War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0394 COAST OF S. C., GA., AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

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its communication cannot be cut off, it may be retained. Otherwise it should be abandoned.

A dispatch was sent to you this morning on this subject, and I now wish you, in reviewing the defensive positions in your district, to see what changes and improvements can be made in the number and strength of the points occupied. I fear but little aid can be offered you from without the State of Florida. You must therefore use every exertion to make available the resources in it, and apply the means at your disposal to the best advantage. Whatever can be given from the means under my control will be cheerfully accorded. You must, however, prepare to concentrate your forces at the point liable to be attacked, and make every arrangement to secure the troops, guns, and munitions of war at such points as you may deem proper to relinquish.

I am, &c.,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.

SAVANNAH, GA., February 19, 1862.

Brigadier General R. S. RIPLEY,

Commanding, &c., Charleston:

GENERAL: From the progress of the war, it seems plain that the enemy, when ready to move against Charleston, should he select it as a point of attack, will advance in great force. We should therefore be prepared to concentrate rapidly in his front, on the lines that can be best defended, so as to be able to contend to the utmost of our strength. Beyond these lines every preparation should be made to withdraw guns and minutions of war when it becomes necessary or when the route of defense, our lines could be contracted, and exposed or distant points abandoned.

The batteries at Cole's Island, for instance, would not be available, provided the enemy should advance by the Edisto, and, unless arrangements are made to withdraw them, would be lost. If they can be reached in great force by the enemy's gunboats they might be suppressed, and the Stono seized as an avenue of approach. If it is necessary to maintain these batteries, they should be made as strong as possible and their communications rendered practicable in case of a reverse. So at other exposed points.

I am in favor of abandoning all exposed points as far as possible within reach of the enemy's fleet of gunboats and of taking interior positions, where we can meet on more equal terms. All our resources should be applied to those positions. I wish you therefore to review the whole subject, and see what changes or improvements can be made, both as to the importance and strength of the positions retained.

I am, &c.,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.

SAVANNAH, GA., February 20, 1862.

Brigadier General N. G. EVANS,

Commanding, &c., Adams Run:

GENERAL: If I have correctly gathered your opinion, you seem to think it probable that the enemy, in his advance upon the railroad or in