War of the Rebellion: Serial 066 Page 0146 S. C., FLA., AND ON THE GA. COAST. Chapter XLVII.

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Hilton Head, S. C., June 22, 1864.

Rear-Admiral J. A. DAHLGREN,

Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron:

ADMIRAL: In your communication of the 13th instant you suggest that a battery be constructed on the south end of Hilton Head Island, and offer to furnish two or three 9-inch guns for its armament. I should be glad to avail myself of your offer, and will at once built a proper work there for two 9-inch guns and two light guns, provided you can furnish me with the ammunition for the heavy guns. I should like to have you account for this ammunition as expended, if possible; otherwise the ordnance officer who receipts for it will have to refer his papers to the Ordnance Department in Washington, who object to make application there for the transfer of ordnance and ordnance stores from one department of the service to the other.


Major-General, Commanding.


Hilton Head, S. C., June 23, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I shall be ready to commence operations in about one week, with a force of 5,000 men, which is all that can be collected of the reliable men. I propose, first, to destroy the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, and then to make a sudden attack, either upon some of the defense of Charleston of Savannah. If I fail in one I will try the other. I have been collecting information and find that the chances are in favor of our success. The most tempting movement is to pass through Dewees of Price's Inlet in light-draught steamers and boats, and land in boats at Fuller's (C. S. signal). Then marching rapidly, I could surprise the intrenchments and take the Mount Pleasant and Hobcaw Points. The admiral wanted me to do it, but I saw that the risk was all on my part and very great. I therefore declined unless the iron-clads would run up to the city and into the Wando River to prevent the whole rebel force being thrown across that river to attack men in flank. I agreed to supply coal to the iron-clads across the peninsula. Admiral Dahlgren thought it too risky for the iron-clads and declined. If I had 10,000 men I could make this move with safety, and obtain the command of the harbor and the capture of the garrison and arms on Sullivan's Island. I am astonished that General Gillmore did not attempt this movement, which, with his force, would have been almost certain of success. I am making pontoon-boats for landing men as rapidly as possible. I am also making torpedo catchers to fit to the bows of our small light-draught gun-boats to detect the torpedoes with which the rebels have filled their rivers and creeks.

Our great want is light-draught boats fitted to convey men, guns, and horses into shoal water, and to land them quickly. The Wiard boats built for me in North Carolina, and upon my plans, are just the things. With five or six of them and their armament and launches, and a good regiment like Howard's, of which one-half are seamen, I should be fitted for active work. I would be willing to exchange two or three regiments of our best infantry for the above.