assistance, possibly, of the Army, that will have obtained possession of Point Pleasant in the mean while. When the city is thus reduced the country around will probably abandoned, and a base thus formed for further offensive operations.
Send. In operating by Stono Inlet and Stono River, getting possession of James Island, and shelling the city from the northern side of the island, leading Sumter and Moultrie intact, to fall of themselves.
The difficulty in operating on this line consists in the preparations the enemy have made on Stono River for the defense of James Island. So far as I have been able to learn they consist of two forts near or at the month-one near its junction Wappoo Creek and one at Guerin's Ferry. Several vessels, too have been sunk in the river at points not yet ascertained. Not that the channels entering Charleston Harbor have been blocked up by stone vessels (except Maffitt's Channel, the shoalest) the first plan seems impracticable-at least until nature opens a new channel, which time alone can determine. The operation will probably have to be confined to the sound plan, assisted, probably, by a demonstration by way of Bull's Bay; and if a landing can be effected on fast not far from the mouth of the Stono, after the taking of the forts near the mouth, a victorious battle fought on James Island will enable us to plant siege batteries in a position for the effectual shelling of Charleston. At a rough estimate I should consider the means necessary to be 20,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, two light batteries, thirty siege pieces, with a sufficiency of 8 and 10 mortars. Two or three pontoon bridges also would be necessary for operation about the Stono and James Island.
It the railroad to the north is to be so cut as to open that side to demonstration from the north. I would diminish the assailing force at least one-third.
I inclose the views of Captain Gillmore, to which I have agreed in most points.
Very truly, yours,
T. W. SHERMAN,
P. S.-I am still waiting to hear from you it the way or re-enforcements. I really do not consider it prudent to made a grand attack on the main without cavalry. The enemy has a plenty of it. Would prefer vastly my general plan carried out, as expressed in official letter of the 14th instant, but, to quiet the publish mind, which is getting furious, would make a dash on the railroad at once if I had cavalry to assist me and boats enough.
OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER EXPEDITIONARY CORPS,
Hilton Head, S. C., December 25, 1861.
Brigadier General THOMAS W, SHERMAN,
Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.:
SIR: In response to you verbal directions to me I have the honor to submit a plan, or rather the promotion features of a plan, for obtaining possession of the city of Charleston, S. C.
There project for attaining this object naturally suggest themselves for our examination, viz:
1st. By way of Morris and Sullivan's Islands, involving the reduction of Forts Sumter and Moultrie, Johnston, and Castle Pickney, and the subsequent bombardment of the city. The fall of Forts Sumter and Moultrie would insure the success of this project the Navy could co operate with us afterwards.