SAVANNAH, January 8, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: From a paragraph in the Charleston and Savannah journals,, to which my attention has been called, I fear I may have inadvertently misled the Department as to my opinion of the strength of the defenses of those cities and of my ability to prevent the enemy from penetrating into the interior of the country. In my letters describing the works and batteries in progress of construction, to which I cannot now refer, I intended to express the hope rather than the confident assurance that when completed, armed, and manned, if properly fought, the enemy's approach ought to be successfully resisted. I am aware that our soldiers will be an overmatch to the numbers of our opponents.
Our works are not yet finished; their progress is slow; guns are required for their armament, and I have not received as many troops from South Carolina and Georgia as I at first expected. The forces of the enemy are accumulating, and apparently increase faster than ours. I have feared, if handled with proportionate ability with his means of speedy transportation and concentration, it would be impossible to gather troops necessarily posted over a long line in sufficient strength to oppose sudden movements.
Wherever his fleet can be brought no opposition to his landing can be made except within range of our fixed batteries. We have nothing to oppose to its heavy guns, which sweep over the low banks of this country with irresistible force. The farther he can be withdrawn from his floating batteries the weaker he will become, and lines of defense, covering objects of attack, have been selected with this view.
I have thought his purpose would be to seize upon the Charleston and Savannah Railroad near the head of Broad River, sever the line of communication between those cities with one of his columns of land troops, and with his other two and his fleet by water envelop alternately each of those cities. This would be a difficult combination for us successfully to resist. I have been preparing to meet it with all the means in my power, and shall continue to the end. Any troops or guns that can be withdrawn from other points will greatly aid in this result.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
SAVANNAH, GA., January 15, 1862.
Lieutenant Colonel J. GORGAS,
Chief of Ordnance, Richmond, Va.:
COLONEL: During my recent visit to Fernandina I learned from Captain McBlair, C. S. Navy, that two 8-inch columbiads were en route for that place in addition to the two that reached there on the 11th. Captain Cuyler, ordnance officer at this place, informs me by a dispatch from your office he is informed that four 8-inch columbiads are on the way to Fernandina, for which he is preparing carriages.
I am glad to find that you can supply these guns, for they will aid materially in the defense of Cumberland Harbor, and I hope that you may be able to furnish others for this point. If you could send one or two columbiads to Savannah and give me six guns, 24-pounders, 32-pounders, or heavier, for Brunswick, I should feel much better satisfied