batteries in the destruction of the steamer Presto, which attempted to enter the harbor of Charleston on the night of the 1st instant:
After passing safely through the fleet, she struck on a bar on the Sullivan's Island shore, between Forts Beauregard and Moultrie. She was discovered to be aground at reveille on the morning of the 2nd, when the three 30-pounder Parrotts in Fort Putnam were immediately opened upon her. The first 3 shells (time fuse) burst over her, driving away the men who were engaged in discharging the cargo. At 8 a. m., the 300-pounder Parrott in Battery Chatfield was opened opened upon the steamer with good effect, 1 shell striking the furnaces. About this time two monitors moved up and commenced firing at long range, most of their shots passing over or falling short. Fort Strong opened soon after, firing a shell every fifteen minutes from the 200-pounder Parrott until 7 p. m. A 100-pounder Parrott at Strong was opened at noon and continued to fire until daylight the next morning. The fire of this gun, with that of the two 30-pounders in Putnam, prevented the rebels from getting any of her cargo during the night. She was set on fire about noon and burned for two hours. During the afternoon her mainmast was cut away by a shell from our batteries. On the morning of the 3rd, the 200-pounder at Fort Strong threw 15 shells at the wreck, of which 5 struck the hull. The vessel was again set on fire in the afternoon by the 30-pounder Parrotts in Putnam and burned until dark. The fire was kept up from the 30-pounders through the night of the 3rd and morning of the 4th until daylight, to prevent anything being taken from the wreck. The iron-clads kept up a fire during the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, but with little accuracy. The night of the 4th, the rebels constructed a foot bridge form the shore to the wreck, and since then I have caused a shell to be fired at intervals to prevent their obtaining any of her cargo or other articles which may not have been destroyed.
While our batteries were shelling the steamer on the morning of the 2nd, the rebel batteries on Sullivan's and James Islands kept up a heavy fire. They threw 400 shells, which burst in and around our batteries, wounding 2 of the Third Rhode Island Artillery.
During the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 768 projectiles were thrown at the steamer from our batteries, of which Chatfield threw 34 300-pounder shells: Fort Strong, 74 200-pounder shells and 86100-pounder; and Fort Putnam, 535 30-pounder shells. The distance of the steamer from the batteries is as follows: Fort Strong, 3,600 yards; from Battery Chatfield, 2,700 yards, and from Fort Putnam, 2,600. The vessel is a complete wreck; she was a side-wheel steamer.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. H. DAVIS,
Colonel 104th Pennsylvania Vols., Commanding Post.
Brigadier General JOHN W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS DAVIS' BRIGADE, Hilton Head, S. C., July 14, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade in the late expedition to John's Island down to time I was wounded and obliged to go to the rear:
The brigade, composed of the One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, One hundred and fifty-seventh and One hundred