HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., April 1, 1862.
MY DEAR GENERAL: I inclose you a copy of Major-General Hunter's order assigning me to the late command of General Sherman.
I regret much that different delays prevented my meeting you in person yesterday, and I missed communicating with your boat by supposing it was to have been off Stoddard's place, for which we were running, when we saw it where the pilot feared to go with our boat.
My principal desire was to consult you with reference to your means and opportunities of erecting mortar batteries at least, to take in reverse the south and southeast faces of Fort Pulaski, and perhaps the northeast face for by this means your forces can the more efficiently aid in the reduction of that work. I would be glad to have this subject receive your utmost attention. Now it occurs to me as possible to erect such a battery at the lower point of Long Island, with possibly one for direct fire on the faces next you, and I should wish a reconnaissance made there at once with this object.
General Gillmore has a project for preparing a large scow (such as could be brought to you through Wall's Cut) for the basis of a battery, and floating it to the required position, then to complete it as a land battery. It is very possible that this may be the best expedient for yourself. I shall, however, be happy to receive from you any suggestions or plans that may accomplish best the object to be attained-the most efficient aid from your force in the reduction of this stronghold.
I have in view, unless other circumstances or probabilities of what I am not now fully advised should prevent it, the restoration to you of a part, at least, of the excellent troops of your brigade.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. BENHAM,
HDQRS. EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., April 1, 1862
Brigadier General Q. A. GILLMORE,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Tybee Island, Ga.:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Upon reflecting upon your proposition to preparate a scow as the basis of another battery above the mouth of Lazaretto Creek, and, looking upon your sketch map, I would suggest if it would not be best to take it up that creek and prepare the battery there, as it appears that it might be at nearly the end of the first angle to the north and on the prolongation of the gorge wall of the fort. This last line I would by all means select as the line of fire, if the battery can be placed as well or nearly as well in that position, as it cuts off the cover the gorge might afford, gives more complete reverse fire on the north face, and nearly as well a sufficient reverse fire on the northeast face. If you can as securely, and with as much concealment, which would appear to me doubtful, place this battery on the south channel, which, however, appears but a short distance nearer, say 200 yards, it will perhaps be best.
I would like the sketch of your proposed arrangement with the guns,
&c., of the scow, as I would desire, if found feasible, that General Viele, if no better means offers, should prepare one or two batteries of the same