The preparation and arrangement of Fort Pulaski ordered on my first arrival have progressed slowly, but I do not think the passage of the river can be forces. Fort Jackson is now armed, and its defenses have been strengthened, and forms an interior barrier. The channel of the river has also been blocked up.
The force in the Savannah River is believed to be part of that from Port Royal Harbor.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.
DECEMBER 6-7, 1861.-Expedition to Port Royal Ferry and Beaufort, S. C.
Report of Colonel William E. Martin, C. S. Army, with preliminary correspondence.
HEADQUARTERS MOUNTED REGIMENT, Pocotaligo, November 25, 1861.
Captain T. A. WASHINGTON,
Aide-de-Camp, Coosawhatchie, S. C.:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor of inclosing copies of the following papers:
A. General Ripley's order, date November 16.
B. Memorandum by myself.
C. Reports to General Ripley, November 19.
D. Letter to F. H. Harleston, aide-de-camp, November 22.
E. Extract from a letter of General Ripley, November 24.
I hope you will pardon the trouble of asking your attention to these papers. I am embarrassed about the duty devolved upon me, because I do not know whether my coadjutor, Captain Pope, appointed to the command jointly with myself, has abandoned the project; and whether he has or has not, I am at a loss to know whether General Lee would approve the execution of the only order practicable for cavalry-the operations on Port Royal Island and separate movement. If the matter had been confided to me solely I would have attempted that portion of it before this time. I feel bound to wait for the co-operation of Captain Pope a reasonable time. My doubts are whether I have a right to wait any longer. These it is my anxious desire to have resolved by an expression of opinion from headquarters, and it is to solicit your assistance in obtaining it that I venture to invite your kind assistance.
In the exercise of the discertain with I am intrusted I would not now ask advice if the matter were not complicated by the joint operation contemplated and now apparently impracticable. I am anxious to gratify the public expectation for action on Port Royal Island immediately. I think the objects of the expectation can be attained in safety as far as that island its concerned, and I would be gratified by permission to proceed in its execution. May I beg the favor of you, therefore, under the circumstances, to favor me with advice from General Lee, if you think it proper to request it.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. E. MARTIN,
Colonel Mounted Regiment.
3 R R-VOL VI