Today in History:

99 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I

Page 99 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

ordered to this point, and that requisitions were made for troops from North Carolina and other sources. I reported the matter and the necessities personally to the headquarters of the department, and took the orders for the quartermasters to provide transportation. The troops reported to me as they came in, and were stationed without one moment's delay. Up to the 9th of July there had been no other appearances to indicate the enemy's positive intentions than previously. Nay, from intelligence received from Richmond, coupled with the incorrect accounts of the battle of Gettysburg, the cause of the arrival of transports in the Stono was questionable, and we knew not whether they brought troops or came to take those on Folly Island away. I know that strenuous objections were urged against sending the troops, in April or May last, from this department while the enemy was in force in our front, and while it was contemplated to dislodge him from his position and it is also within my knowledge that the War Department had the opinion that the enemy's force had been greatly reduced. The truth of this opinion was questioned, and continued observations were made, resulting in the information that the enemy was still in our front in force. What we he had not the means of ascertaining [sic] which could only be learned by the assistance of naval means. The naval officers had been applied to, but could co-operate on account of the defective character of their iron-clads, and they had no other vessels. The above will answer the 26th, 27th, and 28th interrogatories.

calls were made, through the State authorities, for labor for months previous to the attack, but this subject not being under my charge or control, I can only state that I have always understood that they were not responded to satisfactorily. I know that the supply of labor was limited in the extreme, and the weak garrisons were called on supply certain deficiencies. My observations on this point can best be learned by a reference to my correspondence concerning the preparation of Morris Island for defense, alluded to heretofore, commencing May 24, and continued. This is already at department headquarters.

To the 31st question. I believe, had the works for the defense of Morris Island been completed and armed, that with the troops of my command, with small re-enforcements, we could have held the southern extremity of Morris Island until larger had arrived from other points, and, if no other method of attack had been attempted, the chances, in my mind, were that his whole attempt would have been repulsed. As for the prolonged defense, I think it may be considered that the defense of our advances works, Batteries Wagner and Gregg, and Fort Sumter, against two powerful assaults, and open trenches of attack armed with the most powerful modern artillery, for nearly fifty days, has been tolerably good already. I hope it will be prolonged still further, and successfully. Should Charleston fall, it certainly will be due to want of labor and troops, but the ultimate cause of an abridgment to the defense of Charleston is, in my mind, clearly attribute to the abandonment of Cole's Island. This situation, far stronger by nature than Battery Wagner, and well fortified by art, with a far heavier armament, approachable only by water by the enemy, and then by his light-draught vessels, with two approaches by water and two by land in our hands, which could be garrisoned by 2,000 men, nearly all of whom were provided with bomb-proof shelters, without an attack, or the slightest demonstration of one, was abandoned. By this abandonment, against which I

Page 99 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.