The evidence further shows that there was a dereliction on the part of the signal corps stationed on Sullivan's Island on this occasion; that is, no signal officer or man was at his post to read the signals from Fort Sumter in time.
Please communicate the substance of this communication to those whom it may concern.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Chief of Staff.
Numbers 6. Report of Brigadier General T. L. Clingman, C. S. Army, commanding on Sullivan's Island.
SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S. C., August 31,1 863.
CAPTAIN: I inclose to you the report of Colonel Butler and others in relation to the firing into the steamer Sumter by the batteries on this island.
I must say, in addition, that this steamer appeared in the channel to be approaching Fort Sumter just as the monitors had done on the morning of the 23rd and 26th instant, and in the darkness could not be distinguished from the enemy's ships. The shoal on which she grounded and sunk was on precisely the same line between Fort Moultrie and Battery Gregg as that on which the enemy's monitors grounded, as stated in my report of the occurrences of the 23rd. In fact, at one time that morning, three of the enemy's monitors were on this line, but all nearer than the Sumter was to us.
I cannot see that our artillerists were in any respect to blame in the matter. Had the captain of the boat detained her until he had sent a dispatch to this island, such a disaster would have been prevented. To guard against such occurrences in future, I would respectfully repeat what has heretofore been suggested, that a small boat or two from the harbor be stationed opposite Cumming's Point, to give notice of the approach of the enemy's vessels by rockets, or other signals, and thus enable our artillerists to know when to fire. In this mode we might have earlier notice of the approach of the enemy's monitors, and also avoid such unfortunate occurrences in future.
Very respectfully, &c.,
T. L. CLINGMAN,
Captain W. F. NANCE,
Numbers 7. Reports of Colonel William Butler, First South Carolina [Regular] Infantry, commanding artillery.
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY, Sullivan's Island, August 31, 1863.
SIR: I have but little to add to the reports of the battery commanders in reference to the occurrence last night, which resulted in