War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0705 Chapter XL. SINKING OF CONFEDERATE TRANSPORT SUMTER.

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the sinking of a harbor steamer in the channel and the wounding of several of our men. I myself thought that the vessel was one of the enemy's, the indistinct outlines of which were seen moving up the main channel form the direction of the fleet. It has been customary to give notice to the batteries on this island when a vessel was expected to run in or out of the harbor (even before Charleston was immediately threatened), and signals were agreed upon. No such notice in this case was given, nor did the boat exhibit any light when first seen. Some time after fire opened upon it, a small light was shown, when the firing was discontinued, although I considered that there was some risk incurred in doing so. Soon after the order was given to cease firing, a small boat came form the boat fired into and reported that it was one of our own. I regret the unnecessary sacrifice.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding.


Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY, Sullivan's Island, September 1, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to respectfully request that if any blame is to be attached to the officers of this command for the accident which resulted in the sinking of a harbor steamer night before last, an investigation be had of the matter.

The order was given to fire upon the steamer, supposing that the practice, which has heretofore been observed, of notifying the batteries on the island when a friendly vessel was to run into or out of the harbor, would not be neglected at a time when Charleston was threatened with a night attack.

Friendly vessels running the blockade have always, upon entering the harbor, shown a light that could be distinctly seen; and if this had been the case with the boat in question, it would not have been fired upon. The night was cloudy, with a fog prevailing, and the monitors, on two occasions, had chosen such a night to enter the harbor. Without knowing who is to blame, I beg leave to say that while it is our duty to accept any position to which, as soldiers, we may be properly assigned, we are unwilling to be held responsible for the gross neglect of duty or recklessness of others.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel 1st S. C. [Regular] Infantry, in Command.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY, Sullivan's Island, September 3, 1863.

COLONEL: The harbor steamer which was sunk a few nights since was fired upon with my authority, under the following circumstances:

The steamer came in through the main ship-channel from the direction of the enemy's iron-clad fleet, and as no friendly vessel has