HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, &C.,
Savannah, Ga., February 17, 1862.
Colonel C. H. OLMSTEAD,
Commanding, &c., Fort Pulaski:
COLONEL: From the position the enemy has taken in the Savannah River, it becomes necessary that you look to your defense in that direction. I therefore recommend that, if necessary for that purpose, you shift some of your barbette guns to the gorge of the work, and the casemates in the northwest angle, which bear up the river, be provided with guns. I would also recommend that the parapets of the mortar batteries be carried all around, so that the mortars can be protected from the fire up the river as well as from Tybee Island, and that everything be done to strengthen the defenses of your work in the rear. As far as it is possible your safety will be anxiously cared for, and for the present your communication with the city will have to be by light boats over the march and through Wilmington Narrows to Causton's Bluff, or by any other mode by which you can better accomplish it.
I am, sir,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND MILITARY DISTRICT,
Charleston, February 17, 1862.
Captain W. H. TAYLOR,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Savannah, Ga.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter of General Lee of the 15th.
The only indications of an attack on Charleston are those reported by General Evans and such information as was derived from Mr. Black, the prisoner who was at Hilton Head. I consider these vague, and were it not for the bitter animosity against this city by the enemy should not be much alarmed. As for the artillery companies, General Lee will agree with me that properly they cannot be spared, but I think a certain number might be sent with a comparatively small risk. I should send them from Lamar's and White's battalions, which, although not by any means perfect, have had some little practice.
Fort Sumter has now four well-instructed companies in garrison, the others being recruits. Castle Pinckney is garrisoned by one company, which relieved the State volunteer company under Captain Chichester. Colonel Hagood requires an additional force of artillery men at Stono, and General Evans calls on me for guns and men, which I have been unable to furnish.
The troops are holding themselves in readiness to march at a moment's notice, but are suffering from decease, as I have informed you.
If the general thinks the necessity absolute, I will endeavor to send the troops required with as little risk as possible. Meanwhile the people here are under a little excitement and fear an attack. I am not going to allay it, hoping they may volunteer at once.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. RIPLEY,