War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0206 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 16 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

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

GENERAL: Considerable activity is exhibited this morning in the batteries on Morris Island and in the vicinity of the mortar battery on James Island. Three steamers have landed on Cummings Point quite a large number of men, both laboring and military, with three barbette carriages and four guns, either 24 or 32 pounders, and quite a large quantity of supplies. The operations, however, which are not fully defined at this time, appear to be directed to the continuation of the works of defense on the channel side, and also to the further strengthening of the works as far down the beach as the light-house and mouth of the Stono River. On James Island the work is confined to the construction of about one hundred and fifty-yards of covered way on the beach, connecting the mortar battery and the flank of the line of entrenchments in rear of Fort Johnson, where it comes out on the beach.

I am still engaged in filling up the exterior openings of the first-tier loopholes on the gorge. One-half of the gorge is thus strengthened. I have put the two 10-inch columbiads in good working order. The opening through the masonry wall in rear of the main gate has also been lined with iron plate in such a way that the main gate may not be shaken when the 8-inch howitzer in rear is fired through the opening. I am also clearing the parade of rubbish.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Engineers.

Numbers 74.] FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 16, 1861.

Colonel S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that after an apparent partial suspension of tow or three days of work around us, they have resumed with a go do deal of activity. Quite a large party is now at work near Fort Johnson, at the point designated "Apparently a covered way" on the accompanying sketch by Captain Seymour.* Four barbette carriages and guns were landed yesterday afternoon at Cummings Point, and we see this morning that they are removing the armament from the parapet of Castle Pinckney. Thence, probably, came the barbette guns and carriages we have seen landed at different times at Cummings Point. The works on Morris Island will, I presume, be found to be very heavily and well armed.

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


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 17, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

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

GENERAL: The unusual activity observed and reported yesterday morning in the surrounding batteries was due to preparations for receiving some distinguished person who visited them in the afternoon.


*Here omitted. To appear in Atlas.