drills at the heavy guns, as called for by Special Orders, Numbers 81, from the same headquarters.
After a thorough examination of the island and the fortifications commenced at its westerly extremity, its capabilities for defense, character of the guns, implements, equipments, and ammunition, together with the condition and discipline of the troops composing the command, I have the honor to report thereon as follows, viz:
1st. The fortification is a half circle, or horseshoe, closed at the gorge with a half-bastion front, as a flanking arrangement for land defense. It was originally intended to carry up the walls sufficiently high for one tier of caseate and one tier of barbette guns, and to have a moat, with a glaces without, to protect the masonry.
The brick work generally was only found to be carried up as high as the soles of the embrasures, however, and in this unfinished state it has been attempted to complete the work for temporary defense.
This has been done by carrying up the piers between the embrasures by brick work in offsets from the outside, which is to be protected by sand bags. To complete the covering over the guns brick piers are being built within the work, and heavy timbers thrown thence to the walls, to be covered by 3-inch planking and sand bags. Hence, from every direction in which a shot or shell can reach the interior of the fort, they will be almost certain to strike one of the piers in question, and chances are that they will be brought down, together with the timber and sand bags over them, burying the guns and increasing the number of casualties from the splinters and scattering brick work.
To have much strength, or to be able to maintain anything like a determined attack, this fort must be completed after its original plans. If progresses with after the present method of temporarily completing it, a few heavy men-of-war will pelt it to ruins in a very short space of time. I regard it as affording the least possible protection to the men and guns, and totally incapable of resisting any formidable force.
If the island must be fortified, and if possible be held at all hazards, I would earnestly suggest that Fort Twiggs and all work upon it be abandoned at once, and that the only attempt made a fortification be the ordinary resort to sand-bag batteries. The embrasures of the latter can be carefully revetted with sand bags and the parapets carried close up to the height of the tallest men. Bomb-proof shelters, built close up to the parapets, will afford ample protection to the reliefs and to the men not employed at the guns, who can crawl into them for protection and shelter during an actual engagement. Such a work can be pelted within a very few days comparatively, and will afford ten times the resistance of the unfinished brick fort. All the labor can be done by the command, and the material is all ready to hand, excepting a few more sand bags.
2nd. The present armament is composed of two 24-pounders in position on the flanking front and one 8-inch shell gun completely exposed on the same front; eight 32-pounders within the circular work and one 32-pounder and one 9-inch Dalghren shell gun without the fort and behind a sand-bag parapet. The fire of the two latter is partially masked by the masonry of the fort, as is shown, together with the positions of all of the guns, by the following diagram*
The guns are all good enough of their several classes, but the 32-pounders, being mounted upon barbette gun-carriages on caseate
*Omitted, as of no present importance.