attack us when we could not have a sufficient force of infantry on Morris Island to effectually resist them."
This incidental allusion to the insufficiency of our force-which, without imputing it to any one as a fault, I really did not suppose would admit of dispute-you say " compels you in self-defense to advert to the true cause of the lodgment made by the enemy on Morris Island," which you proceed to say, was, according to your conception, "the want of adequate works of defense at the lowered of the islam, known long to be the external gate of the city, and the establishment by the enemy, without the knowledge of the military authorities, of powerful land batteries on Folly Island, screened and concealed, until fully prepared to open upon us with all the effect a surprise, by the woods which had been allowed to remain unfilled on that island."
In my mind there are several misconceptions contained in this passage calculated to do injustice to General Beauregard, with whom my relations are such as to enable me always thoroughly to inform myself of his objects, plans, resources, and embarrassments. In the opinion of the general, James Island has always been of primary, while Morris Island has been of secondary, importance. The possession of James Island by the enemy would be virtually the possession of Charleston. The possession of Morris Island is but a distant step to that end. In truth, this opinion was shared by both his predecessors in command, General Lee na General Pemberton, both of whom addressed themselves almost exclusively to the defense of James Island and paid but little attention to the defense of Morris Island. Doubtless "adequate works of defense at the lower end" of the latter island would have added much to our other defenses. That they were desiderated by General Beauregard is shown by the long continued efforts which he persistently made to procure the labor, the armament, and the garrison necessary for such works. Unfortunately they could not be had in time or in sufficient quantity.
The action of our State Legislature, I am sorry to say, was not what it should have been in the way of furnishing labor, and no one knows better than myself how impossible it was for the ordnance officer (with every effort and disposition, I believe, to aid us to the full extent of his authority) to furnish us with guns even nearly equal to the number called for by General Pemberton's requisitions, which requisition were based upon the wants of less numerous and less effective works than those conceived and planned by General Beauregard. I believe everything was done in the way of fortifying Morris Island that our resources in labor, troops, and ordnance permitted.
I do not think we can be said to have been surprised, for there had been daily reconnaissances and examinations, and the general had made the best disposition in his power of the means at his command to resist a landing at Morris Island. As to the enemy's land batteries, whatever newspaper correspondents of norther papers may say, they were not batteries of heavy siege guns, in elaborate works, requiring much time and labor to construct, but were composed of 30-pounder Parrotts and field pieces, the former of which (though formidable as against our shorter range and less accurate cannon) were easily and rapidly placed in position, on quickly extemporized platform, behind the crest of the numerous sand-hills that cover all these islands, and which, by the way, would have as effectually concealed the intentions of the enemy as any woods on Folly Island,