Among the few persons, in Charleston
and elsewhere, who, from the first, doubted the purpose of the Federal
authorities, and never believed in any good coming from the unaccountable delays in the negotiations at Washington
, was General Beauregard
's popular commander.
He had lost no time in pushing forward, as rapidly as possible, the plan of attack he had adopted immediately after his arrival.
That plan was to form a circle of fire, by distributing all his available guns and mortars around a circumference of which Fort Sumter
should be the centre.
To accomplish this he had three of the six mortars about to be put in position at Cummings's Point
removed to the Trapier Battery on Morris Island
They were 10-inch mortars.
The three others (8-inch) he left where they had been originally mounted.
With his usual prompt decision and remarkable activity, he asked and obtained from Savannah
other mortars which he knew were there, and distributed them as follows: three in Fort Johnson
, on James Island
; one in Castle Pinckney, an inner defence in the harbor; two in Christ Church parish, near Mount Pleasant
; and three on Sullivan's Island
, in the vicinity of Fort Moultrie
All his mortars were now placed in proper positions, and in accord with the principles of gunnery; that is to say, near enough to Fort Sumter
to do it the greatest possible damage, and yet far enough away to be almost beyond range of its fire, with the exception of the three 8-inch mortars at Cummings's Point
, already referred to, which were of but slight value or importance.
The merlons and traverses at Fort Moultrie
and the batteries near it, as originally constructed by the officers in charge, were totally inadequate to the purpose for which they were intended.
He had them rebuilt of a much larger size and greater solidity.
He also located his gun-batteries with the utmost care, endeavoring to enfilade the barbette guns of Sumter
, so as to disable them, should the emergency arise.
It was on the Morris Island
shore that General Beauregard
first applied his plan of detached batteries for the defence of channels and rivers.
Close observation had shown him that batteries thus constructed and armed with a few guns each, well protected by heavy traverses and merlons, were much more efficacious than would be a single large work, having all the guns concentrated in it, without these protections.
When a fort is attacked by a fleet,