War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0626 COASTS OF S.C., GA., AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

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as applicable now as then. In consequence of the evident weakness of the points to which I referred General Pemberton ordered one battalion of sharpshooters to Grahamville and one to this post. He informed me that this was the only re-enforcement he could spare.

Since then my force has been reduced by two pieces of artillery taken from Hardeeville and the battalion of sharpshooters from this post. The battery of Captain Stephen Elliott has consisted of only four effective pieces, all of which I considered necessary at this point. The seven companies infantry posted at Hardeeville are part of the flank and rear defense of Savannah, and could not with safety be diminished, especially as the companies are much reduced. When the enemy make the attempt to cut the railroad in my opinion it will be at some point between Grahamville and the bridge over the Combahee River.

It is the line most accessible and farthest removed from succor. There is reported by my pickets an increase of the force of the enemy on the south side of Coosaw River. On account of the peculiar topography of the country between the Coosawhatchie and Combahee Rivers the cavalry will have to operate on foot to avail themselves of the natural and artificial positions of defense. There are very few points at which it would be practicable or advisable to operate mounted. I should have bayonets for a stubborn resistance. I would inform the general commanding that I have had a secure boat bridge built over the Salkehatchie River 5 miles north of where the railroad crosses. This gives me a safe line of retreat and concentration toward Walterborough should the railroad be taken.

I judge that the force west of Broad River should serve for the flank defense of Savannah. I am informed that the only practicable point for crossing the Coosawhatchie River north of the railroad is 18 miles north, at Hickory Hill post-office. There is a crossing practicable for cavalry and infantry at the point where the Coosawhatchie and Tulifiny separate; a crossing lower down practicable for infantry only.

I will send you in a short time a connected sketch of the lines of defense and the detached works thrown up in this district. I would observe, however, that these works were made for the occupation of 10,000 men, which was the force assembled in this district during last winter, with artillery in proportion.

The change of the policy of the Government in abandoning the defense of the coast by heavy artillery and reducing the force to a corps of observation (composed largely of cavalry) rather than defense renders a large part of these works comparatively useless. They can be used for retarding the advance of the enemy, but the final stand should be nearer the line of the railroad, to give time for re-enforcements to arrive. In that connection I need not call your attention to my dependence upon the rapid transmission of troops in case of an attack in force.

My desire is to inform the general commanding fully on all matters of interest to the defense of this district. I shall take pleasure in carrying out any instructions he may think proper to send.

I respectfully forward the instructions furnished to the pickets and to the commanding officer at Hardeeville.

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

W. S. WALKER,

Colonel, Commanding.