I have never been able to control the force necessary for such an undertaking. General Mercer could have it done.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
W. S. WALKER,
SAVANNAH, February 14, 1863.
Verbal instructions were this day given at Pocotaligo to Generals Haggod and Walker relative to their future movements in case of an attack by a strong force of the enemy, and they were ordered to furnish my headquarters with a report of said instructions.
G. T. B.,
CHARLESTON, S. C., February 10, 1863.
Colonel W. PORCHER MILES,
Member of Congress, Richmond, Va.:
DEAR COLONEL: Yours of the 3rd and 5th instant* have been received. I believe that even the blind can now see what the enemy's intentions are or were before our naval onslaught upon their fleet here. If they had intended seriously to attack Wilmington and the railroads you refer to they would have done so before withdrawing part if not most of their forces from New Berne and whilst they had two iron-clads, the Passiac and Montauk, at Beufort, N. C. But these and six or seven others having gone Charleston or Savannah was their objective point, probably the former, before the attack on their fleet, as already stated, for Savannah is only comparatively a secondary place, the river being narrow and shallow cannot admit of so many monitors for an attack. The port is, moreover, already thoroughly blockaded by the enemy's possession of Fort Pulaski, whereas Charleston is still open to the under-water commerce of Europe. Again a serious attack on Savannah would not have been proceeded by demonstrations in that quarter like those on Genesis may be somewhat disappointed in their monitors and may think our strength here much greater than it is.
In the present uncertainty of knowing what they intend doing, of it be dangerous to leave Wilmington without a proper complement of troops, how is it with regard to Charleston, that warlike Mecca of the Abolitionists, when it takes about one week to transport 5,000 men from Willington to that city?
I am aware the problem is difficult to solve, but the great secret of war is to know when and what to give up in order to see more important points.
My duty is to defend Charleston and Savannah; hence I may think them more important than they really are; but with the present condition of our railroad, if we are await for the defense of either of those cities the departure of troops from Virginia after the enemy shall have commenced their attack, Wilmington, Goldsborough, and Weldon might as well be in their possession beforehand.