Aids, were active and efficient. Lieut. Belcher
was wounded slightly, as he supposed at the
time, and continued through the entire affair on
duty, although, on his return to quarters, he had
a ball extracted from his shoulder. His wound,
however, is not dangerous.
The forces engaged were as follows :
Total, ......................... 17
Two companies were on fatigue-duty.
Accompanying this are copies of reports of
regimental commanders, and a rough sketch of
the scene of action, not claimed to be entirely
correct, but as near as could be made from the
view had under fire on the field of battle.
I am, very respectful!} , y^ur obedient servant,
WM. M. FENTO.X,
Col. Eighth Michigan Volunteers, Coimnac liug V*:rt Brigade.
REPORT OF COLONEL LEASURE.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,
SECOND DIVISION, N. D. D. S.
JAMES ISLAND, S. C., June 17, 1362.
CAPTAIN : The undersigned respectfully reports
that, pursuant to orders from Division Headquar
ters, the Seventy-ninth New- York volunteers, and
that portion of the One Hundredth regiment, Penn
sylvania volunteers, not on advanced picket-duty,
were formed into line, and at 1.20 o clock A.M.
started for the rendezvous of the brigade at the
headquarters of the First brigade, where the re
maining regiment, the Forty-sixth New -York
volunteers, joined, and the troops moved toward
the enemy s works in good order and the most
profound silence. About four o clock, the head
of the column, marching by the Hank, on a double-
quick for the last half-mile, arrived opposite the
works of the enemy, about a mile in front of them,
with an open Held, traversed by two hedges,
formed by cutting deep ditches on either side of
an embankment, six feet in height.
The First brigade, under Colonel Fenton, had
meanwhile advanced upon the works, and the
fort had opened lire. I now received the ordor
from the Brigadier-General commanding the divi
sion, to form the column to support the attack of
Colonel Fenton. I immediately ordered the regi
ment on the right the Seventy-ninth New- York
volunteers into line of battle, and when about
two companies on its right had got into line, an
urgent message came from Col. Fenton to hasten
to his support, and Gen. Stevens gave me the
order to advance at a double-quick, and the com
panies then in line started off at that step, which
made it extremely difficult for the left to get into
line, which, indeed, it never did, until it reached
the fort, where the right, or about two companies
of the right, under charge of Lieut. -Col. Morri
son s command, gained a position alongside of,
and upon the embankment ; the left, having en
countered a perfect storm of grape and canister,
was obliged to seek shelter either by obliquing to
the left under cover of a small ravine, or by drop
ping among the cotton ridges in front of the fort,
where they kept up a steady fire of musketry
upon the enemy s gunners.
Immediately following the advance of the
Seventy-ninth New- York regiment, the One Hun
dredth Pennsylvania regiment, under command
of Major Leckey, formed while marching at a
double-quick to support the advance of the
Seventy-ninth New-York regiment. The line of
battle of the One Hundredth was so formed as to
cover with its right that portion of the left of the
Seventy-ninth which I saw was not likely to per
fect its formation before reaching the breastworks.
The Forty-sixth New- York, Col. Rosa command
ing, was formed in like manner to cover the left
of the One Hundredth regiment Pennsylvania
volunteers, thus forming three lines of battle in
echelon. Pending these movements of the One
Hundredth Pennsylvania and the Forty -sixth
New- York regiments, I advanced to hasten up
the left of the Seventy-ninth New- York, and lead
the assault in person.
On arriving at the intrenchment or hedge, three
hundred yards in front of the fort, I found I could
not get my horse over, and dismounting, as did
also my Assistant Adjutant-General, Lieut. Lea-
sure, we proceeded on foot. At this point, to-
ether with the left wing of the Seventy-ninth
New- York, we entered the range of a perfect
storm of grape, canister, nails, broken glass, and
pieces of chains, fired from three very large pieces
in the fort, which completely swept every foot of
ground within the range, and either cut the men
down or drove them to the shelter of the ravine
on the left.
I now turned to look after and lead up the One
Hundredth Pennsylvania regiment, and found its
centre just entering the fatal line of fire which
completely cut it in two ; and the right, under
Major Leckey, obliqued to the right, and advanced
to the support of the right of the Seventy-ninth
New-York , and many of the men reached th*.
foot of the embankment, and some succeeded in
mounting it with the few brave men of the Sev
enty-ninth who were there, with a portion of the
Eighth Michigan. It was here that Lieut-Col.
