War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0754 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

the south battery for ten heavy guns. Early next year the south battery will be completed to the extent of its full armament of thirty guns and three other batteries built and made ready for thirty guns more during the working season, making for the armament of this island, including the preparation of the next working season, ninety-two guns, all of the heaviest calibers. In permanent forts and batteries, therefore, in Boston Harbor I am able to state that there is now readiness for not less than 330 guns. Early in the spring the number will be increased to 430 guns, and by the close of summer to 464 guns, all these forming parts of the present system of defense. It has always been a portion of the project of defense for this harbor to leave certain positions to be occupied by temporary works thrown up on the approach of war, including, certainly, among these Long Island Head. But the extent to which the construction of such additional batteries shall be carried should depend on the possession of suitable ordnance to put in them, for unless armed properly and steadily and sufficiently garrisoned some of them might be turned against us. When the time comes and all more important preparations are complete such batteries should be created to the extent that will absorb the disposable guns, selecting positions in the order of their value as points of command over the harbor and environs.

This preceding statement, so far as relates to the condition of the present forts and batteries, parts of the general system of sea-coast defense, shows a pretty good state of advancement of the fortifications in Boston Harbor particularly, and I may confidently add that, with two insignificant exceptions, no better batteries can be constructed were they all now to be built anew; no changes would be made in any essential particular. They besides occupy the very best positions in, as I think, the best manner. As to the means of supplying the necessary ordnance to these works and those that may be suddenly erected in this and other harbors of the State, I am obliged to refer Your Excellency to the Ordnance Department.

In the haste in which this letter has been written it is quite possible that I may have omitted or touched too lightly upon matters deemed by you to be important. In such case please call upon me for further information.

With great respect, &c.,


Brevet Brigadier-General and Colonel of Engineers.


Boston, December 21, 1861.

Brigadier General J. G. TOTTEN,

Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: His Excellency Governor Andrew, who is at this moment too unwell to address you himself, has directed me to write to you and state that the Legislature of this Commonwealth meet on the 1st day of January next; that he must call their attention to the state of our coast defenses, as recommended by the Secretary of State in his late circular, and that the critical position of our foreign relations renders it the more imperative on him to urge the adoption by the Legislature of well-considered measures for the protection of our harbors and sea-ports. The Governor cannot do this without the report or memorandum which you were kind enough to promise him, and as his message must be prepared without delay he hopes that you will give this matter the