HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., June 28, 1864.
Captain T. A. P. CHAPLIN,
Chief Com. of Sub., Dept. of the South, Hilton Head, S. C.:
CAPTAIN: I am instructed by the major-general commanding to direct that you have ten days' rations in bulk, on requisition of the officer in charge of the troops on the transports, put on the several transports of the expedition now being prepared. Brigadier-General Hatch will give you the numbers of the boats, &c.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. M. BURGER,
HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Folly Island, S. C., June 28, 1864.
Major General J. G. FOSTER,
Commanding Department of the South:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of two letters marked "private and confidential," and handed to me by members of your staff. The letter dated june 18 orders me to hold my command in readiness, &c. This order has been complied with, except as regards the bags for salt, coffee, and sugar. My quartermaster has not been able to have them manufactured here, and has, as he reports, made arrangements for them at Hilton Head. I would like to be informed whether shelter-tents should be taken or left behind. In answer to the letter dated June 24, I have most respectfully to state that the annexed reports (marine, row-boat, and land transportation) were already prepared but required correction up to the present date. I have ordered all the ship-carpenters' tools to Hilton Head. In regard to future operations I have conversed fully on the subject with Lieutenant Suter, of your staff.
The reconnaissance over the marshes between James and Morris Islands has furnished the result that for an attacking column the dry ground along the outskirts of the marsh cannot be used, because it is not continuous, but that a communication may easily be established between James and Morris Islands after parts of James Island are taken. The operation on Mount Pleasant I always have and do now consider most promising and to be attained with the least loss of life. It presupposes, however, a decisive move on the part of the fleet and the destruction of the enemy's iron-clads. The co-operation of the fleet in such a decisive manner seems, however, to be out of the question for the present.
The next best operation I have fully discussed with Lieutenant Suter. It is more decisive than the former, equally promising, does not require the co-operation of the fleet to any extent, but requires hard work for our infantry, perhaps heavy losses, and presupposes the enemy without any reserve in Charleston, and unable to bring up a sufficient number of troops from other p laces within a few days. The enemy is at present without a reserve at Charleston, and should he consider Charleston an object of such considerably, and should our advance by some reason or accident prove too slow, so as to give the enemy time to repel our attack with these re-enforcements, we will have solved the great problem of weakening the enemy's main armies at the present crisis, notwithstanding our failure in the main