What General Beauregard apprehended most, however, was a night attack by the Federal monitors and ironclads. During a dark night nothing could prevent them from taking a position sufficiently near Fort Sumter, and there opening fire upon it, with almost certain impunity. By repeating the manoeuvre several nights in succession they might eventually batter down the walls of the fort and dismount most of its guns, or blow up its magazines. It was evident that Sumter, being a large object, could be seen well enough to be fired at with approximate precision even at night; while the monitors, being small, and lying low in the water, would hardly be discernible from the fort, and, if made to change their positions after each discharge, might render impossible any accuracy of aim on the part of our gunners, who would be left with nothing else to guide them but the flash of the enemy's pieces. And General Beauregard was of opinion that, by establishing floating lights of different colors at the entrance of the various channels leading into the inner harbor, and by frequent soundings, rendered easy by most excellent coast-survey maps in the possession of the Federal commanders, the plan of attack just described could have been carried out with no serious difficulty, and to the advantage of the enemy, especially if undertaken while the tides were stationary, or nearly so. Fortunately, however, Admiral Dupont, and the other naval commanders having charge of the hostile fleet, did not adopt this very simple mode of attack, against which the guns of Sumter, and of the works around the harbor, would have been almost powerless. It was with a view to guard against this danger that the following communication was addressed to Commodore Ingraham:
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