whether you intend the forts at Tar Bluff, Rhett's Bluff, Edisto Inlet, &c., to be temporary and for the protection of the property in their vicinity, or permanent.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
Charleston, December 5, 1861.
Captain T. A. WASHINGTON,
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from the commanding general of the 4th, and one from yourself of the same date. I telegraphed to General Gist to ask him what battery was untended by him, and received the answer as follows:
De Saussure said the Marion Light Artillery, and the Germans would be ready by to-day. Call upon the commanding officer Fourth Brigade South Caroline Militia.
From information here neither the Marion nor the German sections will be ready for two or three days, nor do i believe they will be ready for a week. The Washington Artillery commenced its preparation some time ago by my direction, and was called out. Meantime, while absent, it was intended to attach it to the Stevens Legion, and the governor had an idea of also attaching Boyce's company of so-called light artillery. The Washington Artillery, however they will, and they stand now as a company of State troops temporarily in Confederate service, with State guns (six pieces, three caissons, battery wagon, and forage), and horsed partly by state and partly by Confederate horses. Their preference is to a regiment of militia artillery of South Carolina; but I should have no hesitation of militia artillery of Sough Carolina; but I should have no hesitation in making them perform any duty they are capable of.
With regard to the intention, if more troops can be got, to hold in advance and reoccupy Edisto, it seems to me as far forward as we can go with safety from Charleston the better we are for its defense. Now, occupying positions to defend the rivers Ashepoo, Paw Paw, and Compbahee involves taking position on the main only. The rivers will be obstructed above the batteries. Paw Paw will be defended by two 24-pounders recovered by Lieutenant-Colonel Black, and two light 4-pounders. The other rivers I had intended to defend with two 12s each, and to let a section of light artillery be with each battery, and to have such a supporting force of infantry and cavalry to support them as it may be possible to give or the necessity demands, the defense to be made either permanent or temporary, as circumstances might dictate, and to have for its object the protection of that section of country from which most of our subsistence must be drawn. As it stands now, the enemy can run up to the railroad at any moment and cut our communication at once in his barges, ravage the plantations on either side, and return. The obstructions will detain his vessels, it is true, but, unguarded, will be removed speedily, and his barges can come at any time. There is reported to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Black that the enemy's officers have made several pertinent inquiries from negroes with whom they have had intercourse with regard to our armament on the rivers. Each of the positions being on the main, retreat to the railroad is easy, over a low, flat country, impracticable in many places except by the roads,