OFFICE CHIEF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEER E. C.
Hilton Head, S. C., January 18, 1862.
Captain LOUIS H. PELOUZE,
Fifteenth U. S, Infantry, A. A. A. G., Headquarters E. C.,
Hilton Head, S. C.:
SIR: In accordance with the verbal instruction of the general commanding, I accompanied Captain John Rodgers, U. S. Navy, in a boat reconnaissance of the channel from Tybee Roads, by Bloody Point, through Bull River, Wall' Cut, and Writhing River to the Savannah, and here the honor to state that the opinions expressed in my report of January 2 are confirmed in all essential particulars, and that there is no longer any doubt in my mind concerning the practicability of passing our gunboats and lighter transports at high tide into the Savannah 2 miles above Fort Pulaski and entirely beyond the effective fire of that work. The channel leading from Writing River into the Savannah gives, according to the sounding made firing the reconnaissance under the direction of Lieutenant Barnes, U. S. Navy, at least 5 (7) feet of water at mean low tide, which, added to the mean rise of the tides, would give a draught of 12 (14) feet for navigation under the most unfavorable circumstances.
The only point which there is any doubt is the width of the channel. On this my mind is convinced, and the point, Mr. Godgrey says he has no fears whatever of being able to take through any gunboat drawing 12 feet of water.
Herewith I inclose a sketch, taken from the Coast Survey charts, showing the additional sounding made by Lieutenant Barnes.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,
First Lieutenant, Top. Engrs., and Chief Top. Engr. E. C.
HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS,
Port Royal, S. C., January 20, 1862.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY,
Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: Reconnaissances of Savannah River had led me to the belief that Savannah might be taken by a combined operation of the Army and Navy by operating in the river itself, which would save the slow and expensive of bombarding Pulaski by cutting it from Savannah, and also the slow process of besieging Savannah from the south as recommenced in my letter of the 14th December. Could Savannah have thus been taken at once, any future obstructions and defenses in the vicinity of Savannah by the river would have been prevented.
A combined reconnaissance, however, made by Commodore Rogers of the Navy, and Lieutenant Wilson, of the Topographical Engineers, subsequently, has led to a report from the former officer that the navigation of some portion of the Savannah River is too hazardous to attempt the running of gunboats and transports up the river without further examination.
It has therefore been agreed upon by Commodore are DuPont and myself to at once commence this examination in force. This movement is particularly calculate to the cutting off of Fort Pulaski, and will do it, i believe, effectually.