country along the River road, bordering the Pon Pon, and also the Ashepoo Neck, when I shall present a full and separate report of the matter, accompanied with sketches in sections of the district, and containing all the information necessary.
In answer to query 4, I report the engineer service under my charge as wanting in these points to follow: Number of operatives desired, 100 more negroes. Operatives are badly clad, and suffering form want of shoes. It is my opinion, that the service would be much improved by allowing assistant engineers in charge of a steady force like mine to draw clothing for and deduct it out of negroes; wages. Several owners have requested this. My tents are used up, being about one-third their original number, and those fit to e condemned. I have endeavored in vain to procure more. Supply of rope, and tackling generally, is nearly exhausted. The service is also much inconvenienced by the present scarcity here in grain and forage, in nails, in lumber, and in the difficulty in transportation of last item.
The immediate requirements of the service under my charge are: Four sets of wagon harness, two dozen club axes, and forty long-handled shovels.
The effective of the service consists in a working force not subject ot the rules applied to the monthly labor around Charleston. The force now numbers 106, three-fourths negroes who have been in the service, for the most part, form a year to eighteen months. These are well disciplined, well affected, thoroughly acquainted with the use of their tools and duties, and have never required or had a guard in their many and various exposed positions.
As yet none have absconded, and all being island and seashore negroes, prefer remaining under my charge than to retire with their owners to the interior. Their opportunities for leaving have been abundance, but, notwithstanding my superintendent does use the lash, and requires punctuality at work, they seem perfectly concerted and happy.
The service under my charge also has at its disposal the usual instruments necessary for the work of a land surveyor, and the following tools, an inventory of which I present annexed.*
* * * * *
WM. TENNENT, JR.,
Assistant Engineer in Charge, Second Military District.
CHARLESTON, S. C., December 13, 1863-10.30 a. m.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
Southwest casemates of Sumter caught fire from accidental explosion of small-arms ammunition depot; reported yesterday. Fire is out. Damage will soon be repaired. Cover for garrison still good. Enemy again fired on city, with little effect.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
*Omitted as unimportant.