War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0880 COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

forage. Besides, after having reached Mount Pleasant the city would still be out of his reach.

He would have to choose then, in my judgment, between the James Island line and that by Rantowles. The former, as it appears to me, offers infinitely greater advantages. In the first place it is a shorter line, a matter of momentous importance where transportation is limited, as is probably the case with our enemy. In the second place it will be a safer line, as both his flanks and rear would be perfectly secure; a condition of things which would certainly not obtain should he operate from North Edisto. And in the third place, having obtained possession of James Island, he would, be the erection of heavily armed batteries along its shore, be master of the greater portion of Charleston Harbor, and would control entirely our communications with Fort Sumter and its outposts on Moris Island and embarrass seriously those with Sullivan's Island.

The possession of Saint Andrew's Parish would give him no such enormous advantages, and he would be kept in a constant state of anxiety and alarm for the safety of his flanks and rear; nor would he be very much nearer his objective point. The Ashley would in either case still be between it and him.

The resources of the engineers' art haver been as lavishly used and as judiciously applied on the one line as the other, and I cannot see but that in this respect it would be with our enemy but a "choice of evils."

It may be, indeed it is probable, that he will make feints in the direction of Adams Run, Rantowles, Pocotaligo, and Coosawhatchie; false attacks even he may make at one or more of these points; but I incline strongly to the opinion that the real attack will be through James Island.

Should his plan of attack be to lay siege to Forts Sumter and Moultrie through Morris and Sullivan's Islands respectively, the securing our communication with the city would then become a matter of paramount importance; and in this view of the subject the value of such means as may enable us to keep open those communications cannot be exaggerated.

I hope you will not think me either presumptuous or officious in presenting these views for your consideration, my dear general. For what they are worth I offer them to you as an old friend, and one who, in addition to the deep interest he feels in your successful defense of the old city, will rejoice to have fresh laurels added to your already green.

Believe me, very truly, yours,

J. H. TRAPIER.

P. S.- I don't expect you to answer this letter, of course; certainly not in extensor.

J. H. T.

[Indorsement.]

HDQRS. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,

Charleston, S. C., April 5, 1863.

Brigadier General J. H. TRAPIER,

Commanding, &c., Sullivan's Island, S. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: Your views relative to the probable attack of the enemy on this city have been received. They agree quite fully with my own, except that I do not think the enemy can try the Edisto and Church Flats line for want of transportation and the difficulties they