The prisoners of war on Morris Island are now thought to be perfectly secure from any danger of escape or rescue; decided orders have been given in view of any attempt of the kind. The rebels, in firing on Morris Island, do not endeavor to avoid this camp, and although the shot and shell fall all around no one has as yet received any injury. The prisoners seem to be perfectly contented with their lot. They receive the same treatment and rations as our prisoners now in Charleston.
The health of the department remains about the same. A number of the sick have been sent North, under charge of the medical director, they being in such a condition that a recovery in this climate was uncertain.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, October 4, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that nothing of importance has occurred in this department since the date of my last report. In the Northern District the usual firing on the city has been kept up. Sharp firing has at time taken place between our batteries and the enemy's batteries on James and Sullivan's Islands. Sufficient fire is kept up to interfere with the landing of supplies at their wharf, situated on the left flank. The work upon the repairs and enlargement of the front batteries on Cumming's Point is pushed as vigorously as the force will admit. I am surrounding these batteries by a new and strong palisading in the place of the old and flimsy one, so as to effectually secure them against a surprise attack of the enemy in boats. Proper arrangements for close defense and flanking of these batteries are also being made.
Brigadier General E. P. Scammon, having arrived and reported for duty, has been assigned to the command of this district, General Saxton returning to the Beaufort District.
The condition of the rebel prisoners in the stockade on Morris Island is generally good. Some of them are sickening on their scant fare, and 1 has died. I have not yet allowed the 6 rebel officers to take the oath of allegiance, as authorized by the honorable Secretary of War. I am not satisfied that they are worthy of that favor. They seem to b the most worthless and unreliable fellows in the whole lot. If I had known this at the time of forwarding their application I should have disapproved it. The prisoners have made several feeble and ineffectual attempts to escape by tunneling, &c., but against all such attempts on the part of the prisoners or of their friends to rescue them the precautions taken seem to be adequate. I permit the prisoners to receive private stores from their friends in the precise proportion of the stores actually delivered to our officers, prisoners in Charleston. I hear that the private contributions sent to our privates, now prisoners, were of great service, the condition of our men being deplorable. Many of them were naked; many had only a blouse or shirt to cover their nakedness; and still many that had only some rags tied about the middle to serve as a breech