Today in History:

48 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston


command was most ably directed, and contributed greatly to increase and spread the flames, which soon spread from roof to roof, causing the explosion of shells and hand grenades on the different parapets and greatly injuring the works. The fire having partly expended its fury, my fire was slackened by your order, and continued very much at the rates prescribed in orders until about 1 o'clock, when the flagstaff of Fort Sumter fell, seemingly shot away. The fire was then stopped by order of the commanding general, and not resumed from my batteries, Major Anderson subsequently having surrendered, about 2 p.m.

It is impossible for me to particularize the individual officers or men who behaved well during this action; but I think great credit due to the effective fire of guns directed by officers and men, who, with the exception of the officers of the Military Academy, had never until two or three weeks since undertaken to manage artillery. Captain Cuthbert, of the Palmetto Guard, assisted by Lieutenant Buist, had especial charge of the Iron battery with its three 8-inch columbiads; Lieutenant Armstrong, of the South Carolina Military Academy, assisted by Lieutenant R. Holmes, of the Palmetto Guards, had charge of the three 10-inch mortars of the Point battery; Lieutenant T. Sumter Brownfield, of the "Guard," had charge of the 42-pounders, and Captain J. P. Thomas, of the Citadel Academy, had command of the Blakely rifled cannon. For some two hours yesterday a heavy fire was directed against my batteries, but with very little effect, and absolutely no loss of life. The Iron battery was struck several times with little damage, the balls glancing and making little impression. Several shot were split, upon striking the same. Early in the day one heavy shot struck the upper end of the shutter of embrasure Numbers 2. The plates of boiler-iron composing the same were considerably bent, or rather indented, by the blow, even splitting the plate through. The shot, however, was completely turned, and no real damage would have been experienced had it not been for a flaw in the lever-arm which maneuvered the shutter. This lever, to sustain a heavy weight as a counterpoise to the shutter, and having a large flaw (not before seen) just in the bend of the arm, was broken by the jar of the blow. The shutter was afterwards propped up, and the fire of the gun continued with great effect this morning. The sand battery was a most effectual screen for the guns it covered, and is absolutely uninjured by the fire of Fort Sumter. The rifled cannon being but limitedly supplied with ammunition could do little, but its few shots were skillfully directed by Captain Thomas.

I have the honor, sir, to congratulate you upon the share in this great success and victory to which the troops under your command are entitled.

Very respectfully,


Major, Commanding Point and Iron Batteries.

Lieutenant-Colonel DE SAUSSURE,

Commanding Battalion Artillery.


April 18, 1861.

MAJOR: Upon my return to this post I found the accompanying letter, which had been written to me by Captain G. B. Cuthbert during my temporary absence from Morris Island.*

Sergeant Bissell did not exactly "cripple the gun of the left casemate,"


*Not found.