happy manner without having to carry the forts near the mouth of the Stono, and indeed by turning them. Gunboats can ascend the North Edisto and Waddmalaw Rivers, and possibly into the Stono itself, which would bring them within 5 miles of the city. There is a good road all the way from North Edisto River to Charleston, and so situated that a land force can co-operate with the gunboats and be at hand to assist removing any obstructions found in the river or reducing any works that may be found in approaching the city. To ascertain precisely where these obstructions and works are situated will require a reconnaissance in force preliminary to any grand movement. It is much more practicable a route than the one to Savannah. The route proposed will in great measure turn all the defenses of the enemy on James Island and effectually cut off all approaches to the city by land from that quarter. The demonstration, if successful, will produce the evacuation of Charleston, or, should it not, the city can be shall at leisure from the right bank of the Ashby. The forts in the harbor would probably fall of themselves, but, if not, Sumter can be shelled and possibly reached from James and Morris Island. To make matters still more sure, a demonstration and indeed a real attack on Point Pleasant from Bull's Bay would probably produce the fall on Moultrie. Indeed I think Moultrie could be easily carried by a coup be main, if thought necessary.
I will endeavor to give this subject a very early attention and promptly inform you of all I can gather. In the mean while, general, please furnish me with your general idea of what harbors South should be garrisoned. I have no doubt but all down to Augustine will be at once at our disposal (including Saint John's River.) Fernandina and Brunswick are harbors of importance, but are Augustine, Jacksonville, Darien, &c., sufficiently so to absorb our forces?
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
T. W. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERED THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED'Y CORPS,
Fernandina, Fla., March 8, 1862.
General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,
GENERAL: By the steamer McClellan, which left for Hilton Head this morning, I informed you of the expedition fitted out for the Saint John's River. It started about 11.30 a. m. to-day.
No very reliable information in regard to the whereabouts of the rebel force which left this place has vet been procured, though am induced to believe that a part, perhaps the whole, have stopped at Baldwin, the junction of Florida and Ceder Keys and the Jacksonville and Tallahassee Railroads, 47 miles from this place. The enemy, in his retreat, earned to the main quite difficult; and I have not therefore considered it induces, or indeed important as yet, to send any reconnaissance in that direction, as I am not in condition to move in force to any distance island.
Bearing in mind your instructions to return as soon as practicable to Hilton Head any portion of the force not indispensable for the defense of this place, I have given much consideration to the question of the minimum garrison which would render the position secure, and have concluded that two regiments ought to be ample, provided a naval force
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