Morrison was wounded, and many of the Seventy-
ninth either killed or wounded, as were also some
of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania. The prin
cipal casualties to the Seventy-ninth New-York
occurred at this point from the enemy s musket
ry ; while the principal casualties to the One
Hundredth Pennsylvania occurred during the
few minutes that the centre of the regiment was
under the fire of the guns of the fort, throwing
every conceivable kind of missile, and that por
tion of the left which remained with a portion of
the left of the Seventy-ninth New- York, under
partial cover of the ravine before spoken of.
The One Hundredth Pennsylvania volunteers
went into battle a fragmentary command. Three
hundred and odd privates, with the necessary
officers, were on the advanced picket-posts, no
more than fifty of whom could rejoin before w<
went into battle. The previous morning report,
as shown by Major Leckey s report, verified by
the official report, shows five hundred and eighty
three privates present for duty. This would
leave two hundred and eighty-three privates to
go to battle, added to which the fragmentary por
tions of companies that were able to join from the
pickets, amounting to not more than fifty men,
would make the whole number of that command
in battle not more than four hundred men, with
the necessary complement of officers, and of these
one hundred and thirty men who joined from
pickets, three companies did not arrive in time
to join their regiment till it was under the thick
est of the fire, when the} r joined on the left, and
suffered severely. It was of these companies
that Lieut. Morrow was mortally, and Lieuts.
Blair and Gilliland seriously wounded.
During the formation of the column of attack
one mile from the fort, the Forty-sixth New-York
volunteers, by order of Gen. Stevens, had pro
ceeded to the left along the road leading toward
Secessionville, to form, if possible, a junction with
Gen. \ Wight s troops on that side; but on my
plan of advance being represented by my Assist
ant Adjutant-General, the General directed that
the regiment should be recalled and support the
One Hundredth Pennsylvania regiment. This
caused some delay, which was no disadvantage,
under the circumstances, as it enabled that corps
to form a. good line of battle, which it did, and
inarched steadily to the front, until ordered to
halt and remain in reserve. This regiment after
ward advanced and took its position in the bri
gade, when it was rallied at the hedge, three
hundred yards in front of the fort.
As soon as the advance had been checked it
was found impracticable for the few troops on the
embankment to take the fort. Capt. Stevens, as
I am informed, ordered them to fall back and let
the artillery play upon the works, which was ac
cordingly done in very good order. Meantime
about two companies of the One Hundredth regi
ment Pennsylvania vol iute?rs had rallied to their
colors at the hedge, three hundred yards in front
of the fort, and on these, with the assistance of
Lieut. Leasure, Assistant Adjutant-General, and
Lieut. Justice, Acting Post and Division Quarter
master, I soon succeeded in rallying the whole of
my command, and formed in regular order for
attack where we lay, till orders came to fall back
to the hedge in the rear, which we did in good
order, bringing off our wounded, but leaving our
During the battle two of my mounted orderlies
were wounded, and one had his horse shot under
him. I may be permitted to report further, that
at the time I arrived in front of the hedge near
the fort, I saw nothing of any part of the support
ing regiments of the First Brigade, between the
advancing Highlanders and the fort, and only a
portion of the Eighth Michigan, who led the at
tack in front of the fort, that regiment having
already been more than decimated by the mur
derous fire through which we all had to pass.
After I had formed my command behind the
hedge ready to move again to the attack, I rode
down to the troops lying back half a mile in re
serve, behind a hedge where I had myself rallied
not half an hour before, and begged them for
God s sake to come up to the front and support
me in a charge, and was very coolly told that
those troops did not belong to my division, and
could not either obey my orders or Gen. Stevens s.
Of course, this was a very distant support; and
I did not feel at liberty to take the responsibility
of acting without the order of Gen. Stevens.
The troops under my command behaved with
much intrepidity and coolness, and did not
shrink from exposing themselves, as the list of
casualties will show, and did not at any time
evince any tendency to panic, though to maintain
a position for two and a half hours under a con
stant stream of fire, was an affair calculated to
try the disposition of soldiers pretty severely.
Accompanying this report please find the re
ports of the several regimental commanders, to
gether with a list of their casualties.
