War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0070 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

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involved the evacuation of Fort Sumter, the destruction of the city by a direct fire as from James Island, nor the command of movements in our inner harbor by the iron-clad fleet. the Morris Island route I had long through most likely to be attempted by the enemy as its proximity to Folly Island, for many months back in their possession, gave them facilities for the execution of a coup de main, while the neighboring harbor of the Edisto gave their fleet convenient shelter from had weather, which they could not have enjoyed on the Long Island coast had their attack been via Sullivan's Island. Moreover, the seizure of the island would afford the Federal Government opportunity for making capital with its people and with foreign powers. To counteract those very apparent advantages of the enemy, as soon as suitable guns could be procured, I had ordered to be erected on the south end of Morris Island proper batteries.

On Block Island, which lies between James and Morris Islands, and from its position enfilades Light-House Inlet between Folly and Morris Islands, I had order to be built several months previously two batteries for two guns each. This island was, further, to have been connected with the mainland by a branch from the bridge planned to connected James and Morris Islands, and nearly completed when the enemy made their attack in July.

At Vincent's Creek a battery was commenced, and, had it been completed, would have played effectively upon the sand-hills on the south end of Morris Island.

battery Wagner was substantially strengthened and arranged for four heavy guns in the sea face, but owing to the scarcity of labor and the want of the necessary ordnance to put into the works at the south end of the island when completed, they were not, on July 10, 1863, in that condition which would have characterized them had I had sufficient labor, transportation, and ordnance at my disposal. Labor and transportation have always been serious drawbacks not only to the defense of Charleston, but of the whole department.

In reference to labor, I may here state that no subject connected with the defense of this department has engrossed more of my attention. Constant appeals were made to the Governors and Legislature of South Carolina, and to eminent citizens since my first arrival. Few seemed to appreciate the vital necessity of securing a proper amount of slave labor for the fortification around Charleston, and instead of the State providing 2,500 negroes monthly, as desired by me, for Charleston, I received for the first six months of 1863 the following number of negroes from the State authorities:

January............................................. 196

February............................................ 261

March............................................... 864

April............................................... 491

May................................................. 107

June................................................ 60

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Total...............................................1,979

Or an average of 330 monthly, when I ought to have received 2,500. Hence it became a necessity that I should detain these hands longer than the thirty days, which was the original term of service required from each negro. This step caused considerable discontent among the owners of slaves, and in the month of July, 1863, the number of negro hand sin the employ of the engineer department, provided under my call on the State, amounted to only 299, including a number of hired negroes.