entire willingness to arm certain companies of regiments already in the service named by you, provided any arms remained after arming the regiments being organized for the war, but I cannot issue the arms before the arming of the regiments ice completed.
If the companies of Captain Blair, McCord, and Rives, which I understand are for the war, and attached by you to Stevens' Legion, were assigned to the battalion commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, which embraces the six companies attached to Orr's regiment, this battalion would only require one more company for the formation of a regiment, and might then be armed with Enfield rifles. My object is to make the arms available for the defense of the State as soon as possible, and I hope your excellency will aid me in this.
Major James' battalion has been ordered to report to General Evans, who is in great need of troops. General Ripley informs me that Colonels Elford's and Means' regiments will not be able to take the field for some days. In the mean time he has sent forward Colonel Stevens' Legion to re-enforce General Evans.
The enemy is making demonstrations against Wadmalaw Island, and our force there is not strong enough to resist him. Since your letter authorizing me to take command of the State troops in the field, I have felt no hesitation in doing so. Previously, although aware that certain forces were called into service and placed under the command of General Ripley, I did not know when or how it was designed to use them. According to the last returns received the number of troops mustered in Confederate service from South Carolina within the department present for duty is 10,036, including officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates. The strength of the Fourth Brigade South Carolina Militia (De Saussure's), present for duty, including officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, is reported to be 1,531. Its total strength present and absent is 2,021 and differs from the number stated in your excellency's letter, which is 3,420.
The strength of Colonel Martin's regiment in the field, by the last returns, is 628; the number reported for duty, including officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, is 567. The number of troops in Confederate States service, as stated above, 10,036, does not include the regiments of Colonels Elford and Means, the Laurens battalion, and the other companies mentioned in your letter, which have arrived since the returns were made. In addition to this force there are two regiments from North Carolina, two from Tennessee, and one from Virginia, and four field batteries.
My object is to inform your excellency of the amount of the force for actual service in the State. You must, however, bear in mind that the garrisons for the forts at Georgetown, of Fort Moultrie, Forts Sumter, Johnson, Castle Pinckney, and the field works for the defense of the approaches through Stono, Wappoo, &c., which embrace the best and steadiest of our troops, cannot be removed from their posts, and must not therefore be included in the force for operations in the field.
The strength of the enemy, as far as I am able to judge, exceeds the whole force that we have in the State. It can be thrown with great celerity against any point, and far outnumbers any force we can bring against it in the field.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,