I must return to the officers of the several re
giments my thanks for their steadiness and cool
ness, and for their ready and prompt obedience
to my orders. Lieut. S. George Leasure, Assist
ant Adjutant-General, and Lieut. Jefferson Jus
tice, Quartermaster of the One Hundredth regi
ment Pennsylvania volunteers, deserve my
narked approbation for most effective assistance,
and for setting an example of coolness and disre-
_ard of personal danger, that aided materially in
preserving coolness and intrepidity throughout
the command. All of which is respectfully re
ported. DANIEL LEA SURE,
Colonel Commanding Brigades.
Captain and Ass t Adj.-Gen., Second Division, N.D.D.S.
COLONEL WILLIAMS S REPORT.
HUADQCARTERS IIlLTON HEAD, July ^3, 1862.
To His Excellency Gov. Sprague, Providence^
R. I. :
GOVERNOR : I have the honor to enclose here- "
with the official copy of Major Edwin Metcalf 3
REBELLION RECORD, 1862.
report of tho part taken by his battalion, Third
Rhode Island artillery, in the battle of Sccession-
ville, James Island, S. C., June Kith, 18(52.
Major Metcalffa command were thrown forward
into the position of which he first speaks, with
the Third New-Hampshire regiment, and sup
ported by the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania and
Forty-seventh New-York regiments, for the pur
pose of keeping down the fire of the enemy s
main work, while Gen. Stevens made his second
advance. Thin was so well done by the Third
New-Hampshire regiment, and by M;ijor Met
calf s battalion while with the New-Hampshire
regiment, that the enemy were wholly unable to
man their guns, and (Ion. Stevens succeeded in
bringing forward his command to a small em
bankment about four hundred yards of the work,
without the loss, I believe, of a man, while cross
ing a large open space before reaching the em
I desire to express to your Excellency my ex
treme admiration of the courage and soldierly
conduct of Major Metcalf s battalion, and par
ticularly of the Major himself. It is my belief
that no officers or men could have behaved better
under lire than they did, and certainly no officer
could have led his command with more skill or
bravery than did Major Metcalf.
1 am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. First Muss. Cavalry, Commanding Post.
MAJOR METCALF S REPORT.
JAMBS ISLAND, 8. C., June 18,1862.
LIEUTENANT : I have the honor to report, that
in accordance with instructions received in the
evening of the fifteenth instant, from the Acting
Brigadier - General Commanding First division,
headquarters brigade, my battalion was held in
readiness to move at three o clock on the morn
ing of the sixteenth, company I (Capt. Strahan)
being detailed for duty at the battery in advance
of the First brigade, and a detachment under
Lieut, Metcalf, of company K, remaining in
charge of the battery at this point. My command
comprised but five companies, B, E, F, H, and
K, numbering three hundred and sixty enlisted
men, with two field, three staff, and fourteen
Leading the brigade, three companies, B, F,
and K, of my battalion were deployed as skir
mishers, under the direction of Major Sisson, at
the entrance to the wood covering the approach to
the rebel battery. The other companies marched
steadily to the front, halting in a position to sup
port the troops of the First brigade, who had
fallen hack, and being joined at this point by the
parties thrown out as skirmishers.
After again advancing in line, under orders to
support tlie Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania volun
teers, the battalion was ordered to take position
on the right of the Third regiment New-Hamp
shire volunteers, and for this purpose crossed
the marshy ground Hanking the enemy s battery.
We had hardly formed in line of battle and com
menced firing." when an order came to capture a
field-battery in their rear, which was firing with
fatal effect on the Third New-Hampshire regi
ment. The battalion was immediately ordered
to about-face and advance upon the thicket be
hind which the enemy s field-guns were con
cealed. In effecting this object we encountered
a galling lire from the enemy s sharp-shooters in
the thickets at our front and left, and many were
wounded in our ranks, but all pressed forward,
the men cheering and firing with spirit
I urged them into the cover of the woods as
rapidly as possible, and with great difficulty they
forced their way in, encountering small parties
of rebels, many of whom were shot and bayonet
ed, one prisoner being secured. A few of my
men succeeded in reaching the inner edge of the
thicket and gaining sight of the field-guns, three
in number, without horses, and supported appa
rently by only two or three companies of infant
ry. I felt confident of securing them, but the
Third New-Hampshire regiment having fallen
back, I deemed it my duty to order my men to
retire, which they did in good order, but slowly
and reluctantly, bringing off such of our dead and
wounded as could be seen on our way.
