ever come in, to my knowledge, since the war began, without showing some light or giving some signal by which some suspicion of her friendly character might be suggested, and as the city was threatened by a night attack, and I had received orders to be particularly vigilant on the night on which it occurred, my natural conclusion was that it was a monitor repeating its visit to the harbor. The night was dark, being somewhat cloudy. Soon after the firing commenced, I went into Fort moultrie the second time,a nd was informed by the commanding officer, Major De Treville, that the boat was showing a small light. Without believing then that it was a friendly boat, I nevertheless authorized him to cease firing, and soon after directed the other batteries to discontinue firing for a time. A few moments later a small boat came from the boat, and brought a report of what it was. I did not send assistance to the boat, and brought a report of what it was. I did not send assistance to the boat, as I was informed, by an officer who came on the small boat referred to, that it had not been struck, and only directed a signal to be made that we understood her character.
Colonel First South Carolina [Regular] Infantry.
Lieutenant Colonel JOHN F. LAY,
Numbers 8. Reports of Major Robert De Treville, First South Carolina Infantry, commanding Fort Moultrie.
FORT MOULTRIE, August 31, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that pursuant to orders received at this post, the batteries were manned early last night, and officers and men required to be at their post. About 3 a. m. the officer of the day reported one of the enemy's vessels approaching, and on going out I saw a low, black steamer coming in form the direction of the enemy's fleet. As soon as she was in easy range, I ordered fire opened, and she apparently stopped her course. I supposed it might be one of our own boats, and waited for a signal of some kind, but seeing none, fired again. After about 4 or 5 shots had been fired, a small light, apparently from a candle, was seen on board, and I directed the fire to cease, when the light disappeared. Still in doubt as to the character of the vessel, I had a few guns more fired, when a small boat was seen coming ashore, and we ceased firing.
This morning the steamer is plainly seen of Morris Island, sunk, and I am reliably informed that 2 men of the Twentieth South Carolina Volunteers were killed. The steamer sunk is said to be the C. S. transport Rebel. Great blame must be attached to some one for so unfortunate an occurrence. Not a word of warning was given to any one of the batteries that a steamer laden with our own men would be coming in at that hour form the very direction from which we momentarily expected the approach of na enemy. Not only could the disaster have been prevented by the exhibition of lights, but a boat left, would have warned us of her approach. Had this fort opened with all its guns, the result would have been, indeed, disas-