War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0359 Chapter XXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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advantage of having your front more completely covered by gunboats; but it may be attended with disadvantage, which I do not at present see. I have no doubt you will be able to hold your position whichever line, in your own good judgment, you may determine on.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

D. HUNTER,

Major-General, Commanding.

GENERAL ORDERS,

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Numbers 15.

Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., June 21, 1862.

Major General D. HUNTER,

Commanding Department of the South, Hilton Head, S. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st instant, and in pursuance of the discretion which it leaves with me I shall maintain, for the present at least, the camp at Grimball's. This decision, founded on the information now here, is most expedient.

I shall go on with the fortifications of both camps, or rather with a line covering both, which when completed will, I believe, render them secure from any attack the enemy is likely to make. This line involves but little more labor than would be required for the single camp, while the space covered is largely increased.

While I state my confident belief that we can maintain our position on James Island for a considerable time-perhaps an indefinite one-I am still bound to say in all frankness that I do not understand the object of the occupation at all, unless the command be sufficiently re-enforced to enable us to prosecute the attack upon Charleston. You will remember that in regard to the campaign I was never consulted, and that I do not know upon what assurances of additional troops the plan was based. I am here as the commander of the forces now on the island, and in regard to these I have full information. Beyond this my knowledge does not go.

Whether, then, it is expedient to hold on to the last-to fight the possession of our present position foot by foot in the expectation of adequate force for the prosecution of the undertaking and finally to evacuate if forced to do so by overwhelming numbers-or whether to withdraw sooner, and to use the excellent troops we have elsewhere because no reasonable prospect of such aid is to be anticipated, are questions which I am not in position to decide.