CAMP OF MARION ARTILLERY, S. CAROLINA VOLS.,
Church Flats, S. C., February 22, 1864.
Captain J. H. PEARCE, A. A. G., Adams' Run, S. C.:
CAPTAIN: On my return from the city last evening I found awaiting my remarks the report of Captain Wise, ordnance officer, and the indorsement of yourself. I would respectfully say that I cannot pretend to exact accuracy in recalling my words, but that I can state the facts precisely, and can only presume that there was no contradiction. On the afternoon of the 11th February, before I ceased firing, my ordnance officer (Sergeant Haig) reported to me that my shell were nearly out, "not more than 5 rounds per gun remaining." I reported the fact to Colonel Kemper, and by his orders fired more slowly, and at my own suggestion used solid shot. When the order to cease firing was given I ordered all the few shell put into my gun limbers and rode to the right, where the brigadier-general commanding was stationed, and there I think I stated "I had some solid shot and a few shell." I was not asked for an official report and made none; in fact, I could not at that moment have done so. When I returned to my battery I found the statement of my ordnance sergeant nearly correct, 27 shell being on hand; solid shot I did not then count; canister I had my full supply of, and I did not in any way allude to it. Captain Wise is mistaken in supposing that the enfeebled state of my horses had anything to do with ammunition being sent to the rear. On the morning of the 9th, before my arrival on the island, the caissons of my first section had been ordered to the rear, and I found them at Curtis Townsend's place. As soon as my extra horses arrived the caissons were there both on 10th and 11th. Three boxes of shell had been sent by me to the first section two days before the 9th. On the morning of the 9th, when the section received orders to move to the front, this unpacked ammunition was sent to the rear with all the camp equipage, and there it remained until the 11th. I did not know until after I was on the field that it had not been put into the caissons. I had it hurried forward, and found it at Matthews' place limbers as soon as the second section returned from picket, on the morning of the 12th, and gave me on that day 119 shot, 51 shell, and 67 canister. Any remarks made about ammunition to the general were made solely with reference to the supply on the field, and I regret that there should be the slightest misapprehension on the subject. I did say to some one while with the brigadier-general that "I had shot enough to finish them," but the remark had no relevancy. I was of course very anxious to have my wants supplied, and my previous experience, which is borne out by Captain Wise, was that supplies came in very slowly. As to any slight inaccuracy as to the exact number of shot and shell, I do not think it necessary to make any apology. It may very well occur to any one under the same circumstances. I had many other important details to look after for the feeding of my men and horses, and when not in the field was constantly employed in doing so. I deeply regret that I should unintentionally have misled any one, and must in conclusion beg to assume for myself any blame which may attach to any portion of the conduct of my battery.
EDWARD L. PARKER,
Captain, Commanding Marion Artillery.