Today in History:

45 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston


King was instructed to drop a shell on the southern end of the eastern barracks, in order to communicate the fire also to it, and his fifth shell passing through the roof at the designated point the fire was spread. The fire from this post was then reduced to the regular intervals, and so continued until 1.30 p.m., at which time, the flagstaff at Fort Sumter being shot away, the fire from this point was ordered to cease until opportunity was given to Major Anderson either to replace his flag, or by not replacing it signify a readiness to treat. The replacement of his flag was not seen from this post, and the fire consequently not resumed. The subsequent events are matters falling under your own orders.

The several reports herewith transmitted speak more fully of individual acts of gallantry than my own position would enable me to do. Of the gallantry of the troops engaged in the action, and of their perfect subordination, I cannot speak in the terms too high. Few, if any, had ever before been under fire, and yet the entire coolness with which the guns were worked, and the accuracy of fire, would have reflected credit upon veterans. The Trapier battery, of three mortars was manned by a portion of the Marion Artillery, under the command of Captain J. Gadsden King, and the immediate direction of the battery assigned by him to Lieuts. W. D. H. Kirkwood and Edward L. Parker. The fire from these mortars appeared to me to be particularly good, a large proportion of the shells bursting over Fort Sumter or within the parade. The pointing of the mortars from this battery was chiefly done by Corporal McMillan King, jr., Privates J. S. Murdock and Robert Murdock, and reflects upon them very great credit. The Sumter Guard, Captain John Russell, acted as a reserve to the Marion Artillery, and were engaged during a part of the bombardment at the battery and also during the night in working in the embrasures at the Point battery and in covering the iron battery in part with sand bags. While thus engaged during the night this company was under fire from Fort Sumter. The remaining portion of the Marion Artillery were on duty at Battery G, a Channel battery, to which were assigned Lieuts. J. P. Strohecker and A. M. Huger. The presence of a fleet of war vessels outside the bar required that this, in common with all the channel batteries, should be keep constantly manned, and upon an alarm excited during the night of Friday by a small boat being seen rowing near the shore, the preparation of this detachment was shown by a fire being immediately opened on the boat. The Iron battery, of three 8-inch columbiads, and the Point battery, of three mortars, two 42-pounders, and one 12-pounder rifled cannon, were manned by the Palmetto Guard, Captain George B. Cuthbert. These two batteries were assigned to the supervision of Major P. F. Stevens. The fire from the Iron battery was under the immediate direction of Captain George B. Cuthbert and Lieutenants Lamb and Buist, and does great credit to their skillful management. The battering from this battery is very marked upon the exterior wall of Fort Sumter, while the accurate practice dismounted, as I believe, two of the barbette guns on the eastern face, and to a considerable degree crippled one gun on the northern and one on the southwestern face.

At about 11 a.m. of Friday the mantelet to the embrasure of gun Numbers 2 was crippled by the lever-arm used in working it breaking from a flaw in the iron, and for some time this gun was unable to be used. The mantelet was subsequently pried open and the gun renewed its fire. The fire from the mortar at the Point battery was conducted under the supervision of Lieutenant N. Armstrong, of the Citadel Academy, assisted by Lieutenant C. R. Holmes, of the Palmetto Guard; and much praise is due to them for the accuracy of their fire. As well as I can judge, this