urged and advised in vain, the enemy obtained his point-d'appui, and a convenient post, with the choice of two routs of attack, one by James and the other by Morris Island. The first led directly to the city, the other to its outer defenses. The first was attempted, and was defeated by the gallantry of our troops at Secessionville, and the circumstance, somewhat fortuitous and in no wise attributable to the commander who ordered the evacuation of Cole's Island, that the place was fortified, although some miles from that position. The second attack has been attempted, and has progressed thus far with a fearful loss of life to the enemy, and a considerable loss of material and fortifications to us. The loss of the whole garrison at Cole's Island, and the position, would have advanced the enemy no farther than he was at any time during the last fifteen months; and, as I have said, the chances of its defense were good. Indeed, I believe it was stronger by itself than all the lines and works which have ever been projected for the defense of Charleston, and, if held, would have forced the enemy to make either a purely land or a purely naval attack, and these separated from each other by considerable distances. We were tolerably well prepared for either. Few men answered to repel the naval attack; our advanced positions and the nature of the country would compelled the enemy to give us time for the concentration of troops to repel the other.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. RIPLEY,
ADDENDA Numbers 3. HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA,, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., September 24, 1863.
At 11 a. m., 4th instant, a meeting of officers was convened by the commanding general at this office, for the purpose of enabling him to determine how much longer he should attempt to hold the north end of Morris Island. Present: General G. T. Beauregard, commanding; Major General J. F. Gimer, second in command; Brigadier General R. S. Ripley, commanding First Military District; Brigadier General Thomas Jordan, chief of staff and acting recorder; Brigadier General Johnson Hagood; Brigadier General A. H. Colquitt; Lieutenant Colonel D. B. Harris, chief engineer of the department.
Brigadier-General Hagood and Colquitt have both recently commanded on Morris Island, and Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, who had frequently visited Morris Island during operations, and was present during the assault made by enemy on the night of July 18, in company with Major-General Gilmer had inspected the works on the night of the 3rd instant, by order of the commanding general.
The first question addressed to these officers was as follows:
1st. How long do you think Fort Wagner can be held without regard to safety of garrison?
Generals Colquitt and Hagood replied that in their belief enemy could now storm and carry parapet of Battery Wagner before our men could be gotten out of the bomb-proofs, and we would then be held at a fatal disadvantage; that if enemy should continue his approaches as now, by zigzags, up to the ditch, some eight or ten days would probably elapse before he could be expected to take work by regular approaches, but that an assault could be made successfully some days sooner, should enemy advance somewhat nearer, by constructing another parallel and thence dash forward and storm work.