Today in History:

21 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements


the batteries under my command in the affair near Legareville, on the morning of the 23rd [25th] December, 1863:

At the village.-From upper battery: Ten 12-pounder spherical case; five rifle shell, caliber 3.81; five 8-inch howitzer shell. From Charles' battery: Five solid shot, 3,5-inch Blakely; thirty-two shell, 3.5-inch battery; forty-eight shell, 12-pounder howitzer.

At the steamer.-From Charles' battery: Nineteen solid shot, 3,5-inch Blakely. From middle battery: Thirty-four 30-pounder Parrot shell; thirty-four 8 inch howitzer shell. From lower battery: Ten 8-inch howitzer shell; thirty-four 10-pounder Parrott shell; 12 rifle shell, caliber 3.81 rifle solid shot, caliber 3.81.

Fuses and Primers.-The several battery commanders are unable to furnish me exact information on this subject, and, as I looked to them, I have no particular remarks to make in reference to the fusec except that those of most of the guns and the 12-pounder howitzers exploded their shells with tolerable accuracy as far as I could judge; those of the 8-inch howitzers were not so good, quite a number of their shells exploding soon after leaving the piece. Captain Charles also reports that several of his shells exploded prematurely. The primers in use by all the batteries were entirely unreliable. Captain Schulz report that (at the lower battery) eight in succession failed in one gun, besides many other cases not so extreme. Captain Charles reports a number as having failed. The 30-pounder Parrot under my immediate observation repeatedly required some four or five unsuccessful attempts before the charge was ignited. In some cases the faul in the primer seemed to be that the lower extremity of the tube was too securely closed, for on pulling the lanyard a good flame issued upward, but none reached the charge below.

I trust the foregoing reports is sufficiently in detail to meet the wishes of the commanding general. It is the nearest approximation to a proper report can be made from the meager information furnished my by the company commanders. I shall now, general, ask leave to call your attention to facts in connection with the affair at Legareville, which were either entirely omitted from my report to Colonel PAGE, or not sufficiently dwelt upon in that paper. In the interview held with Colonel Gonzales, by direction of General Beauregard, on the evening of the 14th ultimo, I particularly requested that the 8-inch siege howitzers should not be assigned me; and also that Captain Webb should be ordered to practice a little with his 30-pounders in order to get range and familiarize his men with their working. So far from my requests being complied with these batteries were never even notified to report to me at Church Flats; after waiting for them until Tuesday evening (22nd December), I dispatched first a courier and then my adjutant to James Island to ascertain the cause of the delay, and to bring the batteries forward at once. They reached Church Flats Wednesday morning about sunrise. Captain Webb had only seventy-four shells for his two 30-pounders, a very small supply of friction primers, and no breech-sights whatever. In illustration of the entire want of practice of Captain Webb's men in handling their guns, I will mention that when I halted him near Roper's to shiff his pieces from the traveling-beds to the trunnions, this operation for which five minutes ought to have suffeced, occupied him nearly an hour. I telegraphed twice (once on the 17th December) for the caisson and ammunition for the 10-pounder Parrott temporarily assigned to Schulz's battery, but received nothing until after the light batteries had been moved to Church Flats.