Cut, for the passage of gunboat-rams from the Ashley to the Stono, in order that they may operate in either river according to circumstances; we will thus be enabled to retake possession of and hold Cole's Island, thereby doing away with the necessity of keeping so large a force on James Island as is now required for the protection of this city from an approach of the enemy in that direction.
According to the best information the whole length of the excavation will be about 1,000 yards by about 2 1/2 feet in depth and by about 25 feet in width, or 7,000 cubic yards in all. I desire the whole matter to be done as quietly as possible, in order not to awaken the suspicions of the enemy's gunboats in the StoNumbers We may then have the opportunity of taking them and then of reopening our inland water communications with Fort Royal, or we may obtain stronger engines for our iron gunboats and rams here.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
COLUMBUS, GA., December 3, 1862.
(Received Adjt. and Insp. General 's Office, Jan. 7, 1863.)
DEAR SIR: I trust you will pardon me for trespassing on your time with this unofficial letter in reference to the condition of the defenses of Middle Florida.
I am now on my way to my post and am not as fully informed as I hope to be after reaching there, but I have learned enough to induce the writing of this letter.
The great apprehension which has been felt in Southwestern Georgia, as well perhaps as the upper portion of Middle Florida, has been from the enemy coming up the Apalachicola River and thence up the Flint and Chattahoochee; hence their efforts have been directed to the defenses of these rivers, and particularly the Apalachicola. I think that the arrangements made for putting obstructions in the Apalachicola are ample, and I have no doubt we will soon be in a good condition to resist successfully any attempt of the enemy to come up the river with their boats. But to my mind the point of danger is in a direction which either has not been looked to, or at all events is not guarded against. With the map before you I think I can present the matter pretty clearly to your mind. The movement of the enemy will not, in my opinion, be up the Apalachicola, but they will attempt either to land at Shell Point, about the mouth of the Ocklockonnee, to move on Saint Mark's, or else going directly to Saint Mark's (which is in a defenseless condition), land their forces, march upon Tallahassee, and thence to the Apalachicola River; or, leaving Tallahassee to the right, go directly to the river. Attacking in the rear our batteries on the river they must fall, as at present organized, and then the removal of the obstructions and the free passage of the river is simply a question of time. With the Apalachicola River and the country which they will have possession of in carrying out these movements, not only Middle Florida but Southwestern Georgia must be lost.
The importance of holding Southwestern Georgia cannot be overestimated. It is the only section of our State which was blessed with good crops this year and is now looked to for supplies both of corn and bacon.
To meet these apprehended attacks the force now in Middle Florida