fectly conscious of the dangerous position they are placed in, but are in as fine spirits as if they were certain, of victory.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, First Artillery, Commanding.
P. S. - I have just heard that several of them at work in Fort Sumter wear the blue cockade. If they are bold enough to do that the sooner that force is disbanded the better. The public property would be safer there under Lieutenant Snyder and a few men that it now is.
SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S. C., December 22, 1860.
Colonel R. E. DE RUSSY,
Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I feel it my duty to inform you that on the last two nights steamers from town have remained in the close vicinity of Fort Sumter, apparently with the object of maintaining guard over the fort. On the first night, that of the 20th, only one came. She approached from the direction of town, as though running for the wharf, and her movements attracting the attention of the watchman, he awoke Lieutenant Snyder, who, when he went upon the ramparts, found her close under the west flank, apparently sounding. She afterwards moved off to a second position about six hundred yards from the fort, and remained during the night. She showed no lights. On the same night this or another steamer reconnoitered and remained around Castle Pinckney for some time, and when hailed by the night watch on the Castle as to what she wanted, some one replied, "You will know in a week." Last night two steamers kept watch around Fort Sumter.
These steamers are the small harbor or coast steamers, and one of them was named the Nina. Judging it best not to incur any risk of an unpleasant occurrence, I have not taken any steps to ascertain the object of this surveillance, nor of those in command of the steamers. The recent orders emanating from the War Department have given me the assurances that every cause that might irritate these people must be avoided. However mortifying it may be to know that there are no means for defense in Fort Sumter, and that the military men of the city have their eves fixed upon it as the prize to obtain, I feel bound to carry out this idea in my every act.
I do not even feel authorized to vary my present plan of operations, either by a reduction or an increase of force, although my expenses are very heavy, and my present liabilities barely covered by my requisitions just made. Whenever the Department desires that I may make a change of operations, I beg that it may soon be communicated to me.
At Fort Moultrie I am still exerting myself to the utmost to make it so defensible as to discourage any attempts to take it. The wet ditch is now completed. The whole of the east front is now raised by solid melons, two barrels high, and in three positions to a greater height to serve for cavaliers. The guns are provided with good siege-battery embrasures, faced with green hides, and two of them 18-inch howitzers, one in addition furnished with musket-proof shutters working on an axis, elevated over the throat off the embrasure by supports on each side, and maneuvered by double extending back over the gun.
A field howitzer has been put in position on the parapet at the northeast salient by means of a palmetto stockade, so as to sweep the vicinity