Wednesday following he would send a force to take down and rebuild the magazine at Battery William Washington, and desired that I would have some provisions made for the ammunition therein contained; in accordance with which notice the ammunition was on the 8th instant ordered to be removed from the magazine to the basement story of Rantowles House, and a sentinel placed over it. Yesterday, at 5 o'clock p. m., the house took fire, all the buildings were burned down, and the ammunition in the house destroyed. Accompanying this commutation is the report of Lieutenant Edwards, the officer in charge of Battery William Washington.
I have the honor, to be, your very obedient servant,
E. B. WHITE,
Lieutenant Colonel, Chief of Heavy Artillery, Sixth Mil. Dist.
FEBRUARY 18, 1864.
Lieutenant-Colonel White had no authority to remove the ammunition herein named from the magazine to a dwelling-house with fire in it. He will see indorsement on the inclosed and have every particular reported.
HENRY A. WISE,
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
BATTERY WILLIAM WASHINGTON,
Rantowles, S. C., February 17, 1864.
Colonel E. B. WHITE:
SIR: I respectfully report that on yesterday evening, about 5 o'clock the house at Rantowles caught fire and consumed the entire building, together with all the ammunition that had been removed from the magazine and placed in the basement for safe-keeping while the magazine was being rebuilt.
I used every means in my power to extinguish the fire, but my force being small and having but few buckets could not stop the fire. I deemed it entirely unsafe to undertake to move the powder as the wind was very high and the fire flying in every direction. I was a sentinel placed over the ammunition, with instructions not to allow fire to be brought near the ammunition.
JOHN N. EDWARDS,
Lieutenant Co. C., Fifty-ninth Va. Regiment, Commanding Battery.
This report is not satisfactory. How and where did the house catch? Where was the lieutenant? Where the guard? What steps were taken to extinguish the fire? Did the lieutenant remain and superintend the putting out of the fire? What is the report of the sentinel? Let a report be sent in as to every particular from each commissioned and non-commissioned officer present.
HENRY A. WISE,