The mortar batteries on morris Island are necessarily without full reliefs on account of the small force on the island. The batteries on Folly Island, which are purely defensive, are served by details from the infantry, instructed by non-commissioned officers from the artillery.
Thirty shells are thrown into Charleston daily from the Morris Island batteries, directed at different portions of the city, and a slow mortar fire at different times opened on Sumter, with a view to prevent the mounting of mortars on the terre-plein. The armament of the different works in the Northern District are in good condition, and those on Morris Island ready at a moment's notice for offensive or defensive operations. Weekly reports of all firing, changes in garrisons, bursting of guns, with full history of same, together with accounts of the firing of the rebels, are required from the chief of artillery of this district.
The different forts and batteries at Beaufort are in charge of companies of the Twenty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops, under the instruction of non-commissioned officers from the artillery. The armaments of these works are well cared for and ready for defensive purposes.
Four companies of heavy artillery are stationed at Fort Pulaski and one at Hilton Head; the latter company is now instructing the First Michigan Colored Volunteers in artillery with a view to have them severe such works in Hilton Head District which cannot be manned by the artillery.
The armaments of the works in this district are well taken care of. The details to serve as artillery from the infantry have not such opportunities for drill as I desire on account of heavy fatigue work now going on. Detachments from the artillery at Pulaski are serving on the armed transports May Flower, Thomas Foulkes, Plato, and Croton.
Fort Clinch, at Fernandina, is garrisoned by companies of the One hundred and fifty-seventh New York; the forts at saint Augustine by detachments from the Seventeenth Connecticut Volunteers; the different batteries at Jacksonville by details from the Third U. S. Colored Troops.
The departure of the Tenth Army Corps left us with infantry garrisons, many of which were wholly ignorant of their duties as artillerists; non-commissioned officers and privates from the artillery have, however, been distributed as instructors, so that the different garrisons, are in fair condition as regards drill. Copies of General Orders, Numbers 88, from War Department, relative to the care of field-works and their armaments, have been distributed to the different officers in charge of forts and batteries and provisions of the order required to be observed. The small number of artillerists now in the department renders it necessary that every available man should be on duty with his special arm, and as many are detailed as clerks, orderlies, teamsters, boatman, bakers, and attendants men from the light and heavy artillery be ordered to join their companies, and that no details from any purpose, other than in the line of their duty, be made from the artillery.
C. R. BRAYTON,
Colonel Third R. 1. Arty, Chief of Arty., Dept. of the South.