superintendence than that which had been previously exercised, it would progress in very much the same style, I directed Captain Michel to proceed. He preceded to Morris Island, and, although the weather has interfered to a considerable extant, the material has been sent over; the main magazine is far advanced; a mortar battery is in process of construction, and a battery for a Parrott gun has been commenced . I have been urging the business forward, and I hope to have the work in readiness to open fire by Wednesday next, so as to cover Little Fully, and interfere with the advancing of works in that direction by the enemy, if indeed they have not already got them in readiness, while we were, form some cause or other, to be explained by the engineer department, doing next to nothing. Having noticed frequently that when details have been furnished for engineers' work they were but partially employed, and lying idle for some portion of their time, I have directed commanding officers ot ascertain and report, from time, what they were doing. Colonel Graham furnished a detail some time ago for the bridge to Black Island, and has informed me that several days they have, from some cause or another, done little or nothing. Colonel Simonton's command furnished another detail a few days since for the same work. I inclose a copy of his report on this subject.*
I have been given to understand that one difficulty of which the engineer department complains, is the want of transportation. This is undoubtedly well grounded, but I am informed by the quartermaster that they generally have from four to six of the nine or ten boats in the harbor. Whether it is from want of energy, attention, or proper combination of their resources, they get on slowly; and sometimes, as in the last case on Morris Island, material which has been lying for weeks is transported and got in position by other parties, with such means as remain after the engineer department has its transportation.
From months of observation, form repeated reports of commanding officers, some of which have been transmitted to the headquarters of the department, I am satisfied that much of the labor, both of negroes and soldiers, which has been from time to time furnished the engineer department, has not been fully made use of; and from the manner in which it has been managed, I doubt not, much of the difficulty in obtaining labor has arisen.
The engineers are not under my control, even in my own command; but when I see work, which is absolutely necessary, lagging and remaining unfinished for want of attention or other cause, I respectfully suggest that it is my duty to have it forwarded by such measures as are in my power. In this case I trust it will soon be in a proper state. Meantime the enemy have got their guns in position on the neck of Folly Island, and have several times opened fire. We have been behindhand, and as the works was not being done by those who had it in charge, I have caused it to progress by other means.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. RIPLEY,
*See p. 964.
65 R R-VOL XIV