War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0455 Chapter XXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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[Inclosure No. 3.]


Port Royal Harbor, S. C., May 4, 1863.

Major General D. HUNTER,

Commanding Department of the South, Headquarters Hilton Head:

GENERAL: I have delayed several days in replying to your communication of the 29th ultimo for reasons set forth in my private note of that date.

In the mean time I have given the subject-matter of your letter mature consideration, for I am anxious to join you in anything that will promote the ends in view. Yet, general, for the present and until I can gain some more definite information as to the position of the enemy's floating battery Georgia and the probability of our being able to do it the slightest injury, it might not be advisable to proceed, and for the following reasons:

1st. That nothing but a feint or demonstration can be made against Savannah.

2nd. That which you and I intend merely as a demonstration with a definite object to accomplish thereby will be considered another repulse or failure by the rebels.

3rd. That if troops follow out iron-clads and do not land it will be looked upon in the same light at the North.

Should you see things in the same light I would prefer deferring for the present operations in that quarter.

I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,



Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., May 22, 1863.


President of the United States:

DEAR SIR: It is more than six weeks since the attack by the iron-clads upon Charleston ; an attack in which from the nature of the plans of Admiral DuPont the Army had no active part.

On the day of that attack the troops under my command held Folly Island up to Light-House Inlet. On the morning after the attack we were in complete readiness to cross Light-House Inlet to Morris Island, where once established the fail of Sumter would have been as certain as the demonstration of a problem in mathematics. Aided by a cross-fire from the Navy the enemy would soon have been driven from Cummings Point, and with powerful batteries of 100 and 200 pounder rifle guns placed there Fort Sumter would gave been rendered untenable in two days' fire. Fort Pulaski was breached and taken from Goats' Point, on Tybee Island (a precisely similar proposition), with 32-pounder Parrott guns, 42-pounder James guns, and a few 10-inch columbiads, the 13-inch mortars used in that bombardment having proved utterly valueless.

I mention these thins to show how certain would have been the fall of Fort Sumter under the fire of the 100 and 200 pounders rifled now at my command.

On the afternoon after the iron-clads attack on Fort Sumter the troops on Folly Island were not only ready to cross Light-House Inlet, but were almost in the act, the final reconnaissance having been made, the