The guns were manned, and, when within range, fire was opened. All the boats replied rapidly, striking the fort a number of times, but without any other damage than destroying a portion of the barracks. The fire continued very rapidly and with precision form the boats, our guns replying steadily for about two hours, when the enemy withdrew. No casualties to report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBERT DE TREVILLE,
Lieutenant M. KING,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., September 9, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that yesterday morning, 8th instant, one of the monitors (the weehawken) was observed to be aground opposite this post, and fire was at once opened on her with effect, many of our shots having been seen to strike the hull, of which a large portion was exposed by the lowness of the tide. The steamer promptly replied, and soon brought to her assistance the Ironsides and five other monitors. At about 8 a. m. the Ironsides came to anchor about 1,200 yards from the fort,a nd the monitors took their position higher up the river, and at about 1,800 yards, and together opened a terrific fire from rifled and 15-inch guns, using shot,s hell, shrapnel, grape, and incendiary shell.
I regret to announce here an accident most terrible in its effect, and but for which our casualties would have ben but slight. A 15-inch shell from the Weehawken struck the muzzle of an 8-inch columbian, and, glancing off, exploded among a number of shell-boozes at which a number of the men of Captain Smith's company were stationed), killing instantly 16 men and wounding 12 others. Captain [R. P.] Smith, jr., himself narrowly escaped by leaping from the parapet into the ditch in front of the fort.
The fire from the enemy now became furious,a nd broadside after broadside from the Ironsides would tear through he buildings of the fort, sending fragments of every description in every direction, and rendering it almost impossible to pass from one portion of the fort to another; but nobly did officers and men remain at their guns and return their fire. Captain Burnet's company came from the Beauregard Battery under a storm of shot and shell and relieved Captain Smith, whose men had been nearly all killed or wounded by the explosion already mentioned.
Lieutenant D. G. Calhoun deserves great credit for the manner in which he discharged his duties as officer of the day, in carrying out the arrangement for the removal of the dead and wounded, and frequently in extinguishing fires in different parts of the fort during the most severe part of the bombardment.
Captain G. A. Wardlaw, assistant quartermaster, volunteers his services at one of the guns, and was conspicuous for his coolness and the manner in which he handled his piece, but was himself knocked down by a piece of one of the traverses, which, fortunately, inflicted no other damage than a momentary unconsciousness and some slight bruises.