War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0201 Chapter I. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

charged to necessity, and the holding of Fort Pickens would be adduced in support of that view. Our Southern friends, however, are clear that the evacuation of both the forts would instantly soothe and give confidence to the eight remaining slaveholding States, and render their cordial adherence to this Union perpetual.

The holding of Forts Jefferson and Taylor, on the ocean keys, depends on entirely different principles, and should never be abandoned; and, indeed, the giving up of Forts Sumter and Pickens may be best justified by the hope that we should thereby recover the State to which they geographically belong by the liberality of the act, besides retaining the eight doubtful States.

[Inclosure C.]

Lieutenant Hall's notes.

I have the honor to state that I could not concur with Captain Rodgers, with whom I was directed to confer, in his plan for the entrance of the harbor of Charleston with men and provisions for Fort Sumter. He proposes to procure a vessel (steamboat), with a draught of not over six and one-half feet, in some Northern port, and with the cargo to be cleared for Charleston, letting it be known, as if in confidence, that the design is to force a landing on the southern extreme of Morris Island; to carry the batteries by the rear and destroy the channel; to bring in the vessel, the vessel to regulate her speed so as to arrive off the bar in a dark night and at high tide, and to proceed through the Swash Channel with her lights extinguished; in case of discovery and being fired at, to drop a cork with a light in it, which would deceive the gunners. If the batteries are lighted up the men cannot see in the distance; if they are not, the lights will not be visible. The commander is to be allowed to back his vessel in case of a storm on the way down.

My objections to this plan are very numerous. In the first place, the deception would be apparent, as no one would attempt a forced landing with means possible to such a vessel. Secondly, not being a sea-going vessel the danger to life and the success of the undertaking is so great as to appear imprudent at best. Thirdly, it is unsafe to calculate upon not being seen off the bar, as a number of watch vessels, some with troops and cannon, are stationed off and along the entrance. Fourthly, even though the above dangers should all be safely passed and it should prove a manliest night and high tide at a proper time, still a chance shot through the machinery would defeat the enterprise.

The plan is grounded upon the most fortunate and improbable circumstances. It might succeed; but I think failure would be the rule. By an examination of the chart of the harbor of Charleston it will be seen that the Swash Channel passes outside the range of all the batteries erected along the entrance, except, perhaps, the small one near Cummings Point (of one 32-pounder and one 12-pounder), and this can be safely neglected. Fort Moultrie can bring several guns to bear for a mile and a half (not ten minutes), but their field has been greatly reduced by the traverse with small embrasures lately thrown up on the parapet. Considering as effective all the means in the hands of those hostile to the undertakings, the following are at present to be noticed: The channel will not admit of more than six and one-half feet draught with ease in sailing; at least one steamer with troops and field guns will be near the bar; a line of pilot schooners and signal vessels from a cordon outside the bar; the main ship channel is obstructed with sunken ships; Maffitt's Channel is raked and crossed by the fires of Moultrie and batter-