, as a 9-inch gun is not very efficient for solid shot, I do not deem the disadvantage sufficiently great to counteract the advantage gained against the enemy's battery.
The ammunition at the post is very short, there being only 20 10-inch shell for two guns and 15 for the 9-inch. I beg to call your attention to the fact that the present transom of the 10-inch columbiad, on the left, bearing on the land, on Monday was very much injured by a Parrott shot. I consider the carriage so much weakened that it will cause the dismounting of the gun after a few rapid discharges. I would respectfully recommend a requisition being made for a new carriage.
I would further suggest that a consultation be had by the engineer of Battery Gregg and the chief engineer of the island as to the most expedient manner of repairing damage to the bomb-proof and avoiding a recurrence of the same.
Captain, and Chief of Artillery.