tery. To my surprise, while visiting the picket, I heard the discharge of three guns, and immediately ran to the battery and stopped the firing, sent for Captain Fleming, and ordered him to immediately investigate the matter, which he did, and his statement I have the honor herewith to inclose.
The officer in charge of the battery, Lieutenant Halsey, Second South Carolina Artillery, had but recently come to this post. I am informed he is a good officer, energetic and prompt in the discharge of his duties, but being unaccustomed to the signals, &c., permitted this unfortunate mistake. He states that he firmly believed that there was an attack upon Fort Sumter at the time, and consequently fired, which was virtually a disobedience of orders, but under the circumstances I did not think the interest of the service demanded his arrest, but called his attention to the facts, and cautioned him against a recurrence. I take this opportunity of saying that since I have been in the service I have devoted my whole time and energy to what I believed to be the faithful discharge of my duties, and was in hopes that I had elicited the confidence of my commanding officers; but having been the subject of recent reprimands for acts committed which I believed to be right, and at the same time feeling the importance of my present command, I respectfully ask, if there is any want of confidence on the part of the commanding general in any ability or willingness to discharge the duties of my office, that I be relieved from command and a more competent officer placed in charge, as I am aware that personal sacrifice should be made for the public good.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOSEPH A. YATES,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Post.
JANUARY 11, 1864.
The explanation furnished by Lieutenant-Colonel Yates having placed the blame on whom it properly belongs, of course he is relieved of any censure contained in the communication from these headquarters. I can see no good reason for acceding to his request to be relieved from his present command.
G. T. B.,
Fort Johnson, January 7, 1864.
Lieutenant C. S. FINDLAY,
Acting Adjutant of Post:
SIR: I have the honor to forward the report of Lieutenant Halsey, Company A, Second Regiment Artillery, who was in charge of the battery on the night of the 3rd instant, explaining why he opened fire on Fort Sumter.
I would most respectfully state, in addition to Lieutenant Halsey's explanation, that positive instructions on that night were given by the commanding officer of artillery not to fire unless the signals were made from Sumter, but it appears by his action that he could not fully have understood the orders issued. It probably may be