Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 16.djvu/164
158 Southern Historical Society Papers.
to throw the sand out of the trench on the side towards us. Our James Island batteries and Fort Moultrie were cannonading the enemy's trenches all day. The fleet came up, as was the custom, early in the morning, and opened fire upon us, throwing n-inch and 15-inch shells. They were often thrown with smill charges of powder, rico- chetted along the water and striking near the top of the covered ways, fell nearly vertically, searching every part of our work. Some of the 15-inch shells were loaded with smaller shells, and when the large shells burst the fuses of these would ignite and explode, scat- tering their pieces in every direction, doing much damage. During the day from one-fourth to one third of the men were kept on the parapet. The rest were allowed to remain in the bomb-proofs. At night-fall they were all turned out and kept at their places on the parapet all night. The enemy had gotten so near that they could hear us turning the men out. Their fire was then quickened, and shot and shell came, literally, like iron hail. The garrison had a great deal of work to do constantly repairing damages It was soon apparent that this fort was near its last day. The exterior slope of the salient was drifting slowly into the ditch under the enemy's fire. When not visiting the rest of the command I was with that part of the regiment stationed in the salient.
September qth, Friday. The enemy commenced a lively can- nonade this morning. Quite a number of our sharpshooters' stands were knocked down. Sharpshooters were still very brisk on both sides, and continued so all day. The United States flag was put up by the enemy at the head of their trenches now, about one hundred yards from the salient. It was the opinion of the engineer officers that the salient was the intended point of attack. My opinion was that the intention of General Gilmore was to pass the fort at low tide, and assail us from the rear. There was about fifty yards of hard beach, at low water, between our flank wall and high water line. This was one of the defects of the work. There was a time when a line of palisades might have been driven down to high water mark. The engineers thought that the salient would be the point of assault. This would have been in accordance with a scientific approach and assault. I expressed my dissent from the engineers, and urged Colonel Keitt to allow me to strengthen our force of two companies left on the out- side behind the flank wall, to meet any effort that might be made to pass the fort. He agreed with the engineers, and did not deem it necessary to increase the force on the outside.
The batteries on James Island kept up an unremitting fire and were