If the force was large enough to run the risk I could land in the rear of Mount Pleasant, and take that place, but the position cannot be held unless the force be large enough to guard its flanks from troops thrown over from Charleston or collected and thrown into its rear by crossing the Wando higher up, or unless the iron-clads be moved into Wando River to holt it. I have proposed this last operation to the admiral, but I do not think he will undertake it at present. This force is much weakened. In addition to the departure of the New Ironsides, one or two monitors are undergoing repairs. Several gun-boats are away for the some purpose; the Water Witch is captured, and one or two boats destroyed in Florida. This has forced the admiral to withdraw his vessels from the inside blockade of the waters between Fort Pulaski and Fernandina until his force of vessels is increased.
I inclose a file of rebel papers.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully and truly,
J. G. FOSTER,
HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Folly Island, S. C., June 15, 1864.
Captain W. L. M. BURGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that yesterday evening I received, by flag of truce, a letter from General Jones to the major-general commanding department, a letter from General Ripley to myself, which I respectfully annex, and several private letters by the same means. My only answer to General Ripley, until orders from the major-general commanding are received, and been and will be a continuation of the usual fire on the city, with a constant change of direction, to avoid, if possible, the design of the enemy to bring their prisoners under our fire.
The fire who received the flag of truce reports to me that the Confederate officers, in order to get an immediate answer, stated they would wait, knowing General Foster to be present in the district.
Charleston must be considered a place "of arms." It contains a large arsenal, military foundries, &c., and has already furnished resources. In reference to the women and children of the bombarded city, I therefore can only say the same situation occurs wherever a weak and strong party are at war, and the practice of exposing prisoners of war to the fire of the attacking force is as old as the fact that weak and wicked parties must fall under the blows of justice. I may be allowed here to state that the act which the enemy has now committed he has threatened ever since the first shell exploded in the city, over nine months ago, and it is therefore fair to suppose some special reason now exists for the fulfillment of his threat, although I can find no reason other than his desperate situation. In my opinion the endeavor of the enemy to force us to give up the bombardment should be that reason for its continuation. At the same time, as a means to force him to give up his barbarous practices, the simple fact of retaliation can be made effectual, as I have as many places where his shells fall as he has in Charleston where mine fall. I also think that the United States can furnish as