HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., August 4, 1863.
Brigadier General R. S. RIPLEY,
Commanding First Military District:
GENERAL: In a recent visit of the commanding general to Morris Island and Fort Sumter, he noticed the following matters, to which he directs me to call your attention, and desires that you carry out his views in regard thereto:
Battery Gregg is in want of many small things, such as fuse-gauges, &c., and more particularly of 9-inch shell, for which things requisitions have been made, but never filled.
At Battery Wagner, the system and order are not as they should be, especially in the ordnance department. Staff offices relieving each other do not leave a return of property in their keeping; but start off without turning over anything. This should be remedied, all officers remaining at the post until they shall have turned over all property or instructions to their successors. The general officers there have heretofore kept no book of orders to transmit to their successors.
The general wishes you to have one prepared, and sent forthwith to Morris Island, of all back orders, which, henceforth, will be regularly kept up and turned over to the commanding officer who relieves. This book he wishes an inspector to examine weekly. The battery is often short of ammunition and provisions; an ample supply of both should always be kept on hand. The general wishes ten days' provisions for 1,200 men kept constantly on hand at the post.
He thinks it advisable that you should visit Morris Island at least once or twice each week, and directs that you should visit Morris Island at least once twice each week, and directs that one of your staff officers be sent there at least as often as every other night, to report on any irregularities he may observe.
The general advises the removal of the two 8-inch columbiads from the east face of Fort Sumter, to make room for traverses, and the placing there of the 7-inch Brooke gun from the northeast salient angle, the latter gun to be replaced by the 10-inch columbiad now next it. A 42-pounder on the northeast face, near another 10-inch columbiad, should be removed to the Bee batteries, so as to allow room for the protection from Morris Island fire by traverses in rear of the two 10-inch columbiads already referred to. The 10-inch columbiad at the northwest salient should also be protected from the same direction by a traverse.
The two rifled 32-pounders, now in casemate, should be mounted at once on the south face in place of two 24-pounders, which should be sent to the city for banding and rifling.
The mortars on the gorge should be lowered to the parade, the arches being too weak to withstand the shock of heavy charges. Three only should be kept at Sumter, and the others, not already disposed of (if any), should be sent to Battery Simkins or Sullivan's Island.
The 8-inch columbiad removed from the northeast face, he wishes sent to Battery Bee or Fort Moultrie.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN F. O'BRIEN,
Major, and Assistant Adjutant-General.
17 R R-VOL XXVIII, PT II