SAVANNAH, GA., December 19, 1863.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Commanding Department, &c.:
GENERAL: I find condition of my eye, from which I suffered so much recently in Charleston, to be such as to make it unsafe for me to attend to outdoor business, excepting in most favorable weather, and, as I find many matters requiring special attention here, I will probably be detained several days longer than I at first anticipated.
I think it important that I scold see all the work now under construction for the defense of Savannah, and that I should make in person an examination of the country between the city and Bluffton, Red Bluff, and other landings on the Carolina side of the river. As the defense of the approaches from the points named bearers o placing the defenses in that quarter under the direction of the same authority as the other works for the protection of Savannah. I would be pleased to have your views on this point before I return to Charleston.
I will remain here until I can finish in a satisfactory manner the labor upon which I am engaged, but will be in readiness at any moment to report in person to you, should the emergencies of the service require it.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. GILMER,
Major-General, and Second in Command.
CHARLESTON, December 20, 1863.
Colonel D. B. HARRIS,
Chief Engineer of Department:
COLONEL: I would respectfully report that Mr. W. S. Henerey, machinist, has all the patterns fork double engines hat, with very slight modifications, will exactly suit the torpedo-boats ordered by the Engineer Bureau. I have instructed Mr. Henerey to prepare the patterns without delay, and expect this week to commence the castings.
I think it would be economy of time, labor, and money to have all the engines constructed by Mr. Henerey. They may be readily transported by railroad to the points where the boats may be constructed. The order from Richmond does not state how many boats are required to operate in the severe harbors on the coast, but I suppose I am within the mark by ordering twenty paris of engines. I have therefore done so.
As the work will require all the power of Mr. Henerey's establishment, I would respectfully suggest that an order be issued instructing Mr. henerey to devote himself to this work in preference to any other, so that there may be no interruption or delay whatsoever. By this means alone can I hope to accomplish the undertaking rapidly and effectually.
I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANCIS D. LEE,
Captain of Engineers.