War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0702 S.C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E.FLA. Chapter XL.

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Shortly after the commencement of the firing, the wheelman deserted his helm, and the boat drifted on a shoal, where she grounded,a nd it proved a fortunate circumstance for the safety of the troops. Before many shots were fired, Fort Sumter displayed a bright light on the rampart, which was the signal generally used that a friendly boat was passing. I am credibly informed that all the signals which I have enumerated were distinctly heard, or seen, by many officers and men on the island, and also the screams of the men being, "for God's sake," not to shoot, were heard. The commanding officer at Fort Moultrie has said that a dim light was exhibited but for a short time, and that he ceased firing till it disappeared. I can bring evidence to prove that the same light continued until my small boat reached the shore,a nd was pointed out to the officers by those on board of her. I would state that it never has been the habit of adopting a regular system of lights between the forts and steamboats; that upon frequent occasions a shot has been fired across their bow, and that upon the same signals being made which were made the other night, permission was given to proceed; that it was impossible to adopt, as suggested by the commanding officer of the fort, the plan of having a light on board, or throwing up rockets at Cumming's Point. On the other hand, it is all important to do everything in our power to conceal our movements form the enemy as much as possible.

I would further state that about the fourth from the last shot killed and wounded the men, and that the boat was not hurt until the firing had for some time continued, so that if our signals had been respected as soon as observed, no damage would have been done.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

MOTTE A. PRINGLE,

Major, and Quartermaster.

Lieutenant Colonel A. ROMAN,

Assistant Inspector-General.

QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE, Charleston, September 4, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to state, in addition to my former statement, that there is no established code of signals between the transports and either Sumter or Sullivan's Island. As we repeatedly pass closely by the former we generally blow the whistle, and hail, in order to save time.

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

MOTTE A. PRINGLE,

Major, and Quartermaster.

Lieutenant Colonel A. ROMAN,

Assistant Inspector-General.

Numbers 5. Report of Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley, C. S. Army, commanding First Military District.

CHARLESTON, August 31, 1863.

GENERAL: I regret to report that while the relief of the troops form Morris Island was being effected, the steamer Sumter, being