War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0113 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

are unreliable troops] and eight light batteries. If one portion of the railroad and country between Charleston and Savannah is worth guarding, the rest is in the same condition; hence, if 1,000 infantry and two batteries be sent to your district, nearly a like number must also be sent to the Second District [General Robertson's], thus reducing by over 2,000 men the already too weak forces absolutely required for the defense of Charleston. To represent things in a more tangible light, let us assume that the enemy has 5,000 men on Morris Island and Folly Island, and 10,000 more on transports in North Edisto, Saint Helena Sound, and Port Royal. Suppose that with these 10,000 men he should make a strong demonstration on Hardeeville, Grahamville, and Coosawhatchie Landing with about one-half of this force, holding the rest in reserve; suppose, also, that I should send to your assistance about 2,000 additional men from Charleston and 1,000 from the Second Military District; suppose, then, that early in the evening the enemy should re-embark 4,000 of the men landed by him, leaving about 1,000 cavalry to mask his movement, and that he should start at once the balance of his forces for James or Sullivan's Island, where they would arrive about daybreak. He would be able to commence his attack before you could be made aware of his departure from your front; the troops sent to re-enforce you from Charleston and the Second Military District could not be returned here and be in position at the point attacked until about twenty-four hours after its probable fall into the hands of the enemy. The question then arises, Is it prudent to risk the safety of Charleston for that of the railroad and country lying between it and Savannah? No one could hesitate in the selection.

I have not referred to withdrawing troops from Savannah to be sent to your assistance for the simple reason that only 1,050 infantry and four light batteries have been left there as a support to its many forts and batteries, the rest of its infantry and light artillery having been brought to this place for its defense.

From the above statement you will perceive the impractibility of carrying out your suggestion. Yourself and General Robertson must make with your present forces [which consist almost entirely of cavalry] the best show of resistance to the demonstrations of the enemy, contesting every inch of ground, moving your forces rapidly from one point threatened to the other, and, when compelled, retire, fighting, so as to guard as much as practicable the country in your rear and the South Carolina Railroad from the bridge across the Edisto, near Branchville, toward Charleston; the Edisto and Ashley Rivers offering a good defensive lintel to make a final stand. Further instructions on the subject will be sent you as soon as practicable.

I must advise, to deceive the enemy, the frequent use of signal rockets, salutes of light artillery, and beating of drums in the vicinity of your outposts, not so near, however, as to indicate their true positions.

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding.

[Indorsement No. 2.]

HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., November 28, 1863.

P. S.-Since the date of this indorsement, Clingman's brigade [1,810 effectives] has been ordered to North Carolina.

G. T. B.

8 R R-VOL XXVIII, PT I