SEAC: The Search for Battery Halleck
PRIMARY DOCUMENTS (Page 5)
Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, C. S. Army
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the enemy opened fire on Fort Pulaski early on the morning of the 10th instant, as was evident from the rapid and continuous firing and bursting of shells, which could be seen from the city of Savannah and other accessible points of observation. As communication with the fort was cut off, my knowledge of what occurred during the first day's bombardment was derived exclusively from distant views and the sound of the guns. The firing continued during the entire day and at intervals during the night.
On the night of the 10th I attempted to communicate with the fort by a small boat, for the purpose of conveying to it a man detailed on signal service, who had recently arrived, under orders, from Richmond. He was carried there by Corporal Law, of the Phoenix Riflemen, stationed at Thunderbolt, who had successfully communicated with the fort more than once before since the steamers had been cut off.
It was observed that the fire on both sides ceased about 2 p.m. on the 11th, and these two men returned to the battery at Thunderbolt about 8 o'clock that evening. The only detailed information I have is derived from the verbal statement of these two men. They represent that they reached the fort about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 11th, in the midst of a heavy fire both from the fort and the enemy; that soon after their arrival a breach was made in the wall at the southeast angle, nearest the Tybee Island, and that before the fort surrendered this breach was wide enough to drive a four-horse team through; that the wall, which embraced seven casemates in succession, was nearly all knocked down, and that all the barbette guns which could play on their batteries at Tybee [Island] had been disabled; that several shots had been fired into the magazine. They further represent that 4 men had their arms or legs broken; none others seriously wounded, and none dead at the time they left. They further state that the ships were not engaged at all, but that all the firing was from batteries on Tybee [Island], chiefly from a battery of Parrott guns at King's Landing, the nearest point of Tybee [Island] to the fort. As these men constituted no part of the garrison, they were advised by Colonel Olmstead to make their escape, if possible.
In reporting the statements of these two men I must express my belief that they gave an exaggerated account of the injury done to the fort, owing, perhaps, to the very exciting circumstances under which they must have entered and left it. It is truly painful to be left without any more definite or reliable details, but it is quite certain that Pulaski has fallen, as the enemy's flag has been distinctly seen flying above the ramparts, and I consider it my duty to give you these statements as they were made to me. As there have been no returns received from Fort Pulaski for some time, I cannot give you the precise strength of the garrison. It consisted, however, of five companies, numbering a little over 400 men, and commanded by Col. C.H. Olmstead. The armament consisted of five 10-inch columbiads, nine 8-inch columbiads, three 42-pounders, three 10-inch mortars, one 12-inch mortar, one 24-pounder howitzer, two 12-pounder howitzers, twenty 32-pounders, and two 4½-inch (Blakely) rifled guns, with 130 rounds of ammunition per gun.
I am, captain,
very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. R. Lawton
General Robert E. Lee, Commanding
COLONEL: From the position the enemy has taken in the Savannah River, it becomes necessary that you look to your defense in that direction. I therefore recommend that, if necessary for that purpose, you shift some of your barbette guns to the gorge of the work, and the casemates in the northwest angle, which bear up the river, be provided with guns. I would also recommend that the parapets of the mortar batteries be carried all around, so that the mortars can be protected from the fire up the river as well as from Tybee Island, and that every- thing be done to strengthen the defenses of your work in the rear. As far as it is possible your safety will be anxiously cared for, and for the present your communication with the city will have to be by light boats over the marsh and through Wilmington Narrows to Causton's Bluff, or by any other mode by which you can better accomplish it.
I am, sir,
R. E. Lee
[The Union Commander's Call for the Surrender of Fort Pulaski]
Major-General David Hunter, Commanding
Sir: I hereby demand of you the immediate surrender and restoration of Fort Pulaski to the authority and possession of the United States. This demand is made with a view to avoiding, if possible, the effusion of blood which must result from the bombardment and attack now in readiness to be opened.
The number, caliber, and completeness of the batteries surrounding you leave no doubt as to what must result in case of your refusal; and as the defense, however obstinate, must eventually succumb to the assailing force at my disposal, it is hoped you may see fit to avert the useless waste of life.
This communication will be carried to you under a flag of truce by Lieut. J.H. Wilson, U.S. Army, who is authorized to wait any period not exceeding thirty minutes from delivery for your answer.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Brig. Gen. H. W. Benham
Sir: I have the satisfaction of inclosing to you herewith the terms of surrender of Fort Pulaski, as arranged this day by Acting Brig. Gen. Q.A. Gillmore, whom I dispatched to the fort for that purpose immediately after the appearance of the white flag from that fort at about 2 p.m. this day, the anniversary of the opening of the fire upon Fort Sumter by the rebels last year. The terms agreed to by Col. C.H. Olmstead, the rebel commander of the fort, are essentially those dictated by myself, and such as I trust will meet your approval, from my previous communication with you on this subject.
With much congratulation to you on this first success in your present department, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. Benham, Brig. Gen.
Comdg. N. Dist., First Div.
Brig. Gen. Q. A. Gillmore
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith the terms of capitulation for the surrender to the United States of Fort Pulaski, Ga., signed by me this 11th day of April, 1862. I trust these terms will meet your approval, they being substantially those authorized by you as commander of the district.
The fort hoisted the white flag at a quarter before 2 o'clock this afternoon, after a resistance since 8 o'clock yesterday morning to the continuous fire of our batteries. A practicable breach in the walls was made in eighteen and a half hours' firing by daylight.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. Gillmore
Terms of capitulation agreed upon for the surrender to the forces of the United States of Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Ga.
Article 1. The fort, armament, and garrison to be surrendered at once to the forces of the United States.
Art. 2. The officers and men of the garrison to be allowed to take with them all their private effects, such as clothing, bedding, books, &c.; this not to include private weapons.
Art. 3. The sick and wounded, under charge of the hospital steward of the garrison, to be sent up under a flag of truce to the Confederate lines, and at the same time the men to be allowed to send up any letters they may desire, subject to the inspection of a Federal officer.
Signed this the 11th day of April, 1862, at Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Ga.
Chas. H. Olmstead
I authorized these terms, subject to your approval.
W. H. Benham