War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0184 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S.C. Chapter I.

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WASHINGTON, February 21-6 p.m.

There is the best of reason for believing that Holt designs re-enforcing secretly, by boats, at night. The re-enforcements have already been sent. You may look out for them at any moment. The programme is also to surround Fort Pickent with ships of war. That post is considered impregnable to the Southern forces. The whole anxiety of Scott and the coercionists centers now in Fort Sumter. There the Cabinet has determined that Lincoln shall find everything ready to his hand.

FORT SUMTER.-The Washington correspondents of Northern papers are continually disposing of this formidable post in divers ways. The last bulletin which we notice "settles the fact" in this summary style:

"I have just read a private letter from a citizen of South Carolina, formerly in Congress from that State, which states that Fort Sumter will be taken, at whatever cost of life, on or before the 4th of March next. The writer is himself to take part in the enterprise, and as he is also perfectly well informed in regard to the intentions of the State authoritities, it may be considered that this information settles the fact, if there is any doubt of it, that the fort is to be taken, and without reference to what the Montgomery government may advise or order on the subject."

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 23, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

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

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that the work upon the batteries on Cummings Point was continued last night until 12 o'clock. This increased activity seemed to have been consequent upon the visit of some official of rank, probably Governor Pickens, to these batteries in the afternoon. Guns were fired from the batteries and from Fort Moultrie in considerable numbers about the same time that the steamers [arrived] bearing the person or persons who were visiting the batteries, and were either salutes of six and seven guns each or were merely practice firing. The principal work consists of that upon the battery that I reported yesterday as being in process of construction, and upon the erection of sheds of this form-


which you perceive can be turned into bomb-proofs, covering them with earth. One of these, situated at the extreme western point of Cummings Point, is already up, and a sufficient number of rafts were towed there last night to construct two or three more.

At Fort Moultrie a force of about fifty laborers is still at work embanking the glaces in front of the face towards us. Yesterday I completed placing the cheek irons for the embrasures in the recesses of the windows on the gorge, and to-day I shall charge the fougasses on the esplanade at the gorge, and then commence clearing the parade of rubbish. I have also to take down another temporary building to obtain fuel. I have a second one yet standing, that will furnish fuel as long as the provisions will last. The weather is very pleasant and warm.

I received from the Department another roll of writing paper to-day, with two bundles of envelopes, one of large and the other of medium letter size.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Engineers.