War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0700 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

Search Civil War Official Records

Some time after the small boat arrived, a dispatch by signal was handed Major De Treville from Colonel Rhett, announcing the character of the boat. The captain of the boat promised, upon his return to the boat, to wave his light twice if all was right. After waiting a sufficient time for his return to the boat, and seeing no light, I hurried to the signal station for the purpose of learning the nature of the disaster, and of dispatching to the city, if need be. When I had approached within a hundred yards, more or less, of the station, I heard a hand bell ringing furiously, and heard the sentinel at the guard-house, between the fort and the station, say, "Why don't somebody drag those signal men out of bed? that bell has been ringing this half hour." The bell appears to have been int he hands of a sentinel, whose business it was to notice for lights, and ring when any appeared. When I arrived at the signal-house I discovered that the inmates were all asleep, and had to be aroused by myself.

Your obedient servant,

T. W. WOODWARD,

Captain, A. Q. M., Twentieth South Carolina Volunteers.

Numbers 4. Reports of Major Motte A. Pringle, Quartermaster, C. S. Army.

QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE,

Charleston, S. C., August 31, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in obedience to paragraph -, Special Orders, I proceeded last night in the steamer Chesterfield to Fort Johnson, for the purpose of embarking the troops intended for Morris Island. On my way there I called on the Chicora for the usual assistance in small boats. I was informed that Commodore Tucker had given strict orders that no boat's crew should leave the vessel. My own crew were not sufficient to perform the transportation, and nothing was left me but to take advantage of the obscure night and proceed directly to Morris Island. the steamer Chesterfield having broken down at Fort Johnson wharf, I was obliged to use the Sumter.

The troops and all their supplies were landed on Morris Island, and those that were relieved were taken on board without any molestation whatever from the enemy, although the night had changed into an exceedingly bright one, and at the upper end of the island there was a powerful calcium light. the tide had become so low that we were unable to cross directly over from Morris Island, and we were obliged to go a considerable distance around Fort Sumter. The commanding officer of Fort Moultrie opened upon us. We immediately stopped the steamer, blew the whistle, and waved a light vigorously, but although all these were seen and heard by several of the officers on Sullivan's Island, the fort continued firing until the vessel was sunk. Two men were killed, and several wounded. I had in the meantime dispatched a small boat ashore to inform them who we were. This boat fortunately got there in time to prevent the entire battery opening upon us, in which event the loss of life would have been terrible.