Report of Brig. Gen. R. G. M. Dunovant, South Carolina Army, of
operations against Fort Sumter.
OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S.C.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER I.
HEADQUARTERS, SOUTH CAROLINA ARMY,
Sullivan's Island, April 21, 1861.
Maj. D. R. Jones,
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that on Tuesday morning, April 9, in obedience to orders from your headquarters, I came down to Sullivan's Island attended by the following members of my staff: Maj. N. G. Evans, S.C. A., adjutant-general; First Lieut. Warren Adams, S.C. A., and Second Lieut. Robert Pringle, S. C. A., aides-de-camp; Maj. W. D. De Saussure and Capt. J. D. Bruns, special aides-de-camp.
Information having been received which led us to expect a determined effort on the part of the United States Government to re-enforce Fort Sumter, I at once made all the necessary preparations to prevent, if possible, the success of this attempt. The batteries in process of erection at the eastern extremity of the island were rapidly pushed to completion. Colonel Pettigrew had already taken precautions against a surprise by establishing a picket guard on Long Island and by doubling the sentries on Sullivan's Island.
On the morning of the 11th I reviewed the entire forces under my command, Colonel Pettigrew's regiment of rifles occupying and defending the eastern third of the island with the assistance of the Charleston Light Dragoons, and the German Flying Artillery in charge of a field battery attached to his command, and Colonel Anderson's regiment of the First Infantry being held in readiness to act as a reserve or to be thrown on any point where their services were required.
It affords me sincere gratification to record that, although happily Colonel Pettigrew's regiment was not called into action, and had little share in the perils and honors of the recent engagement, their patient endurance of every privation, and their prompt and cheerful response to every call of duty during a long-continued service, entitle them to unqualified commendation. I may add that as soon as they heard the sound of our guns, twenty-four members of the regiment of rifles went down under fire to the floating battery, their boat narrowly escaping being sunk.
Colonel Anderson's regiment of regulars also deserve special notice for the good order, spirit, and energy which have universally characterized the command. Three companies of his regiment, Captain Martin's, Captain Butler's, and Lieutenant Valentine's, were detached for duty as artillerists under Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley, and for their share in the bombardment I would respectfully refer you to the report of the lieutenant-colonel commanding the batteries.
The defenses of Fort Moultrie and the preparation of the gun and mortar batteries above and below this post seemed to me to be complete and satisfactory. For this no small measure of praise is due to the sagacity, experience, and unflagging zeal of Lieut. Col. R. S. Ripley, commanding First Battalion Artillery, who was assigned to duty under my command on the 2d day of January last, when Fort Moultrie was generally considered untenable. The suggestions made by this officer in his reports respecting the defenses of the fort have in almost every instance been carried out, and their value has been triumphantly illustrated by the severe test to which they were subjected in the recent engagement. The guns which were used against Fort Sumter were the same which Major Anderson spiked and burned when he abandoned Fort Moultrie.
On the night of the 11th, as hostilities were shortly expected to commence, I made the following disposition of my staff: Major Pagan, Lieutenant Adams, and Lieutenant Pringle to be stationed between Fort Moultrie and Captain Butler's battery, to carry orders to and from these posts and to the brigade of infantry; Major De Saussure to attend me personally, and Captain Bruns to be on detached service at Captain Hallonquist's mortar battery, where he rendered efficient aid during the whole bombardment. Major Evans, who had been confined to his bed by sickness for some days, joined me soon after the battle commenced, and then, as always, exhibited the highest qualifications for the duties of his arduous and responsible post. I am gratified to record that my entire staff acquitted themselves well, and their services to me during the campaign have been invaluable. Although most of them had but little military experience, they have spared no pains to acquaint themselves with the duties of their office, and have, without exception, performed them intelligently, cheerfully, and with dispatch.
During the bombardment, I observed specially the behavior of the troops at Fort Moultrie, and at Captains Butler's and Hallonquist's mortar batteries. At all these posts the energy and spirit displayed alike by officers and men could not be surpassed, I believe, by any troops in the world. The enfilade, Dahlgren, and floating batteries had also a prominent place in the picture, but I must again refer to the reports of the officers commanding these batteries.
I am pleased to mention that Ex-Governor J. L. Manning, lion. W. P. Miles, and Capt. Samuel Ferguson S. C. A., aides-de-camp to Brigadier-General Beauregard, brought orders to me from the brigadier-general commanding during the hottest of the fire. Major De Saussure, of my staff, carried information for the Ordnance Department in regard the short supply of Dahlgren shells under a brisk fire.
As soon as the white flag was displayed from Fort Sumter on the 13th I sent Captain Hartstene, C. S. N., Captain Calhoun, S. C. A., and Surgeon Lynch, C. S. N., to ascertain whether Major Anderson had surrendered. These officers reported on their return that they had been preceded by some members of your staff.
For the details of this action, which has terminated so happily for the glory of our arms and for the honor and safety of South would respectfully refer you to the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley, and to the reports of the officers under his immediate command.
R. G. M. DUNOVANT,
Brigadier-General, Commanding South Carolina Army. 22
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