HEADQUARTERS CHIEF OF ARTILLERY,
James Island, August 8, 1863.
Brigadier General WILLIAM B. TALIAFERRO, Commanding, James Island:
GENERAL: Having inspected Fort Pemberton, by your direction, with a view to improve the disposition of its armament, I have the honor to recommend, in connection with that work:
First. That the whole of the left flank battery be abandoned, and as much of its traverses and epaulement razed as interferes with the fire of the fort in a southeasterly direction or main-land approach. If a single gun be left in it, the enemy, emerging in column from the angle of opposite roads, could make at once for this battery, which has not gun which could bear on him, and which would afford him almost perfect cover after taking it; a few sharpshooters from behind its traverses could shoot down the gunners in the fort, when the column, leaping into the ditch, could easily storm it. This work removed, and its smooth-bores placed in the fort (of which two have already been ordered), and the clump of threes behind it cut down, there would be no impediment to the fire of a majority of the guns in the fort being concentrated upon an advancing foe; the garrison, besides, could be held together in the fort, and, therefore, more easily and readily handled.
Second. As to the disposition of the four guns of this battery, two smooth-bore 32-pounders have already been ordered to east curtain. I recommend that the remaining, or this, smooth-bore 32 be placed in the southeast bastion, sweeping ditch and commanding land approach. The rifled and banded 32 of this left flank battery, I recommend be put on Water (or right flank) Battery, bearing on the channel, instead of a smooth-bore 32-pounder on west curtain, opposite the obstruction, I would recommend one to be put on northeast bastion, near the flag-staff. Merlons and a traverse are desirable, to protect the guns on east curtain from an enfilanding fire from below on the StoNumbers By this arrangement the guns bearing upon the land approach will be one 10-inch columbiad, one 8-inch columbiad, five 32-pounders, and one 8-inch sea-coast howitzer, with a field of fire and exception from a coup de main by land not to be had at present.
Third. I respectfully recommend that the woods nearest the fort and redoubts be cut down for several hundred yards, and that they be further cut down when thus removed from the fort and in the direction of the western lines, leaving but a belt between said lines and the Stono, for the sole purpose of screening the former from view from gunboats.
Fourth. That in order to prevent what is now of easy accomplishment, to wit, the taking of Fort Pemberton by floating barges with the flood-tide on a dark night and landing a few hundred men in its rear, a hulk, with a guard of marines and a squad of artillerists, be anchored above the obstructions, mounting one of the artillerists, be anchored above the obstruction, mounting one of the 42-pounder carronades now at the arsenal. Some sections of the old harbor obstructions, or of the rope obstruction, could be anchored below this craft, the more certainly to impede approach and to prevent torpedoes from floating up, should it be at any time deemed desirable to float them down upon the enemy's fleet.