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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 6, Part 1 (Fort Pulaski - New Orleans)

HEADQUARTERS, No. 1. Coosawhatchie, S. C., November 8, 1861.

I. In pursuance of instructions from the War Department, General R. E. Lee, C. S. Army, assumes command of the military department composed of the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.

II. Captain T. A. Washington, C. S. Army, is announced as adjutant-general of the department; Captain Walker H. Taylor, Provisional Army, as assistant adjutant-general; Captain Joseph C. Ives, C. S. Army, as chief engineer; Lieutenant Colonel William G. Gill, Provisional Army, as ordnance officer, and Mr. Joseph Manigault as volunteer aide-de-camp to the commanding general.

* * * * * * *

By order of General Lee:


Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army.

Coosawhatchie, November 9, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War:

SIR: On the evening of the 7th, on my way to the entrance of Port Royal Harbor, I met General Ripley, returning from the battery at the north end of Hilton Head, called Fort Walke. He reported that the enemy's fleet had passed the batteries and entered the harbor. Nothing could the n be done but to make arrangements to withdraw the troops from the batteries to prevent their capture and save the public property. The troops were got over during the night, but their tents, clothing, and provisions were mostly lost, and all the guns left in the batteries. General Drayton's command was transferred from Fort Walker to Bluffton; Colonel Dunovant's from Bay Point to Saint Helena Island and thence to Beaufort. There are neither batteries nor guns for the defense of Beaufort, and Colonel Dunovant crossed Port Royal Ferry yesterday, and was halted at Garden's Corner. General Drayton reports he has but 955 men with him, and no field battery, the troops from Georgia that were on the island having returned to Savannah without orders. Colonel Dunovant's regiment is in as destitute a condition as General Drayton's command, s they were obliged to leave everything behind, and number between 600 and 700 men. I wrote to General Lawton to endeavor to withdraw the guns from the battery at the south end of Hilton Head. I have received as yet no report from him nor any official account from the commanders of the batteries. I fear every gun has been lost. At present I am endeavoring to collect troops to defend the line of the railroad and to push forward the defenses of Charleston and Savannah.

Colonel Clingman's regiment of North Carolina volunteers, six companies of Colonel Edwards' regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, and Colonel Martin's South Carolina cavalry compose the force now here. The enemy, having complete possession of the water and inland navigation, commands all the island on this coast, and threatens both Savannah and Charleston, and can come in his boats within 4 miles of this place. His sloops of war nd large steamers can come up Broad River to Mackay's Point, the mouth of the Pocotaligo, and his gunboats can ascend some distance up the Coosawhatchie and Tulifiny. We have no guns that can resist their batteries, and have no resource but to

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 6, Part 1 (Fort Pulaski - New Orleans)
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