War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0819 Chapter XXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,

Charleston, S. C., March 12, 1863.

M. L. BONHAM,

Governor of the State of South Carolina, Columbia:

DEAR SIR: Your communication of the 9th instant has been received. To say that I have not been disappointed by the disappointed by the decision announced would not be frank with you. I was fully alive to the sacrifices and hardships which a call on your militia must entail and not unconscious of the prejudicial effects that would flow from the withdrawal of some 1,500 men from their avocations (planting) at this season of the year, but at the same time I have regard the alternative consequences that might be involved without the presence here of every arms-bearing man your State can raise.

I know it has been promised that all assistance shall be rendered us here in the hour of attack that may be found practicable. I know, too, that two partially unarmed brigades have been sent me from North Carolina, and another brigade is held in readiness to be sent from the same quarter, the three brigades constituting, I believe, Ransom's entire division, which figures so prominently in Colonel Mile's accounts of the assistance that is to be rendered in due season. If an attack is to be made at all be assured one brigade added to the troops already in the department will not make a sufficient force upon which should be devolved the maintenance of such vast public interests as are at stake in this military department.

On assuming command I called on my predecessor to state the minimum force that he regarded essential for the defense of Charleston and Savannah and the several approaches thereto. That minimum force he estimated as follows:

First Military District of South Carolina.

Infantry....................................... 15,600

Heavy artillery................................ 2,850

Cavalry........................................ 1,000

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Total all arms................................. 19,450

And nine batteries of light artillery.

Second Military District of South Carolina.

Infantry........................................ 5,000

Heavy artillery................................. 200

Cavalry......................................... 800

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All arms........................................ 6,000

And two batteries light artillery.

Third District South Carolina.

All arms........................................ 5,000

That is, a force of 30,450 men of all arms. Instead of those, I have now, all told, but 17,447 men for the duty.

For the District of Georgia General Pemberton estimated as the minimum force essential:

Infantry........................................ 10,000

Heavy artillery................................. 1,200

Cavalry......................................... 2,000

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Total all arms.................................. 13,200

And eight batteries of light artillery.