vessels, our fire was much heavier. The guns bearing on them were served rapidly, especially after noon, and at the same time a heavy fire from all our mortar batteries and guns bearing on Morris Island was opened on the enemy there. Our batteries on James Island also kept up a simultaneous fire on the land batteries of the enemy. The result was that the activity of those batteries sensibly diminished, and at times ceased altogether. The operations of the monitors were also materially interrupted. They were hit repeatedly, and finding themselves compelled to avoid our shot by moving to and fro continually, which greatly impaired the accuracy of their own aim at Fort Sumter, they finally abandoned their attack for the day and moved off at an early hour.
On the 16th, the attack was renewed at the same hour. During the night of the 14th and 15th, arrangements had been made to enable us to command the position usually occupied by the monitors with several more of our heavy guns, by opening new embrasures through the merlons thrown up in front of them. The enemy, probably having sustained no injury before, came up quite audaciously on this day, approaching even nearer than on the 14th instant. Our fire was extremely rapid from four 10-inch guns, one 11-inch, one 7-inch Brooke, and one 10-inch, rifled and banded, and it was as accurate as rapid. I do not think it could be surpassed. Out of 92 shots, 35 were palpable hits, some of them hard. One of the vessels had the proof of her pilot-house knocked partly off, and the smokestacks of both were repeatedly pierced. Some shots struck at or near the base of the turret; others apparently between wind and water. In an hour and a half both vessels retired, and have not since renewed their attempt.
The Morris Island batteries all along maintained a slow but steady fire on Sumter. The monitors did not on either occasion reply to the batteries on this island. The Morris Island batteries fired at Fort Moultrie, on the 14th, thrice with 10-inch columbiad, once with 200-pounder Parrott, but without effect.
I cannot but consider the action of the 16th as clearly indicating the ability of our heavy guns to cope with the iron vessels of the enemy. On the 14th, they were very uncomfortable. But their withdrawal on the 16th was a complete acknowledgment of their unwillingness to encounter us for any length of time. It was impossible, of course, to know the exact amount and character of the injuries they received. But the slowness of their fire and their early escape from ours made it certain that it was more than they could safely endure. At all events must have considered the risk disproportionate to the mischief they hoped to accomplish by renewing their bombardment of Fort Sumter.
All the batteries at the west end of the island were engaged more or less according to the distance and the location of their guns, and at all a high degree of skill was exhibited.
For particulars as to the guns used, &c., I beg leave to refer to the report* of Captain Huguenin, in immediate command of these batteries, herewith forwarded.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. S. BASINGER,
Captain E. M. SEABROOK,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
* See p.271.