Today in History:

96 Series I Volume XIV- Serial 20 - Secessionville


The casualties in the two companies of my regiment that were engaged are as follows.*

I estimate the loss of the enemy as near as I can at from 600 to 800; 341 of their dead are buried in front of my batteries; 107 were taken prisoners; many wounded and who have since died, and I conjecture that some were drowned. Large quantities of their wounded were carried off by their ambulances. About 400 stand of small-arms fell into our hands, together with one horse wounded in the mouth, and sumorous smaller articles.

For the casualties in the Charleston Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel Gaillard) and the Pee Dee Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel Smith),* together with their reports concerning the behavior of offices and men, I beg leave to refer you to the accompanying documents, markers respectively A and B.+

It is proper to state that the forces under my command did not amount to more than 500 men until the arrival of the Louisiana Battalion, but this small force manfully stood their ground against an assaulting force of from 1,000 to 5,000 men, among whom were the picket regiments of the enemy, the Seventy-ninth New York (Highlanders) and the Eighth Michigan, notwithstanding that they had for fourteen days and nights been subjected to the most arduous duties.

On Sunday night, the 15th instant, I received orders from Brigadier-General Evans to the effect that, although it might require superhuman exertions, he expected me to take the guns off of the gunboat and place them in battery on land. This was impossible unless I had had a force and the means under my control that were necessary to move these guns. I therefore had to have the gunboat moved up to Secessionville, where there was a wharf. In the mean time I, with the two companies of my own regiment, proceeded to throw up the earthworks of the batteries, which was not completed until 3 o'clock the next morning. My men were so much fatigued, not only from the night work but from a very spirited engagement the day previous, which lasted several hours, against the gunboats and land batteries of the enemy, that I allowed against the gunboats and land batteries of the enemy, that I allowed them to lie down to rest. They had hardly fallen asleep when the alarm was given, and this was the first time that any man was allowed to sleep without his arms in his hands and at the spot that he would have to use them during the time that I had been in command of the post.

In conclusion, I would state that the great victory achieved on June 16 over such a superior force of the enemy is owing entirely to the patriotism, love of freedom, and indomitable courage of the officers and men under my command. Every man did his duty.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of high regard, you obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Post.

Major General JOHN C. PEMBERTON,

Commanding Department of South Carolina and Georgia.


*Nominal list omitted. Losses tabulated in Report No. 24, p. 90.

+Embodied in inclosures, pp.88-89, to Pemberton's report.