the island at that time there was not a man too many to give us the chances of success if heavily attacked. No attack, however, was made.
Anticipating a contingency which has occurred, viz, the reduction of our present strength to about one-half what it then was, I looked tot he progress of our fortification, the only means by which, in a fixed position open to observation, economy of men can be effected. So long as a large force is in this vicinity, with the works as they were on the 8th of November, so long will they remain unattacked or be defended with a probability of success. But the enemy command the sea, can observe our strength to a certain extent, can concentrate in a fractional portion of the time required for us to do likewise, and, in consequence, the works being in such state as to require large personal support, by operating on other points, have had, and do now possess, the power to force us to neglect their attack in other directions or place the last remaining exterior sea defense of this city in jeopardy by the withdrawal of our troops to meet an attack at a point whence our enemy can return in forty-eight hours and we in not less than from eight days to two weeks. This dilemma can be avoided by preparing the works on Sullivan's Island so as to render them impregnable against a coup de main, and we should then be able to release surplus infantry from duty at that point for a period after an attack had been commenced, if, indeed, our preparation did not cause the enemy to forego his inclination altogether.
To judge from previous operations, the mechanical resources and character of our adversary, his immense advantages in transportation and command of the sea, the most probable method of attack would be by siege and naval operations; that was the method adopted to reduce Morris Island, and was successful so far as that point was concerned. The success has given advantages to the enemy, although dearly bought. I considered it out of the question for us to defend Long Island, or any point northeast of Sullivan's Island amongst the islands; the most we can do there is to be in observation and to secure some intelligence of the enemy's approach. If in sufficient force of men, material, and transport, he can land on Long Island at Dewees Inlet, and within a few days, say from four to five, establish his batteries within 1,000 or 1,200 yards from Battery Marshall, from which time our defensive labors must be to a great extent interrupted.
This attack would probably be supported against Battery Marshall by iron-clads and vessels firing whenever convenient from the sea directly in enfilade, and particularly in reverse, other iron-clads silencing and destroying the detached two-gun batteries on the island, and sweeping all approaches to the work not protected by sand hills. Batteries on Morris Island and iron-clads would give employment to our defenses from Beauregard west, and endeavor to cut off communication by the bridge from Mount Pleasant. The only other communication with Sullivan's Island being from Kinloch's Landing, would be interfered with by long-range batteries from Long Island.
I do not mean to say that our communication would be stopped, but they would be rendered hazardous and uncertain except by night, and especially difficult in the transportation of heavy material. A siege by direct and vertical fire from land and sea, sufficiently sustained to silence our batteries and to render communication difficult,