Feeling my utter want of experience, T have
great hesitation in speaking of the conduct of
those under my command, some of whom wero
not, like myself, for the first time under fire. I
keenly appreciate the honor of leading such men
into battle, and cannot too highly praise their
coolness, steadiness, and courage. If any faltered,
I was spared the shame of seeing it, where all did
their duty so well. 1 mention a few whose bear
ing was conspicuous, without detracting from the
merits of others.
Major II. T. Sisson deserves much credit for
his successful management of the skirmishers
during the advance, and for his constant efforts to
aid me in carrying out the various orders received
in the course of the morning.
I take great pleasure in speaking of the Adju
tant of the battalion, First Lieut., J. Lanahan,
Co. I, always prompt and cool, and sustaining
me in every difficulty by his good judgment and
long experience as a soldier. First Lieut. A. 11.
Green, commanding Co. B, was especially ener
getic and active. Second Lieut. E. S. Barthole-
mew, Co. E, nobly proved himself deserving the
commission he had received since our departure
from Hilton Head, falling mortally wounded
while cheering on his men into the thicket from
which the enemy so severely annoyed us. Capt.
II. Rogers, Jr., and First Lieut. C. R. Brayton,
of Co. II, were untiring in their exertions, and
zealously supported me. First Lieut. A. "VV.
Colwell, of Co. F, and Second Lieut. 1). ]>.
Churchill, of Co. K, particularly attracted my
notice by their coolness and energy.
I am pleased to name First Sergeant G. W.
Green and Sergeant J. B. Batchellee, of Co. B,
First Sergeant 0. A. Thompson, of Co. E, and
First Sergeant AV. Wheeler, Jr., of Co. K, as dis
tinguished for gallant conduct. I shall feel justi
fied in recommending them to the Governor of
Rhode Island for promotion.
It is with a bitter feeling of regret, though with
no sense of shame, that I have to report the seri
ous loss sustained hy my battalion. One ser
geant, six privates, killed; t\vo oflieers, four cor
porals, twenty-four privates, wounded ; one corpo
ral, seven privates, missing ; total, forty-five.
I have the honor to be, Lieutenant, very re
spectfully, your obedient servant,
Major CommandV Second Battalion, Third Ilcgt. 11. I. Artillery.
To Lieut. CiiANNiNu CLAIM-,
A. A. A. General.
GENERAL STEVENS 3 ORDER.
IFKAPCJUAUTKUS SKCOND DIVISION, }
N DISTRICT, DKPAKTMKNT OP TIII<; S<nrnr, V
JAMKS ISLAND, S. 0., June JH, 1S6^. )
GENERAL ORDER No. 2(5.
The Brigadier-General commanding the Second
division, in communicating to his command the
thanks of the Commanding General, for the good
conduct of the troops in the action of the six
teenth inst., desires to express his own profound
sense of their valor, conduct and heroism.
I. Men of the Second division ! You displayed
in the attack on the fortified position of the ene
my at Secessionville, on the sixteenth inst., the
highest qualities of veteran troops. You formed
in silence and secrecy in the darkness of the
night. You moved forward in perfect order at
the earliest dawn, and surprised and captured
the enemy s pickets. You were ordered not to
lire, but to push forward and use the bayonet.
You obeyed the order. You formed in line of
battle under a terrible and murderous lire of
grape, canister and musketry. You pushed to
the ditch and abattis of the work from right to
left. Parties from the leading regiments of your
two brigades, the Eighth Michigan and the Sev
enty-ninth Highlander s, mounted and were shot
down on the parapet, officers and men. Those
t\vo regiments especially covered themselves with
glory, and their fearful casualties show the hot
work in which you were engaged. Two fifths of
the Eighth Michigan and nearly one quarter of
the Seventy-ninth Highlanders were struck down
cither killed or wounded ; and nearly all the re
maining regiments One Hundredth Pennsylva
nia, Seventh Connecticut, Forty-sixth New- York,
and Twenty-eighth Massachusetts had a large
number of casualties.
II. Notwithstanding these fearful losses you
were not discouraged. Some of you were tem
porarily withdrawn from the murderous h re of
the enemy. You retired in order of battle, and
you returned to the attack in order of battle.
