CIRCULAR.] HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. C., GA., AND FLA., Charleston, S. C., November 25, 1863.
GENERAL: The following views of the commanding general are communicated for your information:
1st. Further depletion of the already too weak forces left for the defense of Charleston is improper, and, therefore, you must depend solely on the troops of your command to repel any attack of the enemy by moving rapidly your cavalry and light batteries to any point in your district which may be threatened. Should you be compelled to abandon the line of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, you will retire, fighting obstinately, so as to protect as much and as far as practicable the country in your rear, especially the line of the South Carolina Railroad, for which latter object the best defensive line would be the "overflows," the Ashley River from Bee's Ferry to the Little Lakes; thence across to Gioham's Ferry, on the Edisto River, and along that river to the South Carolina Railroad bridge above Branchville, and thence along as near the southern boundary line of Barnwell District as shall be determined by a close reconnaissance by General Walker's engineer officer.
2nd. The line of the "overflows" and the works in advance of it along the Stono will be defended by the troops under Brigadier-General Wise, commanding the Sixth Military District, together with such additional troops as he may receive from Brigadier-General Taliaferro's command, the Seventh Military Districts.
4th. The forces under Brigadier-General Robertson are intrusted with the defense of the line from Bossua Creek to Little Lakes; thence across to Gioham's Ferry, on the Edisto, and the Four Hole Creek. Colonel Harris, chief engineer, has been directed to throw up certain defensive works across the country from the Ashley to the Edisto.
5th. The line in rear of the Edisto from Four Hole Creek to the South Carolina Railroad bridge above Branchville will be defended by Colonel [J. H.] Williams' regiment of State troops, already there, re-enforced by a portion of Brigadier-General Walker's command, until they can be relieved by other troops in the department.
6th. From the Edisto to to the Savannah River, near the southern boundary of Barnwell District, will be defended or guarded, as far as practicable, by the remainder of Brigadier-General Walker's command. That officer will construct such field works, rifle-pits, and abatis, and make such overflows as the means at his disposition and the nature of the country will permit.
7th. Brigadier-Generals Robertson and Walker will resort to such expedients as the beating of drums, firing of salutes and rockets at or near their line of pickets, as will deceive the enemy. A temporary concentration of cavalry at various points near the enemy's pickets and lighting numerous camp-fires at night must also be resorted to as frequently as possible. In other words, we must make up for our deficiency in numbers as far as practicable by ingenuity and activity. A thorough knowledge of the country should give us an advantage over our adversary which must be improved and made available to the utmost; and each district commander will be expected to provide himself with an ample number of tried and reliable guides.