Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/491

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

490 Southern Historical Society Papers.

near the appointed time, the report of a gun was heard, and a shell was seen coming from the Fort Johnson battery. The firing soon became general. . All of the batteries bearing on Sumter on Sulli- van's Island, Morris Island, Mount Pleasant, and James Island com- menced pounding away. The bombardment was grand. Anderson made no reply till some time after daylight. He then sent his salu- tations to the iron battery near Cummings Point. Very soon after, all of the casemate guns bearing on any of our works opened, and continued without cessation through the day. There had been much discussion and a good deal of doubt expressed in military circles as to whether he would be able to use his casemates. It was said that in all probability the concussion from his heavy guns would cause the blood to gush from the noses and ears of his men, and that he would be forced to depend on his parapet battery. It soon became very evident that there was nothing in that opinion. The guns on the parapet were not used. All of the firing was done from the casemates. Not a shell was seen to come from the Fort. If any were used they did not burst, and were not, in their flight, distin- guishable from solid shot. I have never heard any satisfactory rea- son for this peculiarity of Major Anderson's defence. It was said at the time that there were no fuses in the magazine of the Fort. It does not seem possible that the able and scientific corps of officers in charge of Sumter could not have manufactured fuses. That there was nobody killed on our side is entirely owing to the fact that nothing but solid shot was used by the enemy. Very few of our batteries afforded much protection to the gunners. In fact, they were safe in none except the iron battery. Any of the Wee Nees who were in Fort Wagner with me in 1863 know that had Anderson used shell as effectively as did Dahlgren and Gilmore, our batteries on Morris Island, and some of them on James Island and Sullivan's Island, would have been almost untenable.

About ten o'clock on the morning of the i2th, the fleet hove in sight. We felt sure that our turn to take a hand in the fray had come. The Wee Nees were anxious for a fight, and were disap- pointed when the vessels anchored beyond the reach of our guns.

I do not think that any of the guns of Sumter were aimed at us, though some of the balls fired at the batteries nearer to Cummings Point came uncomfortably near to us so near, indeed, as to inter- fere with my dinner on that day. When I reprimanded my faithful servant, James, for his delay of the meal, he excused himself because the balls had come so near. When I told him, with a little impa-