[Inclosure Numbers 3.]
RANTOWLES STATION, February 17, 1864.
RESPECTED GENERAL: The powder and shells from Battery William Washington, at this place, were removed out of the magazine and placed in my house by Lieutenant Edwards, of Wise's brigade, by order of Lieutenant-Colonel White, some weeks since. I remonstrated, but was told it was a military necessity and must be done.
The premises were blown up last night and not a particle of anything is standing the brick foundations and chimneys are blown to the winds.
The premises could have been saved, in all probability, but no one would render any assistance or aid in putting out the fire (caught on the roof), from the powder and shells being in the house.
I endeavored to save the powder and succeeded in removing several boxes. The fire gaining rapidly, I desisted, and when the explosion took place it was fired, as also the outbuildings and portion of the battery.
General, a family of nine persons are wholly dependent on my exertions for a support, and this place is our only maintenance. We are thus thrown upon the world a dollar; all is lost. I most respectfully implore some immediate aid to enable me to erect a shelter, if but one room, and I will thank God and my country and its noble general.
With distinguished considerations of esteem, respect, and admiration,
L. J. MESSERRY.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, &C.,
February 20, 1864.
Respectfully referred to Brigadier-General Wise, for a report of the circumstances attending the destruction of the powder.
By command of General Beauregard:
JNO. M. OTEY,
[Inclosure Numbers 4.]
BATTERY WILLIAM WASHINGTON,
Rantowles, S. C., February 19, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel E. B. WHITE:
SIR: I respectfully report that I was standing in the porch, and seeing more smoke than usual looked up and saw that the house was on fire. I then gave the alarm and ran upstairs, and after getting an ax, which I asked one of the men to bring me, I cut a hole through the roof and then saw that the fire had caught in several other places. I sued what water we could get but found it impossible to stop the flames. I then ran downstairs and the lieutenant told me I had better save what I had in the house, which I did.
CHARLES S. GRAVETT,
Corporal, Company C, Fifty-ninth Virginia Regiment.