8. After a careful and anxious study of the whole subject, I must respectfully, but earnestly, recommend that the defense of Fort Sumter by made in the future as in the past; that is to say, by being in readiness to meet the enemy on his first approach, thus preserving to ourselves all the moral advantage of meeting him at the threshold, and when he has gained no confidence and is laboring under all the disadvantage of confusion and uncertainty.
9. Adhering to the present method of defense, I would advise that the bomb-proofs int he fort should be arranged with loop-holes, and other conveniences for firing into the interior of the work, as it may be of advantage to us in the last extremity. But these fires should not be our dependence now. I would also advise that as far as practicable splinter-proofs should be constructed for the better protection of men kept ont he broken walls, to guard against the approach of the enemy in barges, and that the communications for ascending the walls from the interior should be made as numerous and as convenient as possible, so that the garrison can be taken quickly from the shelter to meet the enemy upon the threshold; that well arranged chevaux-de-firse be placed across all the breaches; that broken bottles and other glass be thrown upon the exterior slopes, and that mines, if practicable, be placed beneath the outer ruins for explosion at the moment of assault; also, that an appeal be made to the naval commanders to place additional picket-boats east and south of the fort, to give warning of the approach of the enemy.
10. If the enemy's fire should prevent steamers landing at the fort, by extra exertions the garrison can be supplied by row-boats, and when the water is smooth perhaps flats with sweeps might be employed.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
The letter of Colonel Rhett on this subject is herewith returned.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. GILMER,
Major-General, and Second in Command.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
OFFICE CHIEF ENGINEER DEPARTMENT,
Charleston, November 16, 1863.
GENERAL: Upon a careful consideration of the subject of the proposed bomb-proof defense of Fort Sumter, I am of the opinion that it may be resorted to with good prospect of success, whenever circumstances should render it expedient to abandon the defense from the parapet, and recommend that all the necessary preparations for such a defense be made as soon as practicable. The present mode of defense from the parapets, I think, should be adhered to until the loss of life on the parapets, or our inability to maintain bomb-proof cover for the requisite garrison and working force for such a defense should render a resort to the bomb-proof defense advisable.
I have the honor to be, general, yours, very respectfully,
D. B. HARRIS,
Colonel, and Chief Engineer Department.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,