News has been received to-day from the Governor of South Carolina, and from Charleston, to the effect that the Ironside and other iron-clads are off the port of Charleston; that the British war steamer Cadmus has taken on board the English consul and family, and that the blockading vessels are all outside Charleston bar. Governor Bonham thinks, from these indications, that an attack will be made on Charleston within forty-eight hours.
General Beauregard wants back the troops which he sent to re-enforce Wilmington, and more. General Whiting has been ordered to send him one brigade and to have a second in readiness to move at a moment's notice, and General French has been directed to supply form his command troops to take the places of those sent from Wilmington.
General French's remaining force will not be adequate to guard the southern line of railroad communication, and, as he can only be reenforced from your army, the President wishes you to consider the subject and advise him thereon.
The Governor of South Carolina has retained, for third days, the State Reserve, of about 6,000 men.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
G. W. C. LEE,
Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Numbers 17.
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., March 6, 1863.
In view of the necessities of the military situation, the impossibility of obtaining from Government all the troops required for service in this department, and the paramount importance (in view of existing complications of foreign policy) of at once placing strong garrisons of thoroughly acclimated troops in the Southern forts and posts of this department, in order that the troops now there may be used in the more posts being peculiarly liable to the ravages of climatic and epidemic diseases), all the able-bodied male negroes between the ages of eighteen and fifty within the military lines of the Department of the South who are not, on the day of the date of this order, regularly and permanently employed in the quartermaster and commissary departments, or as the private servants of officers, within the allowance made by the Army Regulations, are hereby drafted into the military service of the United States, to serve as non-commissioned officers and soldiers in the various regiments and brigades new organized, and in process of being organized, by Brigadier General Rufus Saxton, specially authorized to raise such troops by orders of the War Department.
Until other arrangements can be made, the families of all negroes thus drafted will be provided for by orders which General Saxton has authority to issue; but it is hoped and confidently believed that, in the present scarcity of labor in the department, few such families will be thrown upon the Government for support.
In the organization of this garrison force, the major-general commanding would appeal earnestly to the patriotism and common seance of the officers and men of this command, while asking that every facility be afforded to the raising fa these subordinate troops, who will be of service to the country, not merely by such by such soldierly proficiency as they may themselves attain under the tutelage of white officers in the various details of garrison duty, but who will also, man for man and regi-