later, several brigades were withdrawn from me, notwithstanding my protest, to reinforce the armies of Virginia
As I have already said, I found at Charleston
an exceedingly bad defensive condition against a determined attack.
Excepting Fort Moultrie
, on Sullivan's Island
, the works and batteries covering Charleston harbor
, including Fort Sumter
, were insufficiently armed, and their barbette guns without the protection of heavy traverses.
In all the harbor works, there were only three ten-inch and a few eight-inch columbiads, which had been left in Forts Sumter
by Major Anderson
, and about a dozen rifle guns-unbanded thirty-two-pounders, made by the Confederates-which burst after a few discharges.
There were, however, a number of good forty-two-pounders of the old pattern, which I afterward had rifled and banded.
I found a continuous floating boom of large timbers, bound together and interlinked, stretching across from Fort Sumter
to Fort Moultrie
But this was a fragile and unreliable barrier, as it offered too great a resistance to the strong current of the ebb and flood tide at full moon, especially after southeasterly gales, which backed up the waters in the bay, and in the Ashley
and Cooper rivers
It was exposed, therefore, at such periods, to be broken, particularly as the channel bottom was hard and smooth, and the light anchors which held the boom in position were constantly dragging — a fact which made the breaking of the boom an easy matter under the strain of hostile steamers coming against it under full headway.
For this reason, the engineers had proposed the substitution of a rope obstruction, which would be free from tidal strain, but little had been done toward its preparation.
I, therefore, soon after assuming command, ordered its immediate completion, and, to give it protection and greater efficiency, directed that two lines of torpedoes be planted a few hundred yards in advance of it. But before the order could be carried out, a strong southerly storm broke the timber boom in several places, leaving the channel unprotected, except by the guns of Forts Sumter
Fortunately, however, the Federal fleet made no effort to enter the harbor, as it might have done if it had made the attempt at night.
A few days later the rope obstruction and torpedoes were in position, and so remained, without serious injury, till the end of the war.
The rope obstruction was made of two heavy cables, about five or six feet apart, the one below the other, and connected together by a network of smaller ropes.
The anchors were made fast to the lower cable, and the buoys or floats to the upper one.
The upper cable carried a fringe of smaller ropes, about three-fourths of an