clout. I am able to report from positive information that many of the people of Charleston exerted themselves in every way to relieve the necessities of our men, and freely, as far as their means would allow, made contributions of food and clothing. The effect, however, upon our men, as far as their military status is concerned, has been very bad, inasmuch as 389 of them have been induced to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States, and to go to work in the shops in Charleston. This is in addition to the number that I reported in my last letter as having gone to work on the fortifications of Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island.
The yellow fever is now prevailing in Charleston, but to what extent I am not informed. I have in consequence instituted a strict quarantine.
Our fire upon the city is now far more effective than ever before. Our shells reach the arsenal and the whole upper part of the city.
The general affairs of the department are in a satisfactory state. The health of the troops is improving, and it is expected will soon improve more rapidly from the effects of the coming cool weather.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., October 13, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that the affairs of this department remain in a satisfactory condition. The whole force is occupied in the defense of the positions to be guarded, in strengthening the works of defense, in erecting barracks and shelters, and in the necessary works of police to preserve the health of our troops, and to avoid contagious infection from within the enemy's lines.
I have, since the date of my last report, made an inspection of the District of Florida. I find that General Hatch has diligently applied himself to he improvement of the defenses of Jacksonville, Magnolia, Picolata, and Yellow Bluff, so that in a short time those places will be impregnable to any attack short of a siege. I directed improvements to be made in the defenses of San Augustine, by renewing, manning, and arming the covered way of Fort Marion, and also the grand moat and parapet that cuts across the peninsula. To this work I have devoted the labor of the military prisoners of the department. I have also written to General Delafield with reference to certain improvements that should be made in the plans of Fort Clinch, at Fernandina, Fla., to render it impregnable to assaults and capable of withstanding a siege.
General Hatch had just received a report from Colonel Noble, of the Seventeenth Connecticut Volunteers, who, with a small force, had gone to Enterprise to capture a body of militia of Volusia County that were to meet on the 5th. It proved a successful enterprise. Colonel Noble captured Colonel Watson, the leader, 29 men, and 40 horses, and brought them all safely in.
The reports from the other districts are satisfactory. In the Northern District the usual amount of firing between our own and