navigation, communicating with the harbor out of range of Cawell. One of these approaches the outer beach within 160 yards. The fort on Oak island, opposite, can be shelled from Bald Head. The island is too large for us to be able to occupy it; that is, without great outlay of force. In addition to this, Smithville and Fort Johnston can be turned by troops landing either on oak Island or Shallotte. under these circumstances it has always bee urged to form at Willmington a reserve of, say, 1,000 men, as at New Berne a similar one. The force is little engouth. In the meantime the condition of Fort Caswell demands the most serious consideration; I allude to the command, the internal arrangements, &c. It is absolutely essential that the command of this work be placed in the hands of some regular officer familiar with routine of garrisons. The colonel commanding is energetic and does as well as he knows how, but he does not know how. No one does who has not been brought up in and thoroughly familiar with garrison duties.
It is not sufficient for the untiring industry of General Holmes to indicate what is to be done- for Captain Childs to suggest. We may call attention tot he whole of the Army Regulations or any part of them; orders may be issued, but only a regular officer familiar with the duty can carry them out. There is none such here. In the meantime, internal police, sanitary precautions, food, cleanliness, t he thousand nameless duties of routine cannot be thoroughly performed under the present system, and I fear the most disastrous results form sickness. I need no dwell on this subject in presence of your experience. I only beg you to send some one. The Governor will undoubtedly confer local rank sufficient for the purpose. Captain Childs, chief of artillery, has drilled the men will for artillery and is indefatigable in his duty as ordnance officer at the fort, but he is not in command, and cannot well be placed their now. Considering their declaration of the enemy of their intention to retake the forts, the probable imminence of their attack, the paucity of our resources, in case of their success the enormous advantage and prestige they would gain, the vastly increased outlay required for us to retake, if possible, I most earnestly urge that some officer of garrison experience be placed at once in command. I urge that it will be better to spare regular officers to command all of our forts now than be compelled to send dozens instead of one hereafter to recapture them. In the meantime we are pushing hard the manufacture of shells, shot, grape, and gun carriages. The ladies have patriotically supplied us with cartridge- bags, &c., sufficient for our use, and are now engaged in making clothing for the troops.
General Holmes has relieved me of the command of the troops in which I had been placed by the Governor, the extensive range of my duties, in my own specialty and in ordnance, being more than sufficient to occupy my whole time. I am happy to report the creditable progress of the troops in drill and organization, especially their unflagging zeal, obedience, and great willingness. Pass over the discursive character of this report. I am compelled to- morrow to proceed to New Berne, to indicate the position of reserves and the location of batteries; thence to Ocracoke and return here. If the enemy do not attack for a week I shall be well satisfied, and will make a better report; two weeks, better still. It does not become me to express an opinion as to the conduct of affairs at Raleigh. The reported resignation of Major Mordecai and his probable advancement to the position of major- general commanding gives great hopes for the future. I beg you will excuse my failure heretofore to forward my reports, either to General Beauregard or yourself, of the operations at Charleston Harbor. Under the pressure of