while the westward batteries are employed, followed by a vigorous attack in the present condition of the works, would probably be successful, especially if made at all points and the enemy chose to sacrifice a few light-draught steamers, which could be easily beached with each from 500 to 1,000 men on board. Of course the cost of success and length of time required would depend upon our efforts and the strength of our force. The last we must expect to be at a minimum, as our people may be withdrawn to strengthen armies in the field. Once on Sullivan's Island, the topography is such that, protected on the left flank by a powerful navy, the enemy can advance his works and establish batteries within 1,000 yards of Battery Beauregard, which then, with Rutledge and others, is taken in reserve. Our only communication with the island would be by the brigade, which would probably be pretty well cut up by that time, and small boats uncertain.
The western batteries, Fort Moultrie included, powerful as they are, are only formidable against a sea attack and could stand a well-supported siege for a time only in direct comparison to the expenditure of men upon the defense. Another method of attack, and which in the present condition of the works and the strength of the garrisons is in my opinion most immediately dangerous, is a coup de main an hour or two before dawn, made at different points on the fort beach from Marshall west to Beauregard. A flotilla to carry from 4,000 to 6,000 men could readily be prepared out of our sight, towed to within a comparatively short distance, and the whole force be precipitated on the unguarded or weakly defended positions of the island, and the unfinished or defective works, with open gorges, be carried by vigorous assault in overwhelming numbers. Lodgment once made, protected by the navy, siege operations against such positions of the western or eastern batteries as were not carried could be commenced immediately from different points and prosecuted with similar results to those to be apprehended if the attack be made form the commencement by regular siege. I do not think it probable that the enemy will endeavor to run by, leaving Sullivan's Island in rear of his fleet, although it may happen, nor do I consider it certain that the attack will be made very speedily. But we are continually in danger unless we have stronger forces than the probabilities will warrant us in anticipating to meet it. The methods suggested may not be those which the enemy may adopt so soon as he is in readiness or an opportunity is given by a possible reverse to our arms elsewhere for him to employ large forces and material at his disposal, but something of the nature, or both combined, it seems to me is to be apprehended. He may make such an attack in connection with others on other points, but can hardly increase the strength beyond what has been suggested from the peculiarities of the position.
I leave out this consideration for the present, an approach by the main through Christ Church Parish, as Sullivan's Island must be defended at any rate, and the support which a force on he main could give if confronted by a hostile army would be incidental and uncertain; its destruction would, however, be next to certain if Sullivan's Island fell.
The attack by simple siege would be held in check so long as Battery Marshal is in defensive condition, and to insure it, it seems to me that, first, we should complete the works necessary to secure it from assault at any point; next, that the ordnance material should