Jordan, 6 officers and 100 men, from the Nineteenth, Twenty-third, Twenty-seventh, and Twenty-eight Georgia.
Enemy continue working, but are seriously interrupted by our shelling, when it takes place.
December 11.-Lieutenant-Colonel Elliot being slightly wounded, and having placed me* temporarily in command of the fort, I would respectfully beg leave to submit the following report of shots fired at the fort to-day; Rifled shots, hit, 125; rifled shots, missed, 18; total rifled, 143. Mortar shells, hit, 62; mortar shells missed, 15 Total shots and shells fired, 220.
The signal corps established communication this evening, but cannot to-night.
December 12.-At 9.30 yesterday morning, the southwest magazine exploded. Owing to the want of space, the ammunition for small-arms and howitzers, ammoniating to about 150 pounds of powder, was stored in the inner room. The commissary stores were kept principally in the outer room, which was also rased as an issuing office. The material in these rooms were immediately ignited, their occupants killed, and those station in the adjoining passages either killed, or burned with greater of less severity.
The passages leading to the lower and upper tiers of casemates, and those casemates themselves, were filled instantly with the most dense smoke, introduced by a blast of great strength, whose flame was visible from the room occupied as headquarters. In total darkness, the occupants rushed from the stifling smoke to the open embrasures, leaving their arms and blankets being. The continuance of the smoke prevented any prolonged attempt to obstruct the progress of the fire.
With great promptness, a boat was sent for the navy, with a supply of water-buckets. The telegraphic apparatus was removed and located at another position, by Mr. W. R. Cathcart, the operator, who behaved remarkably well; but he was compelled to retire from this second position by the advance of the fire.
The signal officers made repeated efforts to attract the attention of Sullivan's Island and Fort Johnson, but were unable to succeed until a late hour in the day. The Sullivan's Island corps could be sent operating with other points, an inattention, when it was known that we were under unusual circumstances and cut off from all communication, seems to me reprehensible in the extreme, and ought, I think, to be looked into.
The effect of the fire was to destroy the roof of the magazine and the southwest stairway, the woodwork in the two tiers of casemates, as far in the lower as the old sally-port.
The damage done will not materially affect the defense of the work. Captain Johnson, of the Engineers, was everywhere, doing everything that man could do.
Lieutenant [L. A.]Harper, Company F, Twenty-fifth South Carolina Volunteers, showed great gallantry in rescuing burring bodies from the smoke and flames. Captain Sellers, of the same company, gave me great assistance in superintending the arrangements last night, at a time when a slight temporary injury prevented me from running about.
Soon after the fire became apparent, the enemy opened fire, throwing 143 rifled shots, of which 18 missed, and 77 mortar shells, of which
* Captain M. H. Sellers, Twenty-fifth South Carolina.