structed on the front facing the sand hills. The force on the island is about 700 men, as I saw them drilling this evening in about that number.
I think that they have transferred several of the guns from Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney to the batteries on Morris Island, with the object of strengthening them, since they have found by the firing on the Star of the West that they are well placed. There is another battery on the upper end of Sullivan's Island, out of the reach of our guns, to guard the Maffitt Channel. The main ship channel is so much obstructed by the four hulks that they sunk in it on the 11th that vessels find the greatest difficulty in getting out or in, even with the harbor pilots, who can be used with safety by vessels that wish to run the gauntlet with re-enforcements for us. I do not, however, consider it good policy to send re-enforcements here at this time. We can hold our own as long as it is necessary to do so. If any force is sent here it must have the strength and facilities for landing and carrying the batteries on Morris or Sullivan's Island. The former will be the easier operation. But if the whole South is to secede from the Union, a conflict here and a civil war can only be avoided by giving up this fort sooner or later. We are, however, all prepared to go all lengths in its defense if the Government requires it. We have now, besides the twenty-nine guns mounted in the first tier (three 8-inch howitzers, five 42-pounders, and twenty-one 32-pounders), nineteen guns mounted on the third or barbette tier (six 8-inch columbiads, five 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, two 42-pounders, and six 24-pounders). These are all well placed for firing on Fort Moultrie, Morris Island, and Fort Johnson. As fast as the remaining guns are mounted they will the same object. Every precaution has been taken to secure the shutters for the embrasures and loop-holes and the main gates. The latter have been re-enforced by a solid wall three feet thick by five feet high with a narrow doorway of 20-inch width to serve for passage, and also for embrasure of an 8-inch howitzer in case of attack. A discharge of canister from this gun will sweep the wharf. The lanyard of this gun is carried back through a hole in the second gate. The lanyards of the two guns to sweep the landing to the right and left are also brought inside, to insure those guns being fired, even if the retiring guard forgets to do it while upon the outside. A large number of shells have been arranged with friction tubes to be used with long lanyards, so that the shell, being rolled over or suffered to fall from the edge of the parapet, will explode as it gets to the end of the line. The room over the gateway has also been supplied with hand grenades.
The weather since the command has occupied the fort has been very bad, and the whole force including the camp followers, have been suffered to quarter in the officer's quarters. This, together with the firing of the guns at the gateway without raising the windows, by which most of the glass on the gorge and many of the sashes were broken, has caused considerable damage to the quarters. I regard it, however, as of small moment in comparison with the necessity for keeping the command well housed and also as well warmed as the small stock of fuel will allow. The damage to the windows has been repaired temporarily. I have regarded any expense not strictly required for the defense as unnecessary under the present aspect of affairs.
During the continuance of the present arrangements for the mail I will keep you fully informed of everything that transpires.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,