We would want a steamboat about two weeks probably. One could be procured here, but of larger size than is necessary or desirable, and at a corresponding increased rate of charter; hence I have thought it proper to send Mr. Grant to obtain one of the small boats which I understand is now at Savannah in Government employ, if practicable. The work of procuring the timber, iron, &c., has already commenced, and matters will be pushed forward with all the celerity possible.
Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. RAINS,
Major, Artillery and Ordnance, &c.
SAVANNAH, GA., February 22, 1862.
His Excellency JOSEPH E. BROWN,
Governor of Georgia, Milledgeville:
GOVERNOR: In the present condition of affairs the connection between the cities of Charleston and Savannah by the Charleston and Savannah Railroad is very precarious. Should the force on this coast be re-enforced, an attempt will be made in all probability to cut the road between the two cities, and, in view of this contingency, I have the honor to call your attention to the importance to the defense of the cities of Charleston, Augusta, and Savannah, as well as to the States of Georgia and South Carolina, of connecting the Augusta and Savannah Railroad with the Georgia or South Carolina Railroad at Augusta. I am informed that the Augusta and Savannah Railroad Company is willing to build the connection at its own expense, provided they be allowed to take the route which they would prefer, and which the president of the road (Dr. Willis) informs, me is but one-fourth of a mile in distance, and if permission were given at once, the connection could be completed in one week. I am moreover informed by Dr. Willis that the railroad company will make the connection, taking the route selected by the city council of Augusta-more than twice the distance, however-if the State of Georgia will direct it and assume the expense. In the latter case, no doubt the State would be reimbursed by the Confederate Government, but all considerations of time and expense would seem to recommend that the former plan be adopted, and I earnestly request that, if there is no insurmountable objection to its being carried out, your excellency lend your aid and influence to have it done immediately.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, &C.,
February 23, 1862.
Major GEORGE W. RAINS,
MAJOR: I am glad to learn by your letter of the 22nd instant, that you examination of the Savannah River has been successful, and that you have selected a point suitable for obstructing its navigation. I request that you will commence immediately the constructions of the work, push it forward with vigor, and at the same time erect such batteries, entrenchments, and rifle pits as in your judgment will best defend it, and which we may have the means of arming and manning.