Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 1) >> The Pen as Sword: Simms and the Beginning of the War — Rediscovered Writings from 1861 >> Page 14

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Page 14

Secondary Scholarship | 2007
Transcription need give them no credit but their avarice and love of gain. We are also to
assume that, if the war is to be prolonged, and if they meet with serious
reverses, their passions may require desperate action, in order to recover
what they have lost, if not to revenge their mortifications, all of which they
ascribe to South Carolina.
South Carolina must prepare for this encounter. That the programme for
our invasion is already conceived and made out, we have no question. That it
will occur in the first part of winter we are certain, unless it occurs before,
and unless we shall have conquered peace and independence in the
meantime, as a Confederacy.
If, by a coup de main, this summer, Stringham could retake Sumter, the
affair would be easy. If not, the plan of Scott will probably be that of Great
Britain during the Revolution. Having felt the difficulties of a direct
demonstration upon Charleston through its commercial gates, the enemy will
probably attempt to land his forces south of them, at North Edisto, Port
Royal or Beaufort.
Beaufort and Bluffton would afford him points d'appui, whether the
object aimed at be Charleston or Savannah; and Bluffton could be reached
easily from Beaufort, that place being once in possession of the enemy.
In assailing Vera Cruz, Scott's first landing was upon the Island of Lobos,
thirty miles from the point to be stricken. The Mexicans did not attempt to
oppose his landing: We shall probably do better. But, assuming that he
attempts to debark some 20,000 soldiers at Port Royal or Beaufort, by light-
draught vessels, iron clad gunboats, armed with 15-inch columbiads, and
transports, covered by small war steamers what are our preparations?
We have been working some, we know: we have some strong batteries at
essential points; and we have planted les huitres de l'enger at eligible points;
but we have entirely too few artillerists now, and will need large forces ready
by fall. We earnestly call public attention to this matter.
We are, too, for making sure in another matter. Our batteries on land
should be seconded, we venture to suggest, by water batteries. Every one of
our broad inlets should have its marine battery. Occupying the narrow
gorges, covered by the land batteries, covering them in turn, we might make
ourselves secure by this process. We should put in requisition every harbor
steamer; every sloop and schooner; every pilot boat that will carry a gun;
and do more. We should proceed to frame any number to raft, or floating
batteries, such as will come easy to our hands, and such as will be efficient
in our hands.
These batteries may be made in a few days, and may be made almost
shot and shell proof. A raft battery, in shallow and smooth water, is superior
to any gunboat or transport that ever floated; will carry more steady under
fire. Suppose you take an ordinary "bull" of ranging timber. Lay the logs in
alternate and crossed layers, six feet deep. Bolt all the points of intersection