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[145] and, the next day, presented the following report to Department Headquarters:

In compliance with the above letter, a council of officers, consisting of Colonel Gilmer, C. S. Corps of Engineers; Colonel Rhett, 1st S. C. Artillery; Colonel Harris, C. S. Corps of Engineers; Captain F. H. Harleston, 1st S. C. Artillery; and Lieutenant Johnson, Corps of Engineers, met at Fort Sumter on the afternoon of the 24th of August, 1863.

Captain Harleston acted as recorder.

The first proposition proposed for consideration was— “ The present offensive condition of the fort.”

Lieutenant Johnson, Engineer Corps: “The present offensive condition of the fort is very limited: one very fine gun (11-inch), capable of being fired with advantage, two others (10-inch) at disadvantage, in consequence of shattered condition of parapet.”

Captain Harleston: Of same opinion as Lieutenant Johnson.

Major Blanding: “The offensive condition of the fort is very nearly destroyed; only one gun (11-inch) that can be used with any advantage.”

Colonel Harris: Endorses Lieutenant Johnson's opinion.

Colonel Rhett: “In action would be impracticable to use but one gun— the 11-inch—and that would soon be disabled.”

Colonel Gilmer: Of the same opinion as Lieutenant Johnson.

Second proposition.

“Can offensive power still be given to these guns by additional cover and change of location?”

Lieutenant Johnson: “Yes, by sand-bag epaulements and timber platforms.”

Captain Harleston: Considers it impracticable, on account of present shattered condition of the fort, and that sufficient time will not be allowed.

Major Blanding: Agrees with Captain Harleston.

Colonel Harris: “It can be done in present condition of fort, if time is allowed.”

Colonel Rhett: Would like to see it carried out, but considers it impracticable.

Colonel Gilmer: “It is entirely within the capacity of the Engineer to accomplish the work in the manner suggested by Lieutenant Johnson, if not under fire, at night, when the fire ceases.”

Third proposition.

“Capacity of the fort as a defensive position, in its present condition, against a barge attack, and the number of men needed.”

Lieutenant Johnson: “I think the capacity of the fort sufficient, and that it needs three hundred muskets.”

Captain Harleston: “I think the capacity of the fort sufficient, and that it needs from two hundred and fifty to three hundred muskets.”

Major Blanding: “Without outside assistance, in its present condition, five hundred muskets will be needed.”

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