concealed yesterday; three tugs and fifteen sailing vessels inside; four blockaders, one tug and one schooner outside, and twenty vessels and steamers in Light-House Inlet. Discrepancies in morning reports may arise from changes in the grouping of the vessels. In some cases an accurate estimate is very difficult. One and sometimes two monitors come up on picket duty at night within 1,400 yards of the fort. No perceptible change on Morris Island.
Captain Johnston reported for duty last night.
December 25.-I have the honor to report the Ironsides, four monitors, three wooden gunboats, two mortar-boats, one tug, and fourteen sailing vessels inside this morning. Four blockaders and eighteen vessels in Light-House Inlet. Heavy firing daylight and several hours afterward in direction on Stono.
Detachment of 6 officers, 100 men, from Sixth, Twenty-third, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-eight Georgia Regiments, under Captain Morse [?], relieved Captain [W. H.] Douglas, 6 officers, and 100 men, from Sixth, Twenty-third, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-eight Georgia Regiments.
The accidental explosion of an old shell wounded Privates Theodore I caul and Joseph Lee, Company K, First South Carolina Artillery, slightly.
December 26.-At 12 yesterday at the signal of a steam whistle from the fleet and a gun from the direction of Light-House Inlet, the enemy raised a flag on the middle battery. It may be a significant fact that at the first attempt the bunting went up union down.
December 27.-The embrasure formerly occupied by the 10-inch columbiad at Gregg is closed up. The large Parrotts the only heavy gun bearing open us from that point; its embrasure is so extended as to embrace a very field of fire.
No working parties have been observed on Morris Island during the last few days.
December 28.-I have been unable to make a correct estimation of the fleet this morning.
Observation yesterday showed only one light gun at Gregg bearing on this point, where there were four previously.
Captain King, with 41 men, Company D, First South Carolina Artillery, relieved Captain Gaillard, Company K (35 men), last night.
There was a good deal of signaling last night between the fleet and Morris Island.
December 30.-The embrasure at the 10-inch columbiad at Gregg is being reopened.
Captain Hammond, 6 officers, and 100 men, from Twenty-fifth South Carolina Volunteers, relieved Captain Chisolm and force from Twenty-seventh South Carolina Volunteers last night.
I have the honor to call your attention to the fact that the proposed iron shield for the casemate battery has not been supplied.
I am led to the subject by the that preparations are on foot for mounting guns in another part of the work. The mounting of these last guns implies capacity of resistance to naval ordnance on the part of our walls.
Observation has shown that the effect of the heavy rifled guns of the monitors is disastrous to our brick walls.
While the power of the fort to withstand the recent bombardment was yet a problem to be solved, I refrained from pressing the subject, but that being now established, I beg leave most urgently to recommend