Today in History:

77 Series I Volume XIV- Serial 20 - Secessionville


of the 16th, I found that two companies of the picket reserve had been sent by somebody to drag a heavy piece of ordnance to the new battery and bring a correspondingly heavy piece that was damaged back again, and ordering them to follow as rapidly as possible, together with all the other pickets that could be collected on the mach, and proceed with the column to the attack to the enemy's works with the brigade. About 130 men of the picket, including the two companies of the reserve alluded to as being on fatigue duty, joined me on the march or after we had got under fire. Some three-quarters of a mile before reaching the pint opposite the fort from which the charge was made we marched at a double-quick upon the enemy's works. Of course to prove of any service as a support we must also move at that pace, and it was extremely difficult to maintain even the semblance of a line when the men on the left were falling breathless from the great exertions they were obliged to make to get forward into line.

On passing the hedge about 300 yards in front of the fort our center at once entered the line of a discharge of grape and canister which completely cut the command in two, the part on the right obliquing over to the right to support the Highlanders, who were up to and some of them upon the breastworks of the fort. The other part advanced steadily till, when within about 30 or 40 yards of the fort, an order came from one of General Stevens' aides to fall back, which they did in good order, to the hedge, and three halted till ordered by Captain Stevens to fall back still farther to permit the artillery to fire over our heads. Afterward Lieutenant Leasure, acting assistant adjutant-general, bought me your cheering order to advance and rally on our colors, which we did with alacrity. Here we soon found the whole brigade in good order, good spirits, and ready to advance, and after remaining till 7.30 o'clock Captain Stevens brought up the order to fall back to the road, which, as you rare aware, was done slowly and in good order.

Of the earlier operations of the left wing of my command, after we were separated by the fearful storm of grape and canister that we encountered in front of the fort, I cannot speak from personal observation, but as that part of the regiment was on the extreme left, under your own eye, and where our chief losses occurred, our will be able to judge of the conduct of that portion of my command for yourself. I may say, however, that so far as I could observe the conduct of the men was cool and brave, and the officers discharged their duties regardless of personal danger,

Accompanying this report I send a report of our casualties.*

I cannot permit this opportunity to pass without bearing testimony to the great personal worth, coolness, and bravery of the lamented Lieutenant Morrow, of Company I, mortally wounded, and since dead.


Major, Commanding.


*Embodied in revised statement, p. 51.