honor to forward a report of Lieutenant-Colonel Hesseltine upon the present condition of Fort Jackson, that officer being now in command there, Major Grover being in command of this post at present.
The burning of the citadel and the demolition of its of its walls, which are at present in progress, give the fort an appearance of confusion and ruin that does not really exist. I am surprised to notice the small amount of actual damage that the works have sustained by the severe bombardment to which it has been exposed.
The ramparts are encumbered in many places with rubbish which may easily be cleared away, and the parapets are somewhat injured by neglect and abrasion in several places. The scarp-walls have been slightly injured in a few places by shot and shell, but no material damage has been sustained by them. The revetment of the parapets is of brick masonry and requires some repairs, as it has been neglected for a long time and was not originally protected at top from the weather by a water-proof. Five guns only were dismounted during the bombardment, and these may easily be put in position, as the injury is to the carriages only, and that only trifling in amount. In a word, the principal difficulty with the fort is slovenliness, as with Fort Saint Philip, apparently of long standing, and this I am endeavoring to correct as speedily as possible.
I have not yet been able to instruct the men in the manual of the guns, as all our force is required for guard duty.
If any exigency should arise to require it the entire armament of the fort might be put into serviceable condition in two or three weeks. The casemate guns are all in good condition, and may be made ready for use in a few hours. Indeed a full garrison of instructed artillerists could make a very good fight in the fort to-morrow, though the guns should first be overhauled and cleaned and the elevating screws and journals lubricated. Beyond that little is absolutely necessary by way of preparation, except clearing away the rubbish immediately about the guns.
The work now in progress in the fort (the masonry) seems to be going on without much method and under no sufficient direction. I have not yet had time to examine the matter properly, and am not informed as to the amount of of supervision and direction I am expected or desired to exercise in that matter. So far my time has been mainly taken up by incessant attention to sanitary matters, as I found the forts in a shocking condition of neglect and dirt.
Fort Jackson, July 17, 1862.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
In compliance with the order of General Neal Dow I respectfully submit, through you, the following report of the present state of defense of Fort Jackson and what remains to be done:
Casemates Nos. 1 and 4, in the east front curtain, I find seriously damaged by the force of heavy shells breaking through the parapet, No. 4 having been struck four times and badly shattered. Besides this, a bad fissure extends across all the arches, which need to be laid open and keyed up.