THE SIEGE- ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SECOND DAY.
The Christmas of 1863 will long be remembered by those who passed the day in the City of Charleston. for hours before the eastern sky was streaked with the first grey tints of morning, the cold night air was rent by other sounds than the joyous peals from the belfry and the exploding crackers of exhilirated boys.
At one o'clock, a.m., the enmey opened fire upon the city. Fast and furiously were the shells rained upon the city from five guns- three at Battery Gregg, one at Cummings' Point and one at the Mortar Battery. The shelling was more severe than upon any former occsion, the enemy generally throwing from three to five shells almost simulaneously. Our batteries promptly and vigoursly replied to the fire, but wtihout their usual effect in checking the bombardment, which was steadily maintained by the Yankees during the remainder of the night and all the following morning, until about half-past twelve o'clock. Up to that hour no less than 134 shells had been hurled against the city.- There was no more firing until about five o'clock in the afternoon, when one more shell was fired. On Sunday morning about three o'cock, four shells were thrown in quick succession. There had been no further firing up to a late hour last night.
The damage, we are glad to say bore no proportion to the severity of the bombardment. Several houses were struck, but in most instances the tremendous missles buried thmselves harmlessly in the earth. There were but tweo casualties: Mr. WM. MCKNIGHTON, aged 83, while sitting by his fireside, had his right leg taken off by a shell, another fragment of which crashed the foot of his sister-in-law, MISS PLANE. Up to last evening both sufferers were doing well.
At Fort Sumter all has been quiet since our last report. An old shell exploded on Christmas day, wounded Privates THEODORE ICAULT and JOSEPH LEE, of company K, 1st S.C.A.
Our batteries kept up a steady fire Sunday afternoon on a Yankee working party at the extremity of Cummings' Point. The enemy have closed the embrasure at Gregg, formerly occupied by our 10-inch Columbiad. They have now at Gregg, but one gun (a heavy Parrott) bearing upon Fort Sumter, but they have constructed the embrasure of this piece with a view to giving it a very wide field of fire. On Saturday evening our lookouts noticed that at the signal of a steam whistle a large Yankee flag was run up at their middle battery. In their first attempt to hoist it the "old flag" went up union down, a mshap which evidently caused much confusion amongst the crowd present.
On Friday morning, about daylight, in the midst of the shelling, our citizens were startled by the report of heavy and rapid artillery firing in the direction of Stono. Many conjectures were made and varoious rumors circulated. The facts, however as we have learned them, are as follows: An artillery and infantry force was ordered up thrusday evening to proceed to John's Island for the prupose of reconnoitering the enmey's position at Legarville, and, if possible, to drive away or sink the gunboats genrally lying in Stono near that place, and also, if deemed feasible, to capture the garrison and post at Leagrville.
Accordingly, every preparation for the expedition having been made, the batteries were got in readiness and everything in position by daylight Friday morning. At the hour fixed, our batteries opened with spirit upon the Yankee gunboat Marblehead, lying about three hundred yards from the wharf of the village landing. the Yankee garrison at Lagare's was found to be strongly posted on a little island, with narrow defile leading to the village; Col. PAGE, of the Virginia brigade, resolved to make an attack on the enemy's position with the field artillery and the infantry, and awaited the driving away or sinking of the Marblehead by our siege guns from the wharf. The gunboat received our fire in silence for about twenty minutes, and then opened with full braodsides. Our batteries continued the engagement about an hour, but failed to drive her away.
The Pawnee and a mortar boat , during the action, ran up the Kiawah River, opening a heavy fire on the flank and rear of our lower batteries, and compelled our troops to fall back a short distance. The loss on our side was Private W. H. ANCRUM, of the Palmetto Guard, killed on the field, and five others severly wounded, two of them mortally, and since dead. The last words of the gallant young Ancrum were an exhortation to his comrades to press on and save their pieces, regardless of himself. Eight artillery horses and one ambulance mule were killed. No casaulties occured among the infantry.
In consequence of the loss of our horses, two howitzers were left behind, which were afterwards brought in, at a later hour in the evening. The expedition was well planned, but partly miscarried from unavoidable contingencies. Our troops, however, have been stimulated by the trial, and will yet show what they are able to accomplish whenever they are called upon for action.-The Charleston Mercury (Charleston, S.C.) Dec 28, 1863