and these tolerably secure so long as the defenders have a force of light artillery. The infantry force, unless a large quantity [is] at our disposal, need be no larger than to support the artillery against a sudden attack and give confidence to the population. Moreover, with a small force in position, the enemy, it appears to me, will be obliged to take time if he wishes to cut our communication and land in strength.
With regard to Edisto, with the three rivers held as proposed, our inland navigation south of Jehossee being gone, we can block Dawho on both sides of the Edisto Ferry, or one to be established at Pineberry or vicinity. The obstructions there can be defended by riflemen, assisted by light guns from Willstown Bluff, the place of obstruction on Paw Paw. If it be possible to place another battery on Edisto or Seabrook's Island, if an enemy passes he cannot cut off the trooped on Edisto, who can gain the main before he can remove the obstructions. Not many are wanted there, if they can, under a proper officer, be made moveable and vigilant to protect property and to retire.
The troops on John's Island, should the enemy attempt to run by and force Church Flats battery, can fall back through Wadmalaw to a church, which is a fine position for a battle on a small scale, and where the main fight should be on John's Island. If Church Flats are forced, they can cross the Stono by Legareville, between Stono and Battery Island; or, should the enemy land on the main south of Church Flats, the communication is direct to the lines on James Island or the city. As a defense for Charleston it seems to me that the farther out our posts are, so long as our force is not too small here, the longer the enemy will take to make his attack.
I have written at length, as I shall not probably have an opportunity of seeing the commanding general on the subject soon. but we want two or four more regiments to fulfill these objects, and I regret to state that under present arrangements they are coming slowly.
My commission as brigadier-general dates August 15.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. RIPLEY,
HDQRS. FIRST MIL. DIST., DEP'T OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
Georgetown, December 6, 1861.
Major T. A. WASHINGTON,
MAJOR: Your of the 3rd received* this morning. The additional 150 32 round shot was received yesterday.
Not having had any authority over the engineers in charge of works here until within the past week, although for two months in charge of the district, I have been unable, until authorized as above, to carry out any of my own vies in regard to the defenses of coast in this district. I had already directed the abandonment of the work at North Santee and ordered the guns thee removed. They will be temporarily placed on the work at Cat Island. Should I make any other disposition of the guns, I will inform you of it. I would place them higher up the river, but there is no position of them without incurring heavy expense in piling, &c., the land being all swamp or rice land and below the level of
22 R R-VOL VI