War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0188 COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

Search Civil War Official Records

III. All persons found outside the pickets without a pass will be arrested and reported to these headquarters.

By order of Brigadier-General T. W. Sherman:


Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


Hilton Head, S. C., November 15, 1861.


Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in consequence of the difficulty and great amount of labor in landing our stores, some delay must necessarily occur in continuing operations. This delay is as distasteful to us as it must be to the authorities at Washington. In the mean while a matter of the first importance is to erect proper defenses at Hilton Head as well as to strengthen the land side of the fort, to the end of securing this important point with the least number of men. This is being done, and a plan of the same will be furnished as soon as it can be prepared.

In conducting operations here two modes suggest themselves:

First, to hold Hilton Head and Phillips' Island with a strong force, and proceed with a sufficient force, in connection with the naval fleet under Commodore DuPont, and open another important harbor. This would be carrying out the original and actual object of the expedition, as I understand it, and for which object only our means have been provided.

Second, to occupy the points first mentioned as well as Beaufort as a base of operations, and act thence on a line of operations embracing Port Royal Island and the road to Pocotaligo, the nearest point of the Savannah and Charleston Railroad, into the southern counties of the State, threatening Savannah, & c., or to operate from the base of Hilton Head through the interior creeks and channels leading into the Savannah River below Savannah and near Fort Jackson, thus laying siege to Savannah and cutting off Fort Pulaski.

For these last operations the former would require more land transportation than we are provided with, and the latter would require an outfit of boats, that we are also insufficiently provided with. The former would also require a small cavalry force. The only course, therefore, at present is, notwithstanding the apparent opening for more brilliant operations, the first and original plan.

The surrounding country evacuated by the whites, as described in my last, has upon it an abundance of valuable property, including ungathered crops and cotton mostly gathered. I have directed all the means of transportation, such as boats, scows, wagons, & c., to be collected for the use of the Army; but in regard to other private property, such as can be made of no injury to us in the operations of the enemy, I have directed not to be interfered with. This, however, is a difficult matter, and there exists too great a propensity to rob and pillage the houses and plantations left in charge only of the blacks. I hope to receive instructions on this point; that is, in a country entirely deserted by its white inhabitants, all of whom are known to be disloyal, how far I am to authorize the appropriation of private property.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.