War of the Rebellion: Serial 047 Page 0320 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

Search Civil War Official Records

perhaps; which woods the general long ago ordered felled, but which, like many other things, could not be done in time for want of labor. Pardon me for saying, by the way, that I am surprised that you seem to lay so much stress upon these unfilled woods. If we had had a fair view of the enemy's operations, we could not have done more than we did to prevent their landing on Morris Island, with our limited number of troops, for surely men are as important as works to prevent the landing of an enemy and his taking possession of any given point. The more deficient we were in adequate works and ordnance, the greater our need of men and muskets to counterbalance the deficiency. If the general could have spared more infantry from James Island and thrown them upon Morris Island, we might have prevented the landing, or, at lest, the permanent lodgment of the enemy on the south end of Morris Island. but how was this possible when you impartially consider his return of the available force at his command? Let me beg your candid attention to the fact that General Pemberton' estimate of the forces necessary for the defense of the First Military District (that embracing Charleston and its surroundings, Morris, James, and Sullivan's Islands, &c.)- and which estimate General Beauregard, when he succeeded him, accepted as him minimum-was 19,450, while we only had in this district, on the 10th of July last, when the enemy made his attack, a force of 5,861 of all arms. Now, as to the distribution of the force.

General Pemberton estimated that James Island required 11,500. On the 10th of July. General Beauregard had on that island (which he has always regarded and reported as the real key to Charleston) only 2,906- in round numbers, 3,000 men. Could he have depleted it further to re-enforce Morris Island without imminent risk? Suppose the enemy had made a feint upon Morris Island, and had concentrated his serious attack upon James Island, which was his almost open gate to Charleston, how could we have dispensed with a man from the defense of that long line of Works (7 miles), which General Pemberton and General Beauregard both estimated ought to have 11,500 men to hold it? We had on Morris Island at the time of the attack but 927 men all told-say 1,000. What could we except them to do, and how could we add to their number until the real plan of the enemy was fully developed? I feel confident that when you shall have read the general's report touching, as it doubtless will, fully upon all these points, and if you will refer to his recent letters, on file in the Department, that you will not only acquit him of any want of vigilance but will give him credit for having accomplished so much with his limited means and resources. These are no times for crimination or recrimination. My disposition is very averse to harsh criticism. I known our pressing need for men and heavy ordnance. I believe you conscientiously employ them in the way that best commends itself to your judgment. You may fail to achieve great successes or to avert great disasters, but I do not believe it will be from indolence, indifference, or want of the best forethought you can bring to bear upon each subject-matter for your decision. But you must bear with me if my conviction of General Beauregard's eminent skill, and my personal knowledge of his personal devotion to the great cause which we all have at heart, and his ceaseless and untiring energy, make me somewhat sensitive as to imputations affecting his regulation.

I hope you will pardon this somewhat lengthy explanation of the