War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0146 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

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I feel compelled to decline the reception of those supplies. I wrote to the honorable Secretary of War yesterday in reference to this matter.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, First U. S. Artillery, Commanding.

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 21, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

Chief Engineer U. S. A., Washington, D. C.;

GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the present condition of the batteries around us occupied or being erected by the troops of the State of South Carolina;

Fort Moultrie.- Until within eight days the work upon this fort, which was executed by several hundred negroes, was confined to the erection of three large traverses on the east half of the sea front, and the enlargement of another that I built upon the same face near the south angle. These traverses were of a size sufficient to contain a temporary bomb-proof shelter, and really served only to screen from our enfilading fire only three guns on the face, and also to cover the south half of the officers' quarters. The three columbiads at the south angle were not covered. But recently the work of preparation to screen themselves from the fire of Fort Sumter has taken a better turn, and the work done is really important. It consists of high and solid merlons, formed of timber, sand bags, and earth, raised between all the guns that can be brought to bear on this fort, from the west side of their fort, and in placing traverses or merlons so as to screen from enfilanding fire all the guns upon the sea front which are arranged to fire upon the channel. The checks of the embrasures are of timber, apparently set on end, like palisades, which I think is objectionable; and I also notice that the exterior slope of the merlous is too great to resist the pressure of the earth, and that the sand bags are pressed out in one or two places. These errors are small, however, compared with the great advantage of these merlons, which from their height (about five feet) completely cover the quarters and barracks as high up as the eaves. The following sketch shows pretty nearly the present arrangement of the fronts that I can see:


From Fort Sumter seventeen guns in barbette and eight guns in casemate are now ready to fire on Fort Moultrie-twenty-five guns in all.