within range of Fort Sumter. Being at the time on Sullivan's Island, the batteries were ordered to open upon her, which they did with the few guns which would bear, when she was about 2,200 yards form Fort Moultrie and 1,800 yards from Sumter. She increased her distance after the first 2 shots to about 2,700 yards from Moultrie.
About 12 another monitor came to her support and, keeping at about the same range, opened fire on Sumter. The two kept up a cannonade, in connection with the batteries of the enemy on Morris Island, upon that fort throughout the day. The fire of the monitors was to a considerable extent interfered with by the practice from Sullivan's Island, although it was at comparatively long range for the object, and but few guns would bear, their field of fire being materially contracted by the merlons shutting them off from Morris Island. When ascertained that the enemy kept his position under these circumstances, the fire was discontinued.l The monitors retired towards dusk. The Morris Island batteries kept up a fire on Fort Sumter throughout the night. No shots were fired by the enemy at Sullivan's Island.
One the 14th, the attack was renewed by the monitors at about the same time, the fire being directed as before at Sumter, the batteries on Morris Island still keeping up the cannonade vigorously.
The position of the enemy's vessels permitted a heavier fire from the batteries on Sullivan's Island, and one soon moved out of action. The other followed to the extreme range of her guns and about 2 o'clock ceased firing. Mean time, having learned from department headquarters that the fire of the enemy form Morris Island was annoying to the working parties at Sumter and causing some damage, I ordered the guns and mortars of Sullivan's Island which would bear to open a heavy fire on the enemy's batteries. This was speedily done, and the result was that, with the effect of those from James Island, the enemy's fire slackened, and within an hour had nearly ceased at Fort Sumter. He opened on Sullivan's Island with mortars and Parrott guns, and also on James Island, but without any effect upon the position under my command.
Seeing that the enemy was availing himself of the position of our merlons to screen his vessels from fire, I directed the engines to open as many embrasures in the direction of the sea approach as would give us a command of the usual position of the monitors. This was accomplished by Monday, the 16th, to the extent of few embrasures.
No firing occurred on the 15th. One the morning of the 16th, two monitors approached and commenced the action as before. Their positions were taken with apparent confidence until the batteries opened, which they did with full effect. The nearest distance was about 1,800 yards, but the monitors immediately hauled off, keeping up the fire at long range at Sumter and pursued by our shot until they were from 3,500 to 3,800 yards distant. The practice was admirable.
Of 92 shots at different ranges from Sullivan's Island, 35 took effect. One monitor went off with her pilot-house badly knocked to pieces, and both were evidently seriously damaged, having been severely hit by heavy shot in their turrets, on their decks, and between wind and water. The renewal of the attempt against Fort Sumter proved a failure to the enemy and demonstrated the power of our heavy batteries, and the skill of our artillerists, officers and men.