the Ordnance Bureau must be appealed to for a decision, and I did this immediately, in order to allay, as soon as possible, any irritations that might have arisen. I was actuated in all I did by a sincere desire to remove all cause of irritation, so that if the extremists are disposed for violent measures they must force the issue themselves.
I am abating nothing of the activity of preparation in Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter, and in fact am increasing it.
If the Department becomes aware of any change of policy in regard to this preparation in these forts, or in either of them, I beg that instructions may be given me at once, so that I may vary my operations accordingly, for my p[resent expenses are very heavy. In Fort Sumter the mounting of the guns, laying a flagging of first and second tiers of casemates, forming embrasures of second tier, and finishing the barracks is progressing regularly, and as fast as separately organized parties can work. The force will be to-morrow 150 men.
On Fort Moultrie 137 men are at work. The wet ditch is nearly completed. The foot-bridge connecting the second stories of the barracks and the guard-house, which is arranged for a citadel, is constructed. Doors are being cut through the partition walls of the barracks of the second floor, and trap-doors in the floors, and ladders made. A machicoulis gallery over the southeast tangelo is being made of palmetto logs for infantry. All the guns on the east front (facing the sand hills(are being placed in embrasure, by raising high and solid merlons, formed of cement barrels filled with sand, sods, and green hides.
Three high cavalier-like positions are also formed on this front of sharpshooters. The picket fence bordering the ditch is carried more than half around the fort, and is well protected from a destructive fire of cannon by a small glaces in front of it. The flanking howitzers are being mounted in the finished caponiere, and will be tried by firing to-morrow. Nearly all the projecting brick cordon is cut off smooth.
All of this work I have done and am doing myself, because it is necessary to be done, and the garrison is too weak to undertake any work beside the regular drills.
There is another thing which I propose to do, and of which I write to you in season, so that if you disapprove it you can have time to forbid it. I propose to connect a powerful Daniels battery with the magazine at Fort Sumter, by means of wires stretched across under water from Fort Sumter to Fort Moultrie, and to blow up Fort Sumter if it is taken by an armed force, and after Lieutenant Snyder and my men have time to escape from it.
I propose, also, to use the same battery to fire small mines around Fort Moultrie, and to explode a large mine placed in the sand hills. All of these last preparations my seem to be unnecessary, and I hope they may prove to be so in the end, but there are very strong probabilities that they may be required, and, at any rate, I regard a complete state of preparations as the surest safeguard attack.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
DECEMBER 19, 1860.
Major ROBERT ANDERSON, &c., Charleston, S. C.:
I have just telegraphed Captain Foster to return any arms that he may have removed from Charleston Arsenal.
J. B. FLOYD.