Port Royal. One of the monitors is at Hilton Head, and five are still in the North Edisto. Nor has the number of their gunboats or transports diminished, or at any time recently been increased, as must have been the case had a material removal of troops taken places.
While, therefore, I could not on my own responsibility further deplete the force in this department, of course I shall promptly carry out any orders which the War department may deem it proper to give. As for myself, my earnest desire os to be useful to the utmost extent of my capacities, in any position or command to which it may please the President to assign me, but is left to my own personal preferences, I would desire in the field, for which I consider myself best fitted by my taste and studies.
I shall observe closely the movements of the enemy at Hilton Head, with a view to ascertaining whether any material reduction of his force has taken or is taking place, which will be promptly reported for the information of the War Department.
I shall also ask Major-General Maury to keep me advised of the movements of the enemy is in front, and of the means of defense at his deposition, and shall communicate with General Johnston.
I beg to inquire whether, if I go to Mobile, it will form a part of my present department, or will I be relieved from this command and fall under the orders of General Johnston?
I repeat, my chief desire is to be useful, and, if desired by the War Department, I will cheerfully repair at once, temporarily, to Mobile, examine the works and means of defense there, and advise with General Maury touching them.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., July 20, 1863.
SIR: Your letter if the 12th instant* was handed me some days ago, but my incessant occupation with the current duties of my position at such a juncture has not allowed me time for the preparation of such as answer as could give the Department any very clear knowledge of the details of the occurrences on Mobile Island. A full report will be made as soon as subordinate officers shall have placed these headquarters in official possession of the facts connected with their operations, and until then I must ask the patience of the Department, especially since the service and thoughts of all here are really necessary for the efficient discharge of the momentous duties instructed to us. Preliminary to that report it may be of interest, however, to write somewhat less formally and generally of affairs here than in a battle report.
The enemy having gained a lodgment on Moris Island, it was at once whether he could be dislodged wren re-enforcements had been received, and decided to be impracticable, for reasons that will be exhibited in a special paper hereafter.+ It next became the question to determine what modifications in the system of defense
* See Addenda Numbers 1, p. 59.
+ See Addenda Numbers 2, p. 60.