RICHMOND, VA., February 18, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
Order the cavalry regiment of Colonel Davis from Florida to Chattanooga immediately, to report to General A. S. Johnston. Withdraw all forces from the islands in your department to the main-land, taking proper measures to save the artillery and monitions of war.
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
SAVANNAH, GA., February 18, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector-General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report, for the information of the honorable Secretary of War, that the guns have been withdrawn from the batteries on Saint Simon's and Jekyl's Islands and the troops removed to Brunswick. The former are now in progress of transportation to this place, to be used in the defense of the city of Savannah, and the latter directed to occupy a position, to command the railroad and protect the back country. The nature of the ground prevents the possibility of holding the town of Brunswick, as the gunboats of the enemy can unmolested ascend the river within 4 miles of the railroad at Waynesville and about 25 miles in the rear of Brunswick. Brunswick would prove a convenient and healthy position, if occupied by the enemy, affording shelter and comfortable quarters for the troops and hospitals for the sick. It is used as a summer resort, and at this time mostly uninhabited. Should it fall into the possession of the enemy, its convenient harbor, salubrious climate, and comfortable buildings might tempt him to hold it for the continuance of the war, and, rather than it should fall into his hands, I propose to destroy it.
Before issuing orders to this effect, I desire that my views be known to the Secretary, so that if not approved by him I may be informed.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
SAVANNAH, February 18, 1862.
Brigadier General R. S. RIPLEY,
GENERAL: I am directed by the commanding general [Lee] to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th instant to-day; that he hopes you will use every effort to organize the Carolina troops and to get them into the field. The three cavalry companies that you are equipping can be retained for service in your district if you desire it. Captain Childs will be authorized to issue arms to the cavalry companies mustered into the Confederate service for the war upon your requisition, but the Enfield rifles must be reserved for the infantry. As regards Thomas Black, who has been released by the enemy, you must judge from his character and antecedents whether he can be trusted at large; if you feel satisfied, you can release him and keep him under surveillance. If not, he had better be sent to Colonel Preston, at Columbia, to be retained in close custody or within prescribed limits on parole.
In reference to the fixed battery you propose on the middle ground,