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This promise was not complied with. The prisoners who had pri- vate blankets were permitted to keep them, and these were hardly sufficient to cover the sand in the tents, for which purpose it was necessary to use them, and on these we slept without covering. There was however, no suffering on this account, as the weather was warm. The rations issued us on the island were insufficient in quan- tity, but in quality fairly good, consisting generally of hard-tack and salt beef or pork, with coffee once a day, soup occasionally, but no vegetables.
The first effort of the Federals to draw the fire of the Confederate guns upon us was made about sunrise on the morning after our arri- val. To that end every battery on the island and the guns on the monitors were, at a given signal, opened upon the Confederate forts, to which the Confederate batteries promptly replied, and a regular artillery duel ensued, lasting for an hour or more. Forts Johnson, Beauregard, Moultrie, and a battery on James Island participated. Shells from the Confederate batteries were thrown with great preci- sion into Fort Wagner, passing immediately over our pen, and others exploded to our left and front so uncomfortably close to the pen that we, at first, thought our friends were not upon the island. This storm of shot and shell created some consternation upon the priso- ners, and at first caused something like a panic, but we soon became satisfied that the Confederates knew what they were doing, and that there was no real danger. The negro sentinels on top of the stock- ades were greatly frightened as the Confederate shells thrown into Fort Wagner, and shells from the guns in that fort passed immedi- ately over them. The Confederates seemed to have the exact range of every point on the island within the reach of their guns.
We were kept on the island about six weeks, and these artillery duels occurred frequently during our stay, but the Confederates fired with such precision that not a single shot or shell fell within our stockade, and but one shell exploded immediately over us, and whilst several pieces fell in the pen, no one was injured. If the purpose of the Federal authorities in placing these prisoners on the island was to have them shot by their own people, six weeks must have con- vinced them that the experiment was a failure. However this may be, at the end of that time we were removed from the island, and taken by vessel to Fort Pulaski, which is situated on an island in the mouth of the Savannah River. This fort was of brick and built upon piles. We were confined in a portion of the casemates of the fort; the other casemates were used as quarters for the garrison.