War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1152 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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which will be in operation on the dark of the present moon, will give us great trouble, and render more necessary than ever the presence of a naval force afloat. With regard to the proposed replacing of a portion of the troops here, it is a question of great importance, and I have weighed it well. I understood that General Beauregard has strongly urged that Basinger's battalion should be sent here as of experience as artillerists under fire. I would like to exchange Young's and Moore's battalions of heavy artillery for an equivalent of any kind of troops, infantry or artillery; the former would be preferred. I have but five batteries, not seven as you infer. As to the Thirty-sixth and Fortieth Regiments now garrisoning the forts at the entrance, I do not wish those sent away or exchanged, for the reason that their field officers are excellent and masters of the position, and the men in general good, tolerably proficient as artillerists, and thoroughly familiar with all the localities. I could not replace Colonels Lamb and Hedrick and their two excellent lieutenant-colonels, Taylor and Tait. I rely greatly on these officers, to whose vigilance, discipline, and activity, as well as to their singular engineering practical skill, I am much indebted. The benefit would be very great if a few skeleton regiments of veteran troops, however small their numbers, could be added to these forts to perform the extensive outpost and picket duty which now devolves upon the small artillery garrison. The extended development of old works and the necessary construction of new have not been followed by a corresponding increase of the garrison. The number of guns has been much more than doubled, while the force is far less than what it originally was.

Please to look at the maps. On Oak Island I have 600 men for duty. Those garrison the two forts, Caswell and Campbell, which between them should have 1,400 at least, and Battery Shaw, besides picketing the banks to Lockwood's Folly. This inlet could readily be made a base for the enemy. The garrisons are not movable. Hence the need of a force in advance on Oak Island to prevent the occupation of any point whence the bar might be reached at long range. Smith's Island, which is the key of the harbor, affecting both entrances, has about 900 men. It is quite extensive, having ten miles of sea-coast. It should, in event of attack, have a good regiment of infantry in addition. Three hundred of your splendid skirmishers would be invaluable on this island. At Fort Fisher there are 800 now. This work is made to avoid the land, and especially liable from the hydrography of the position to be isolated from succor, and should be supported by infantry and light artillery, permanently posted at or near the Sugar Loaf range. Any number, however, small, of your depleted infantry regiments would be of the very greatest service here, as giving confidence to the artillery and having a field temporarily suited to the skill and valor shown on so many fields. The efficiency of the artillery would be much increased by their relief from outpost duty and return to their guns. Smith's Island is specially mentioned. In my opinion, if the enemy are not able to detach a strong co-operating land expedition, and design confining themselves chiefly to naval operations to close the harbor, Farragut will endeavor to make a lodgment on this island; hence the importance of increasing the garrison with infantry in advance. The enemy, D! always be met on the beach. The artillery is required at its guns. The cheering character of the news from the Army of the West gives the hope that a decisive result in that quarter will so materially aid you that a small portion of your noble veterans may be sent here to recruit and pass the winter. We have the yellow