Today in History:

9 Series I Volume VI- Serial 6 - Fort Pulaski - New Orleans


over the command to Colonel Heyward, with directions to hold out as long as any effective fire could be returned.

Having mounted our horses, we rejoined the troops near Hospital Numbers 2. I received information through one of the vedettes that a steamer and small boats were sounding close to the beach. I detached Captain Berry, with three companies of his battalion, under the guidance of Captain Ephraim Barnard, volunteer aide, to watch the enemy, beat them back it they attempted to land, and give notice if he wanted support. I then, with some of my staff, rode to collect together the other troops, who, through ignorance of our island roads, had their way and had not yet come up.

On the road leading to wharf on Skull Creek, about one and one-fourth miles from Frot Walker, I unexpectedly met General Ripley and staff. Saluting him, I inquired if he visited the island to assume command, and whether he wished to go back with me into the fort. He said no, but that he would return to Coosawhatchie to collect and bring back two or three regiments to my support. We then moved from under the fire of the ships to the shelter of some myrtles, where we could not be seen. I then stated to him the incidents of the morning; how the men had fought, that the day was going against us, and I was then collecting my forces for any emergency that might arise; and, if compelled to defend the island, it should be retained to the last extremity. We then parted, he taking the road toward the ferry and I in pursuit of the purposes which borough me out of the fort.

On reaching my reserves at Hospital Numbers 2 I learned that the enemy had ceased making sounding and had gone back to sea, whereupon I dispatch Captain Read to order Captain Berry to return from the beach.

Two o'clock had now arrived, when I noticed our men coming out of the fort, which they had bravely defended for four and a half hours against fearful odds, and then only retiring when all but three of the guns on the water front had been disabled, and only 500 pounds of powder in the magazine, commencing the action with 220 men inside the fort, afterwards increased to 255 by the accession from Read's battery. These heroic men retired slowly and sadly from their well fought guns, which to have defended longer would have exhibited the energy of despair rather than the manly puck of the true soldier.

The defense of this post involved a twofold preparation: first to repel the attack from the fleet, and secondly an assault by the beach from the troops upon the transports. By the beach we had to provide against an attack from the north under cover of the bluff south of Fish Hall Creek, and from the south by the broach under cover of the woods, between where a picket of 25 men were posted, under Captain Paul H. Seabrook, and lastly by the road leading from the beach to the second hospital. To guard against surprise either by Fish Hall Creek, or by the beach, when I was returning to the fort with a portion of Captain Read's company, I at the same time led up Colonel de Saussure's regiment to the hollow west of the road and directed them to lie down. They were perfectly masked from the fire of the fort, but not from that of the fleet, for the watchmen at the mast-heads gave notice of their position, compelling Colonel De Saussure after a short time to fall back under a heavy fire to a less dangerous locality.

Had the entrenched camp, with store-houses and magazines, been made in time several lives and large quantities of public property might have been saved; but it was impossible to have made this within the short time and with the diminutive force at my disposal, for on my