War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0598 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,

Morris Island, S. C., August 19, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report that a heavy northeaster, which commenced early yesterday afternoon, and is still raging, has very seriously interfered with the accuracy of our fire against Fort Sumter, and has temporarily suspended our approaches to Fort Wagner.

The tides have been very high, entirely overflowing to the depth of 1 foot the narrow neck of low ground between our advanced batteries and Fort Wagner, and completely submerging our trenches.

Two deserters from Comming's Point reached our lines to-day, having been, according to their report, forty-eight hours in coming through the marsh. They represent themselves as part of boat's crew regularly plying between Cumming's Point and Fort Sumter, and say that all the casemates,including the officers' quarters, on the gorge of that work, have been filled with sand-bags and cotton bales (the former being next to the scarp wall) to the thickness of 18 or 20 feet. They also say that the guns mounted on the gorge of Sumter have all been removed to James Island, and their places supplied with "quaker guns." This last report is doubtless correct and the others probably so.

They represent the enemy's force on this island as about 3,000, including three batteries of light artillery, and that the batteries occupy a position about 200 yards in rear of Fort Wagner through the night, and are kept in deep trenches near Cumming's Point during the day.

The average number of casualties per day remains about the same. Some days I lose as many as 5 or 6 killed and wounded; on others none at all.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,

Morris Island, S. C., August 24, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report the practical demolition of Fort Sumter as the result of our seven days' bombardment of that work, including two days of which a powerful northeasterly storm most seriously diminished the accuracy and effect of our fire.

Fort Sumter is to-day a shapeless and harmless mass of ruins. My chief of artillery, Colonel J. W. Turner, reports its destruction so far complete that it is no longer of "any avail in the defense of Charleston." He also says that-

By a longer fire it could be a made more completely a ruin and a mass of broken masonry, but could scarcely be more powerless for the defense of the harbor.

My breaching batteries were located at distances varying between 3,330 and 4,240 yards from the work, and now remain as efficient as ever. I deem it unnecessary at present to continue their fire upon the ruins of Fort Sumter.

I have also, at great labor, and under a heavy fire from James Island, established batteries on my left, within effective range of the