Second. The character of these heavy rifled guns suits them better for close fire upon iron-clads or distant fire upon wooden vessels than for dismounting land guns and annoying working parties. For the latter, the columbiads are far preferable, and for dismounting guns, a smaller rifled gun more desirable.
Third. With shell guns the fire is more rapid, more annoying and destructive, and the ammunition for them can be much more easily and readily supplied. They will also answer better for general purposes against land attacks, flank attacks, barges, & c.
In view of the above, I would respectfully suggest that the south face of Fort Sumter be lined with 8 and 10-inch columbiads, and that the heavy rifled guns be used on the water faces, in accordance with the above; their fire against iron-clads would be slow, as required for accuracy and for the preservation of the guns, and the saving of ammunition, so difficult to procure.
I would also recommend that an inclosed work be ordered at Fort Johnson, mounting heavy guns, to be removed from another point; and the armament of which could be made to bear upon the channel, upon Morris Island, and upon the land approach upon the lines.* Should the enemy pass the latter on the eastern half of James Island, this fort, in conjunction with Battery Means (which should be armed as far as practicable+), would hold him in check; they would become bases for reassuming, in any event, offensive operations.
I have necessarily written this in haste, but hope that the main points are made sufficiently clear for the decision of the commanding general.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
AMBROSIO JOSE GONZALES,
Colonel, and Chief of Artillery.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT,
Charleston, August 2, 1863.
The principal point in the recommendation of the chief of artillery appears to be removing the Brooke and rifled guns from Fort Sumter. The removal of heavy guns from that fort has proceeded, under the directions of the commanding general, quite as rapidly as they could be placed and provided for. Meantime the rifled guns, with proper projectiles, are better for shelling at long range, than smooth-bores, and can be fired quite as fast as is consistent with proper aim. Moreover, should Morris Island fall, Sumter becomes the salient point of our defense, and, as it must hold out and repulse the enemy, too great a reduction of its offensive armament is deemed unadvisable.
A 10-inch columbiad, for channel purposes, I believe to be as good as the 7-inch Brooke. The range of the latter in shelling makes it advantageous where it is. Another reason why the heavy and reliable guns ought not to be taken from Sumter too indiscriminately is the moral effect on the garrison, which is expected to do the hardest work of the struggle, if continued.
R. S. RIPLEY,
* The chief of artillery has already been informed that such has been my intention for nearly a year, to be carried into effect whenever practicable. - G. T. B.
+ There are no guns for this. - G. T. B.