in a period when high water is, at about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, after the setting of the moon, the attempt should be made. A few days previous to it a demonstration of collecting troops at Bluffton should take place and strong reconnaissance of the vicinity of Hilton Head and Port Royal should be made by boats and any means in our power. The effect of this movement could be ascertained by watching the enemy's fleet off Charleston; probably by his signals and the movements of the garrison of Morris Island. It would probably attract his attention, for the passage of Scull Creek from the main is quite easy, and the positions at Hilton Head and Beaufort, under present circumstances, are quite weakly garrisoned, and must remain so until the main operations in the field are over, or their localities changed.
Morris Island and Folly Island now have some 4,000 men, and if a portion are withdrawn from the guard of our prisoners, lately there, and to guard those soon expected at Fort Pulaski, it will be fair to presume that the garrison of the island will not much exceed 2,500, a portion of them being on Black Island. The general camp of the enemy is at the south end near Fort Shaw, represented to be a strong work with bomb-proofs, &c., now mounting only two guns. From this camp troops are sent to re-enforce the works at the north-western extremity of the island at Cumming's Point each night in different strengths, according to circumstances.
The first preparation for the attempt would be to obtain three light-draught and tolerably swift-running steamers from the blockade-runners, each capable of carrying at least 1,000 men. These steamers should be stripped of all works, which would encumber free movement or make them more conspicuous, and be provided with two wide and strong gang-planks which could be speedily launched or let go over the bows. They should also have other gang-planks as wide and strong to be launched or let fall from the broadside if necessary, all to be as long as it would be possible to have them consistently with speedy handling and the character of the vessels. This equipment should be specially prepared and supervised by experts and got in readiness as secretly as possible. The boats, being prepared, should go by night through the creeks behind Sullivan's Island to Battery Marshall and lie behind that work or the woods of Long Island out of sight of the enemy, having on board each the force of men which the vessel could carry, supplied with from four to six days' rations, full ammunition, and a few boat howitzers if they can be procured. The commanding officer should be careful to let no person leave the command, and, if time permitted, the boats could be run stem on to the shore of the island at low tide and the men practiced in debarking by the gang-planks. On each boat there should be a naval detachment of sailors, under competent and cool officers, for handling the rigging of the planks and other duties of seamanship, and the captains, and engineers and pilots should be selected for their skill, coolness, and intrepidity.
A number of boats should be provided, and collected at Secessionville and Battery Haskell out of sight of the enemy. These, to prevent being discovered, had best be hauled overland and launched at night. At each point there should be enough to carry a force of, say, from 100 to 150, the boats not being crowded. A number of boats sufficient to carry 500 men should be in readiness in Charleston, the men not crowded, to be taken on board at Hatch's Wharf or Fort John-
41 R R-VOL XXXV, PT II