Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Captain John G. Foster to Brevet Brigadier-General Joseph G. Totten, March 31, 1861

Fort Sumter, S. C, March 31, 1861.
General Jos. G. Totten,
Chief Engineer United States Army, Washington, D. C.:

General: Yesterday the members of the State Convention visited the batteries on Morris Island and Fort Moultrie, and from both places extensive firing took place in honor of the event. This gave me an opportunity of observing what batteries have been increased in strength since my last report on this subject.

The following is the present armament, very nearly, viz.:

Battery No. 1. — Four guns. Embrasures closed by sandbags. Not fired yesterday.

Mortar battery between Nos. 1 and 2. — Three mortars. Fired yesterday. These have practiced much lately, to obtain the range and length of fuse for this fort.

Battery No. 2, iron-clad. — Three heavy guns. Two of them fired yesterday.

Battery No. 3. — Three guns. Embrasures closed with sandbags. Did not fire.

Mortar battery between Nos. 3 and 4. — Two mortars. Fired yesterday.

Battery No. 4. — Three guns. Two fired.

Battery No. 5. — Four heavy guns, one Columbiad or 8-inch seacoast howitzer. Two fired yesterday. I think there are six guns in this battery, although only four have been seen to fire.

Star of the West battery. — Four heavy guns, one of them an 8-inch Columbiad or 8-inch seacoast howitzer. All fired yesterday.

Battery No. 7. — These guns are not all in the same battery, but are distributed along the beach apparently in three batteries. Eleven guns fired yesterday. All were very heavy guns except two, which I think were field-pieces in a sort of second tier.

Above these batteries, on the sand-hills, is a line of intrenchments surrounding a house, and also several tents. The fieldpieces are apparently capable of being used to defend the flanks of this intrenchment, and to fire on the channel. Their rear is covered, each with a traverse.

It was evident in this firing that not all the guns in position were fired.

At Fort Moultrie the firing exhibited the same complete armament as last reported.

The provisions that I laid in for my force having become exhausted, and the supplies of the command being too limited to spare me any more, I am obliged to discharge nearly all my men to-day. I retain only enough to man a boat.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. Foster,
Captain Engineers.

SOURCE: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 302-4

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