War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0172 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S.C. Chapter I.

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any wrong act on the part of my command, and hoping that these boats will henceforth be more particular in obeying your instructions,

I am, sir, with sentiments of the highest regard, &c.,


Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 13, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that since the date of my last letter, the 11th, very little, apparently, has been done by the South Carolinians around us. The weather yesterday was quite pleasant, and a relief of some of the troops on Morris Island took place. I saw about 150 land, and was told that about the same number went away. A large number of negro laborers were likewise taken to the city, leaving only a small number at work on the parapet of the field work on Cummings Point.

This work appears to be nearly completed, and ready to open fire. In the iron bomb-proof are three heavy guns, believed to be, and from all reports are, 8-inch columbiads. The three guns farther to the left [our left] are probably 24 or 32 pounders. Those still farther to the left bearing on the channel and crossing their fire with the guns of Fort Moultrie, are of the same caliber. There is at least one gun in this position, and probably two. I cannot see them from the parapet on account of an intervening sand hill, but I saw a gin at work at the position of one of the guns. Fort Morris and the light-house battery have probably been strengthened.

One mortar was landed at Fort Johnson, and, it is reported, placed in the new battery to the south of Fort Johnson. Fort Moultrie has changed very little of late. A new flagstaff was erected a few days since, and the new State flag hoisted thereon. It is not a handsome or pleasant flag to look at, being a dark-blue ground, with a white palmetto and crescent thereon. At a distance it is not unlike a black flag, with the piratical emblem [head and cross-bones] upon it.

In this fort the preparations continue with unabating activity. The open spaces which were left for the second-tier embrasures, and filled in with a brick wall after we entered the fort, were the weakest points to resist battering. I have had them re-enforced in various ways, some with a solid wall of stone flagging, others with irons and lumber, and others with earth packed in between two partitions of scantling and boards. This work is not yet completed. The cement and bricks gave out some time since. In a few days, however, I shall have these as secure as necessary.

The next step will be to secure from breaching fire the loopholes windows and piers between them on the gorge. I am preparing to plate the main gate with half-inch iron, to construct fougasses on the gorge and upon each face, and to make more complete arrangements for using shells and grenades over the parapet. Yesterday I completed the mines in the wharf, and the preparations for firing them. I also cut down the brick coping of the parapet on the gorge in front of one of the guns, so as to allow it to be depressed so as to sweep the end of the wharf. Upon trial it answered the expectations, and this morning the embrasure thus formed is being enlarged a little, so as to allow the canister [in bags] to strike nearer and sweep more of the wharf.

The guard-boats were unusually active last night, and rather trouble-some, too, for one of them, improving upon their ordinary tricks of run-