I have directed that the Forty-sixth Virginia Regiment, General Wise's brigade, be located at a point on the Fort Johnson road, so as to support the Fort Johnson command, or the command at Haskell, Ryan, Tatom, &c., and have also detached one regiment of the brigade of General Colquitt, for the same purpose, locating them at the same central point.
I have directed that the utmost vigilance be observer, and that the men on the eastern lines sleep at their posts on the lines, and the whole command of infantry and light artillery within this district be in readiness to move at a moment's notice, night or day.
I have also to state that General Colquitt pickets the south end of the island, and supplies two-thirds (200 men) of the garrison at Fort Sumter. Colonel Simonton reports that the enemy doubled his pickets on our southern front yesterday, and the John's Island scouts report that two transports have arrived with troops at Folly Island, from the south.
I mention this to show that it may be somewhat hazardous to weaken the force on the southern lines, but to submit, that, if in the opinion of the commanding general, the addition of the two regiments referred to is not sufficient, I will have to order another of Colquitt's to the eastern face.
I take occasion, also, to suggest that the co-operation of the navy is very essential in any boat attack upon Fort Johnson or Shell Point. Our guns at Fort Johnson, designed for harbor defense, do not traverse much to the right of Fort Sumter, and are of no avail to resist an attack on Shell Point.
I have understood (unofficially) that orders had been issued requiring one of the iron-clads to lie at night below Fort Johnson, to operate against the enemy in any attack upon Sumter or Johnson, and in the absence of official information on the subject, addressed the inclosed telegram* to Colonel Harrison, to ascertain the fact. His replay exhibits that, as far as he has been able to discover, the co-operation, which is deemed by me so important, does not exist, and I respectfully ask that the subject be brought to the attention of the general commanding, and that if any arrangement is effected with the naval authorities, I be informed of it and the habitual position of the iron-clad designated.
I would also respectfully suggest that if it can be supplied, a shell gun for defensive purposes be placed in the position formerly occupied by the Brooke gun, fronting Shell Point Beach, that chamber being now vacant.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. B. TALIAFERRO,
NOVEMBER 8, 1863.
The arrangements of this day with Captain Tucker meet the requirements of Brigadier-General Taliaferro. Telegraph him to consult with chief of artillery for the best shell gun that can be spared from the old lines for the empty Brooke Gun Battery near Fort Johnson. Let him have it carried there at once. Instruct Colonel Harris to order his engineer at Fort Johnson to arrange a platform for it immediately, if the present one does not answer. General Taliaferro will give him caliber, &c., of gun.
G. T. B. [BEAUREGARD.]
*See following telegram.