HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., September 5, 1863.
Brigadier General R. S. RIPLEY,
Commanding First Military District:
GENERAL: The commanding general desires you to give the commanding officer on Morris Island definite instructions for bursting all guns in Batteries Gregg and Wagner, damaging their carriages, blowing up the magazine, &c., whenever it may become necessary to evacuate those works.
You will also please give full instructions for conducting the evacuation with system and order; these instructions to be communicated confidentially only to the chiefs of engineers and ordnance, on the island, and to be transmitted regularly to their successors, with accurate information as to what has been done toward carrying them out, with such suggestion as they may have to make.
The general also directs that linstocks be furnished Wagner and Sumter, for service in using hand-grenades, and wishes to know whether the fire-balls or fire-ropes and hand-grenades already ordered have yet been furnished those two works.
He further wishes you, through the commanding officers ot those posts, to offer a fair price per pound to soldiers and negroes at Greg, Wagner, and Sumter for all balls, shells, old iron, &c., which they may collect at points to be designated by said commanding officers. The price to be offered may be easily ascertained through your ordnance officer.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN F. O'BRIEN,
Major, and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS LIGHT ARTILLERY,
James Island, September 5, 1863.
Captain GEORGE A. MERCER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, &c., Savannah, Ga.:
CAPTAIN: Unavoidable engagements have prevented my submitting, for the consideration of the brigadier-general commanding, at an earlier moment a report of experiments lately performed with the incendiary shell, presented and prepared by Dr. J. R. Cheves.
Those experiments were had upon the ground recently used by the light batteries, stationed at White Bluff, as a parade ground, near the White Bluff Church, distant some 6 1\2 miles from the city of Savannah. They were performed just after a heavy shower of rain, when every tree and blade of grass was thoroughly wet. The shells presented and used were 6 in number, and consisted of the ordinary 12-pounder shell, the only modification consisting in an enlargement of the hole and the cutting of screw threads, to receive the plug. A thin metallic tube contains the bursting charge, and this is attached to a brass screw-plug, which is bored in the center to receive the ordinary time-fuse. The shells had been filled as follows: Having been placed under warm water, they were filled with lump phoshourus, which, under those circumstances, immediately melts. They were thereupon transferred to cold water, and, upon the hardening of the phosphorus in each shell a cavity was bored out sufficiently large to receive the metallic tube, and also to admit of a them stratum of