The position you have selected seems to possess excellent advantages for this purpose, and I trust by your skill and energy will be made impregnable. It should be provided with bomb-proofs to shelter the men from shells, &c., provided the guns cannot themselves be protected from these missiles. I have written to the governor, who has no guns which can be applied to your position, and I cannot say now whether any can be sent from here. Please inform me of your progress, and whether I can give any aid to the work.
Mr. Grant has gone to inquire about a suitable boat. The two most convenient for your purpose, Talemino and Habersham, are in constant use, and I do not suppose can be spared. In that event you must impress a boat and pay the rates given here.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., February 24, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
SIR: The recent disaster to our arms in Tennessee forces the Government to the stern necessity of withdrawing its lines within more defensible limits, so as to enable us to meet with some equality the overpowering numbers of the enemy. The railroad line from Memphis to Richmond must be defended at all hazards. We can only do this by withdrawing troops from the seaboard. You are therefore requested to withdraw all such forces as are now employed in the defense of the seaboard of Florida, taking proper steps to secure the guns and munitions of war, and to send forward the troops to Tennessee, to report to General A. S. Johnston, by the most expeditious route.
The only troops to be retained in Florida are such as may be necessary to defend the Apalachicola River, as the enemy could by that river at high water send his gunboats into the very middle of the State of Georgia. Let General Trapier put that river and harbor in a satisfactory state of defense, and then further orders can be given to him; but I beg that there be no delay that you can possibly avoid in forwarding to Tennessee the troops now at Fernandina and on the eastern coast.
I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BANJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
SAVANNAH, GA., February 24, 1862.
Brigadier General J. H. TRAPIER,
Commanding, &c., Tallahassee:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of February-, from Fernandina, relative to the indefensibility of the position on Amelia Island. The withdrawal of the troops from Saint Simon's and Jekyl Islands can only affect the island communication between Brunswick and Cumberland Sound, rendering it less secure and certain. The batteries commanding the principal entrance into Cumberland Sound can be as easily turned through Saint Andrew's Sound and Saint Simon's, which is nearer and as accessible as the