HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF GEORGIA, Numbers 75.
Savannah, March 17, 1863.
I. In compliance with paragraph IV, Special Orders, Numbers 64, Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, the board of general officers therein constituted will assemble at Oglethorpe Barracks at 10 a. m., 17th instant, and daily thereafter until adjournment.
Captain W. W. Gordon, assistant adjutant-general, is hereby appointed as recorder.
By order of Brigadier-General Mercer:
GEO. A. MERCER,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
Savannah, Ga., March 18, 1863-10.30 a. m.
The board met pursuant to the above orders.
Present: Brigadier-General Mercer; Brigadier-General Taliaferro; Brigadier-General Walker; Captain W. W. Gordon, assistant adjutant-general, recorder.
The recorder read the orders convening the board.
Colonel E. C. Anderson, C. S. Army, commanding river batteries, having been called before the board, made the following statement:
In the first line of batteries upon the river, which can alone be relied on for the defense of the obstructions and which are indeed almost the only defenses of the river, there are but twenty-eight guns, exclusive of three 10-inch mortars, which would not be available against moving objects; of these eleven only are heavy guns. They are distributed as follows Lawton Battery, six guns; Fort Jackson, eight guns; Lee Battery, ten guns, including three mortars; Naval Battery, seven guns; total, thirty-one.
the armament of Fort Jackson amounts to nothing. There are but two 8-inch guns, the rest being 32-pounders. Armed with 10-inch guns it would be efficient against iron-clads, being the only battery immediately upon the river which has elevation sufficient to admit of a plunging fire.
I recommend that all the guns in the naval battery be replaced by heavier guns.
I recommend that the 32-pounder in Battery Lee be replaced by a 10-inch gun.
The heavy guns in the lower batteries are mounted on platforms built on a yielding soil of mud. They tip with every change of position and are thereby very difficult to traverse. The apparatus in use for traversing the guns of like caliber in Fort sumter would in a very material degree add to the efficiency here. As now arranged it requires from four to six men to traverse them. With Yates' patent one man could train them easily. I request that nine of these appliances may be supplied from Charleston, as there are no means of obtaining them in Savannah.
I recommend that a work be erected at a suitable spot on Mackay's Point, to command Elba Island, Augustine Creek, and the main Ship Channel in the Savannah River north of Elba Island.
On Hutchinson Island there are three 32-pounder guns. Two of these are old guns, that were dug up out of the mud on that point, reamed out, and can only be used with very light charges and shells made specially for them. I recommend that these be replaced by one 10-inch columbiad and two 7-inch rifled guns.
I have under my command 700-I require at least 1,000-effective men as artillerists for my batteries, consisting of the four before mentioned, forming the exterior or lower line of the Hutchinson Island Battery, the Bay Battery, and the battery ordered to be constructed at Screven's Ferry.
Captain McCrady, chief engineer of the district, having been called before the board, made the following statement:
There should be no smooth-bore guns in the river batteries below the caliber of 8-inch. There should be-
In Lawton Battery one 7-inch rifled gun, one 6 1/4-inch rifled gun. In Naval Battery four 8-inch columbiads, three 6 1/4-inch rifled guns.
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