cently deserted Fort Sumter and went to the fleet, and that there is great disaffection among the garrison. I hear that the cannon have been spiked, &c. I hear also that the division amongst the officers has produced the worst effects as to the strict organization. The example of Fort Jackson may have produced its effects upon our garrison also.
I beg leave most respectfully to suggest that two native-born artillery companies from Charleston troops be immediately ordered into the fort, so as to give a feeling of security as a guard over disaffection. I would most respectfully suggest that Captain Boyce's fine artillery company be ordered on Sullivan's Island, to be in position as a guard to defend Moultrie from any disaffection amongst the regular infantry regiment stationed there, and they perhaps might be of great service in garrisoning Fort Moultrie as an artillery company.
It is too late in the season for the enemy to send any land force to invest Charleston regularly, but they may send their gunboats any day into the harbor, and if so the great fight will be from the forts at first.
I hope and pray that it is well known that the defense is to be desperate, and if they can be repulsed even with the city in ruins we should unanimously prefer it. It is due to our cause and our country that we should make a desperate fight in Charleston. We can afford to lose our city, but not our honor. I will stand by you in anything you desire. I pray you will excuse my writing thus freely to you.
I suggest the Washington Artillery, Captain Walter, Marion Artillery, Captain Parker, and the Palmetto Guard, Captain Buist, as fit to be sent into Fort Sumter. These men would restore confidence, and it is all-important that this confidence should be restored.
In great haste, but very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. W. PICKENS.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Charleston, May 23, 1862.
Honorable JAMES CHESNUT, Jr.,
Chief of Department of Military:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 20th instant, bringing to my notice certain reports touching the loyalty of "a large portion of the garrison of Fort Sumter," extending [you say] to threats of mutiny and refusal to fire against the enemy if he should appear. Previous to the receipt of your letter I had directed Brigadier-General Ripley to cause an investigation to be made as to the reliability of similar reports current in this city, and which I have since found are traceable to the same sources as those brought by yourself to my attention. It may be that there are disaffected individuals among the rank and file of Fort Sumter, as there probably are disaffected individuals in most of the corps in Confederate service, but that this feeling extends to any considerable number I see no reason to believe. Colonel Calhoun and the officers of his command, to use the words of the colonel himself, "have confidence in the courage, patriotism, and discipline of the men," and he adds, "I myself have no misgivings."
Private John Aiken, of Company I, First Regiment South Carolina Artillery, is now in confinement, and will be brought to trial before a general court-martial, charged with making use of seditious language in presence of Mr. James W. Simons, a citizen of Charleston. If there is truth in his allegations, I see no procedure so likely to develop as