attack upon Charleston, would ascend the North Edisto Island either at White Point or Simon's Landing. I hope you have this point well
watched, and your forces prepared to throw them in advance of the enemy to cut them off from the railroad, and if forced to retire to place your troops so as to defend the route to Charleston. Should your discover a movement of the enemy in this direction, I desire you to notify General Pemberton as well as General Ripley, the former of whom can by a flank movement press upon the rear of the enemy, while the latter can move directly to your support. In this connection I deem it proper that you should hold your troops as concentrated as possible, and watch your exposed points by strong guards. If necessary to retain troops on Wadmalaw and John's Islands, they should be light, not encumbered with baggage, with communications free to retire to the main and join your main body. I take it for granted that everything that can be removed from these islands, and indeed from your front, has already been brought off by the inhabitants, and that no crops can be raised there the ensuing year. The country therefore does not require troops for protection, but merely to watch the enemy and guard the avenues of approach.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
SAVANNAH, GA., February 20, 1862.
Major General J. C. PEMBERTON,
Commanding, &c., Pocotaligo, S. C.:
GENERAL: The observations of Generals Ripley and Evans lead them to believe that the enemy in his attack upon Charleston will ascend the North Edisto as high as White Point and Simon's Landing, and make a dash at the railroad, of which he will be within 7 miles, so as to cut our communications. It will be apparent to you that this is one of our weak points, and is as likely to be seized upon by the enemy as any other. General Evans has been requested to give it careful attention, and in the event of the movement apprehended to give you notice. I wish you to be prepared, therefore, by a flank movement to intercept him, and, if possible, place yourself in his front, so if he is not driven back that we can fall upon him with our whole force in his movement against Charleston. I have always thought it probable that preparatory to an attack upon Charleston or Savannah the enemy would attempt to seize the line of the railroad both east and west of the waters of the Broad River, so as to isolate your force, the strength of which is probably known to them, as well as the cities themselves.
I wish you to be prepared against such a movement, and have your forces well in hand to move to any threatened point and take direction of the operations. I take it for granted that all property of value has been removed from your front, and that no crops can be raised in the country of the Broad, Combahee, and Ashepoo Rivers, and that the resources in this vicinity are nigh exhausted. The disposition of the troops, therefore, should look rather to their concentration to resist the enemy than to hold the country.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,