the only channel there is at present for navigation, and the only way we have left for ascending the river for that purpose, now that Gum Swamp is impassable from the low stage of the water courses, unless you should have determined to again open the channel of the main river; for we believe, and, indeed, know, that its obstruction was and is a useless work, so far as intending to obstruct the passage of the enemy's gunboats; for the fact is, that they have not been able to force their lightest draught boats over a mud-flat obstruction formed by the tides and currents of the river and bay below Aplachicola.
We hope and trust that with these representations of facts, you will still allow that very difficult and at present dangerous channel, though the only one now, to be left open for the purpose of our obtaining corn and meal for our support; and for which purpose we are now up the river, with four sloop boats, to obtain for the immediate necessities of its starving citizens, now in imminent danger of that calamity. We desire that the privilege may be allowed us, at least, of obtaining these and other necessary supplies from the up country, and that we may not be forced to extreme measures in our distress.
Your attention immediately to this will greatly favor the many sufferers at Apalachicola, and your obedient,
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., October 4, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: In consultation with General Beauregard as to the efficiency of our preparations for the defense of Charleston, and especially for the defense of the harbor, it became manifest that a portion of the guns now afloat could be used more effectively and with grater safety if placed in batteries ashore.
With the concurrence of the commanding general, I hasten today the question before you, and to ask you to make application to the honorable Secretary of the Navy for authority to transfer five of the guns forming the armament of the three gunboats in this harbor, to land batteries already built or to be constructed along the shore commanding thinner harbor and the entrances to Cooper and Ashley Rivers, the batteries armed by the naval guns to be commanded by naval officers and seamen.
The constructions of the gunboats in this harbor is such that the guns have a limited elevation, reducing the range in the most favorable instance to 1 1/2 miles, and generally to a mile or a mile and a quarter.
In the opinion of intelligent naval officers on this station, the enemy will approach to a point just outside of our ranges, and, with their heavy shots, break in the inclined surfaces of the gunboats, and thus render good guns unserviceable.
On shore, thorough protection can be given by heavy parapets of earth supported by traverses on flank and rear, and by sandbag merlons, changeable in position and form as circumstances may demand.
Another cause of weakness in the gunboats is the want of sufficient