Some held, throughout the action, the advanced
position at the abattis arid ditch of the work.
This position was held by you unflinchingly and
confidently. And at this very hedge the light
battery of Rockwell threw its effective lire upon
III. In obedience to orders from superior au
thority you all finally returned in good order and
in line of battle, and the enemy did not venture
to interrupt you.
IV. Men of the Second division ! You covered
yourselves with glory on that gory field. Your
intrepid and able brigade commanders, Leasurc
and Fenton, in the hottest of the thick fight ;
your regimental commanders, like the heroic
Morrison, who, shot through the head on the
parapet, again led his men to the assault, eager
to avenge his wounds; at all points rallying and
cheering on their men, and officers and men alike
gave signal proof of their devotion to duty and
their country. In congratulating his comrades
on their heroic valor and constancy on that ter
rible field, the Commanding General of the divi
sion has not words to express his and your grief
at the sacrifices that have been made. Our best
and truest men now sleep the sleep that knows
no waking. Their dead bodies lay on the ene
my s parapet. Church, Pratt, Cottrcl, Guild,
Morrow, Horton, Hitchcock, and many other gal
lant and noble men we shall see no more.
Honor therefore, all honor to you, men of the
Second division. You have shown what you will
do when you shall have the proper opportunity.
You did not seize the fort, because it was simply
impossible, and known now to be impossible by
the reconnoissance referred to in the orders of
thanks of the Commanding General.
By order of
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
CHARLESTON "MERCURY" ACCOUNT.
CHARLESTON, June 18, 1862.
Secessionville is a small village, the summer
retreat of a few of the James Island planters. It
is on the eastern side of the island, on a high
plot of land on a bold creek, which winds through
the marshes between James, or Morris, or (Solly)
Island, and empties into the Stono River, near
its mouth. This creek runs immediately up to
Secessionville. On the west of the village, a
short shallow creek makes its way toward the
waters of Charleston Bay. Thus a tongue of
land is formed between the two creeks. It is
connected with the body of the land by a narrow
neck of thirty yards width, some four or live
hundred yards south of Secessionville. Hero
Lamar s battery is located across the high land,
and flanked on each side by marsh and the creeks.
It is a simple earthwork, heavily constructed, hav
ing a plain face, with an obtuse angle at each
side. It faces south, in the direction of Battery
Island, LegareX River s and Grimball s planta
tions, on the Stono River, which is about two
miles off. From this point the cleared high land
stretches out toward the Stono River, like the
top of a funnel, for the distance of near a mile,
interrupted only by the division lines between
fields, hedges and ditches. These fields are cov
ered with weeds three feet high. The" edges of
the high land and marsh are skirted with brush
wood and sea myrtles. In the background are
REBELLION RECORD, 1862.
patches of wood between these fields and the
Stono. On the borders of these woods, three
batteries of the enemy are located ; and besides
these land batteries, the gunboats, approaching
by way of the Secessionville Creek, can open fire
as they please. For the last fortnight, a fight at
long taw has been going on, at intervals, between
the Secessionville battery and the guns of the
enemy, and our artillerymen have been much
fagged by their watching and exertions. They
have done much to keep the foe in check.
On Sunday night, two companies, consisting
of the Charleston light infantry, from the Charles
ton battalion, under Capt. T. Y. Simons, and
company A, Capt. Smart, from Smith s battalion,
were thrown out half a mile in front of the
work. The rest of the men of these two bat
talions of infantry, stationed at Secessionville to
support the battery, were laboriously occupied
during the night. The two companies of Lamar s
South-Carolina volunteer artillery Reid s and
Keitt s were also engaged in labor until a half-
hour of dawn, when they were ordered by Col.
Lamar to take a nap. At break of day, the pick
ets came running in just before the advancing
foe. When Col. Lamar was notified and looked
out from the work he was to defend, the enemy
had approached to within four hundred yards.
But twenty-five of the garrison were awake. It
was a complete surprise, and nothing but the
nerve, promptitude and energy of the officers,
especially the commanding officer, saved the bat
tery from easy capture. The iirst round was
fired when the column was within thirty paces
of the guns. It was directed by Col. Lamar him
self. The shot burst through the closed ranks
with great havoc, and the foe soon retired. The
wearied men, startled by the sound, or aroused
by shakes or bayonet-punches from their officers,
sprang to their guns. The two infantry bat