HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEOROGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., July 23, 1863.
D. B. HARRIS,
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief Engineer:
COLONEL: Whenever another balloon reconnaissance is made, the commanding general desires that some officer shall make the ascension who also knows the country to be reconnoitered; some engineer officer, if one can be found.
The western point or part of Long Island should be cleared of trees and brush, as far back from Battery Marshall as 2 miles, as soon as it can be done.
Battery Marshall should be arranged, as soon as practicable, with embrasures and platforms for at least six guns on siege carriages, the positions of which you will determine after a conference with the chief of artillery and the commandant of the battery, unless the district commander can visit the battery with you and decide the question. The guns will be 24-pounder (rifled) pieces and 30-pounder Parrotts, if they can be obtained.
No journals of operations have yet been received at these headquarters from engineer officers.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT,
Charleston, July 23, 1863.
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN, Chief of Staff, & c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit in writing, to the consideration of the general commanding the department, a matter which I mentioned to him informally this afternoon. I understood at the time that the project did not meet his approval. But having carefully considered it, and having mentioned it to several persons having nautical experience, I respectfully beg to suggest it for consideration, although I do not doubt that a speedy approval would have been a strong assistance to its success.
The idea is simply to send a fire-ship into the fleet now lying in the bight formed by the main ship-channel, its terminus being the ship-channel bar at ebb tide. The enemy's fleet are generally lying in a crowd of vessels, from the front of Battery Wagner to the bar, the frigate Ironsides and the monitors being in the front.
Transports, gunboats, and store vessels, to the number of twenty, or more, are in their rear. Stores are sent to the shore, re-enforcements disembarked, and all the most important preparations for reducing our fortifications go on under our sight, and no operation can apparently be had to prevent or interfere with them. The torpedoes attached to the various steamers are not used in these our first trials. The iron-clad steamers, it appears, cannot interfere, and our deserted outpost is standing the whole brunt of the Abolition attack, without, as it appears, our being able to do anything except support our men at that particular point. Could the effort be made by the torpedoes, it might promise some assistance in alarming and getting rid of the enemy's iron-clads, allowing us to sweep the beach and the enemy's approaches. But I fear such an attempt will not be made; and believing that a steam fire-ship, loaded with powder, has a chance of doing some damage to the enemy at least, I am anxious