sentries on the eastern beach as low down as the Beacon House, where a constant guard is maintained dy and night. In addition to this the boat infantry, in thirteen picket-boats, sentinel the harbor of Charleston every night. With this precaution it seems impossible for an enemy to approach without or getting notice ion time to prepare to repel him. I believe the night duty, both on land and water, to be performed with commendable vigilance. The picket-boats are also stationed between Black Island and Secessionville, and there is one on duty every night in the creek 500 yards in advance of the Swamp Angel, toward Battery Simkins, on James Island.
Besides the ordinary camp and provost marshal's guards, I maintain a post guard of sufficient strength to guard public property and maintain order outside of the camps. I have instituted the practice of compelling the quartermaster to turn out all his public transportation, including carts, wagons, horses, and mules, on Sunday morning for inspection, which I think has a beneficial effect and will insure greater care of this description of public property.
I should have mentioned at the proper place that the Swamp Angel was dismantled during the month of March and the two 10-inch mortars in position there were removed. The ordnance officer is now engaged removing the pieces of the 200-pounder Parrott which burst in that battery during the bombardment last summer.
We had but one gun to burst in March, the 30-pounder Parrott at Putnam, which was used to fire upon Charleston. It "gave up the ghost" at the 4,615th round, a remarkable number of shots to be fired from a single piece of ordnance.
In obedience to orders from your headquarters, I have caused rations to be stored in the bomb-proofs at Strong and Putnam and under cover in Fort Shaw. A part of te small ammunition has been delivered at each place and the balance shall be put in as soon as it shall have arrived from Hilton Head.
I have not been able to procure casks for water at these forts, but have caused wells to be dug which probably can be made to answer the purpose. For a considerable time there has been great irregularity in the delivery of wood from Small Island and sometimes the troops have had none to cook with, and I was compelled to draw from the quantity I had stored away in Fort Strong. I would suggest that the steamboat Philadelphia be detailed, if practicable, to transport wood, as it is the best adapted to that purpose.
From some deserters who reached the fleet two weeks ago, and whom the commodore was kind enough to send to me for examination, I learn some information about Mount Pleasant which is not unimportant. Mount Pleasant is a long, narrow peninsula, with the Wando River on the one side and the narrow water-courses which run around behind Moultrie on the other, and is several miles in length. The only troops on it are two light batteries, stationed at the lower point, near the village, close to timber.
About 7 miles up the peninsula is a low breast-work thrown up across from water to water, with a small battery on the right, but there are no guns mounted nor is any force stationed there except a small picket in the battery. from that point all the way down to mount Pleasant village there is a good road, but no pickets or guards on it. These parties took a boat a few hundred yards above this battery, and, following the water-courses, came out through the inlet to the east of Dewees without being challenged by either pickets on the