I believe that the South Carolinians are under the conviction that we are about to strike center by Port Royal Ferry. We want to keep up the delusion, and if I only had some cavalry would feel justified in moving the bulk of our to the southern end of the railroads and shutting off South Carolina from Savannah, and preparing the way to effectually take the city by the southern route. I have written also for another batter of light artillery.
Very respectfully and truly,
T. W. SHERMAN.
Washington, December 26, 1861.
Brigadier General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,
Commanding, Port Royal, S. C.:
GENERAL: your letter of the 21st is received. You re correct in your belief "that there is a growing district among a portion of the people as to the activity ad usefulness of this (your) portion of the Army". I do not share in that district, for my confidence in your ability is very great. I must confess, however, that I am constrained to believe that all the operations of our Army have been too much delayed, and the that there has been too great a desire to avoid responsibility rather force the enemy into early action. The fact seems to be overlooked that while we are preparing our enemy is also engaged in preparation, and that, being in his own country, he can do so much more rapidly than ourselves. It will give me much pleasure to hear from you frequently. I shall be especially glad at this time to know the actual force under your command, the number of troops you need, and the kind of which you are most in want. You refer in your letter to a want of cavalry. This is the first intimation I have that any were needed by you. Let me know the number required and they shall be sent at once, as well as any other force that you may deem necessary.
At this distance from the field of your operations this Department will not attempt to give you specific instructions. You will have to rely upon your judgment, in which I have every confidence; but let me add that I trust you will soon be able to accomplish something. Winter is now half over; spring is coming, and our forces must soon be unless in a region so far south.
I am, general, very respectfully and truly, yours,
Secretary of War.
PORT ROYAL, S. C., December 26, 1861.
General McCLELLAN, U. S. A.,
Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have been unable to get Commodore DuPont to investigate with me the problem of Charleston, and, as time is important, I have conferred with Captain Gillmore on the subject confidentially, and after the most serious deliberation of his views and my own have come to the conclusion that but modes suggest themselves as practical operations:
First. In the preliminary taking of Sullivan's and Morris Islands and the reduction of Sumter from these two points. When Sumter is reduced, the naval fleet to pass into the harbor and shell the city, with