HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Morris Island, S. C., September 27, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the affairs of this district remain much as at the date of my last report. The enemy seems to be busily engaged strengthening his defensive works and mounting new guns. His sharpshooters continue to annoy my working parties from Fort Sumter. With this exception, he has made no demonstration upon my lines. His sharpshooters are very industrious,and retard my work somewhat. I keep up a steady and effective fire upon the city from my 100-pounder and 200-pounder Parrotts.
The 200-pounder now in use is by far the most effective gun ever brought to bear upon the city. I think it is very destructive, as nearly the entire city can be covered by its fire. I am anxious to experiment with a 300-pounder upon the city. If there is another one in the department or one can be procured, I hope it will be forwarded to me for this purpose. I think we should have more and heavier guns mounted than the enemy. At present we have not, and he has a terrible cross-fire upon Gregg, which he will be sure to use to our injury if we are not prepared for it.
A large fire,probably caused by our shells, broke out in Charleston on the 17th instant at 2 p.m. and burned fiercely for several hours, causing great excitement in the city. Last evening my signal officer intercepted the inclosed dispatch from the rebel General Ripley. The first part of the dispatch my officer did not get. I sent a copy of the dispatch to the admiral of the fleet. Believing that the enemy intended to attack Fort Putnam, I made my dispositions accordingly to give him a warm reception, but the night being stormy he did not appear. From the long silence of all his batteries I infer that the enemy intends to attack soon. I shall endeavor to be ready. I have,however, to work my force severely. The deficiency in my ordnance supplies has not yet been filled. I hope they will be hurried up.
The prisoners are all safe and well guarded. They have made two unsuccessful attempts at tunneling out, and 6 tried to escape from the schooner on which I had embarked them for a change of air. There is a great deal of sickness among them; 1 has died. I think the sickness is the result of a want of proper food.
The work on the forts is progressing, but slowly. I am not satisfied with the progress made, but in saying this I do not wish to be understood as censuring any one. Lieutenant Edwards, the engineer in charge, is diligent and faithful. Want of transportation and materials is the great cause of delay. I need thirty-six mule teams immediately, in addition to what I now have,to do the work of this post. I trust the general commanding will have them sent. I also need a large-sized field telescope for observing the movements of the enemy. General Gillmore had one while he commanded the department. If it is not now in the department, I respectfully request that the chief quartermaster be ordered to purchase one in New York.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain W. L. M. BURGER,
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