of the southern end of Morris Island, and the communication of that island with James Island, was dilatory in the extreme. In that communication, one cause of the non-preparation to meet an attack, sooner or later to be apprehended from that direction, was stated to be, in my opinion, the carelessness and inattention of engineer officers. Efforts were made to supply their deficiencies, but these brought about complains from the chief engineer and others, and the matter was referred to an inspector-general, the character of whose invetogation was demonstrated by the looseness of his remarks and the fallacy of his official predictions. I allude, to exemplify this, to his statement of the transportation in the service of the Engineers, and his predictions that the communication between James and Morris Islands would be established in two weeks from the date of his report. Three weeks after, it was not half finished, and hardly a bridge over a single creek was passable. I answering a letter which I had the honor to receive some time later, from the commanding general, containing thirty-one interrogations, some of which related to this subject in this way: "Why were not they (the works alluded to) completed?" and "Was it not from the want of labor, &c.?" I had the honor to refer to the correspondence as containing some of the reasons.
The matter had, however, been so completely taken from any hands, and from other commanders, by the decision of the general commanding, that I could then see no immediate good effect to be derived from repeating what was in that correspondence so explicitly stated. As the responsibility of the failure did not attach to me, I referred to that correspondence, and, with the statement that it was entirely in the hands of the engineers, who alleged that they had not labor sufficient, left the matter for the time.
It was to have been hoped that when the labor was furnished, an efficient use would have been made of it, and it is not urged that some progress to repair disasters and guard against new ones has not been made. Energy has been displayed at different times by different officers of the Engineers in a high degree, but it is a fact, that at almost every time the offensive operations of the enemy have ceased, wholly or in part, the fortifications in charge of that department have progressed slowly in the extreme. This negligence and want of vigor have entailed disaster, and although the stubborn valor of the troops, the natural and other obstacles in the way of the enemy, and the spasmodic activity on the part of the Engineers and other staff departments, have retarded hostile progress, yet it cannot be allowed fully to atone for the failure to use those means which, if employed in time, would have secured immunity or success.
Instances of dilatory action on the part of the Engineers, during the period succeeding the evacuation how Batteries Wagner and Gregg, can be found in the four or five weeks' delay, deliberating on the shield for the renewed batteries of Fort Sumter; in the insufficient supply of material for the construction of the bomb-proofs, simple as they are, there required; in the slow progress of the works on Sullivan's and James Island; in the faulty disposition and slow progress of the works of defense at battery Marshall - a work in the same relative position to Sulivan's that the south end was to morris Island, and the loss of which will entail similar but greater disasters.
As for waste of labor, reference can be had to the gangs negroes which, some time ago, were days in the streets of Charleston