SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S. C.,
August 23, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have to report that this morning, about 3 o'clock, some of the enemy's monitor iron-clads came into the entrance of the harbor, immediately between Fort Moultrie and Battery Gregg.
They opened fire upon Fort Sumter, but the fog was so heavy that I could not ascertain their precise position, after the most careful observation. At dawn of day they were visible, one of them being about 1,000 yards, as near as I could judge, from this island. Our guns at once opened on her. She did not return our fire, and remained perfectly stationary. When we began to fire on her, two other monitors came up in line with her, at a greater distance, however. For several minutes we kept a constant fire on her. The fog, however, unfortunately closed down on her, and rendered her completely invisible. It remained for more than an hour, and thus prevented a continuance of our fire. The enemy's ships remainder silent.
As the vessel nearest to us remained perfectly stationary, I think it is almost certain that she was aground. Had the fog kept off for half an hour, I feel confident that she should have been destroyed by our fire. After it raised, five monitors were seen moving out as rapidly as possible. Our fire was resumed, but from the length of the range it was not very effectual. While, however, the monitor was stationary, I saw that she was repeatedly struck and probably injured.
The report of Colonel Butler,* which I send to you, will advise you of the number of shots fired by our batteries.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
T. L. CLINGMAN,
Captain W. F. NANCE,
Numbers 13. Reports of Colonel William Butler, Third South Carolina Artillery, commanding artillery on Sullivan's Island, of operations August 23 and 31 and September 1-2.
Sullivan's Island, S. C., August 23, 1863.
SIR: Last night (about 3 a. m) the batteries on this island were manned, in consequence of the firing at Fort Sumter from an apparently new direction. A few moments later I received a dispatch from the commanding officer of Fort Sumter, stating that the fleet of the enemy was coming in. Nothing, however, could be seen of it at that time, in consequence of the darkness of the night, and a dense forge which prevailed. Toward the dawn of day the fog cleared away for a short time, when three of the monitors were discovered opposite Fort Moultrie, the nearest one, I think, about 1,200 yards distant. It was thought this boat was for a short time aground.
A rapid fire was opened upon the nearest boat from Fort Moultrie and the batteries adjacent, manned by Companies K and D, First South Carolina [Regular] Infantry, to the right and left, and Battery Beauregard.
*See following report.