a reconnoitering expedition on the Carolina side of the river, which has occupied me during the two days last past. My suggestion in my letter of the 19th, as to placing the defenses of this city in that quarter under the same authority as the other defenses, was intended to include not only the fortifications there, but also the troops and all the necessary military dispositions.
Since my personal examination of that country, I am more decidedly of the opinion that all should be under one control. My reconnaissance has satisfied me that this city is more accessible through the country examined than from nay other direction, and that under the present arrangement the place can be captured by movements entirely outside of the District of Georgia.
Red Bluff and New River Bridge (which is on the road from Bluffton toward Screven's Ferry) are the main points to be defended.
There are several minor points,a s Mongen's, and Tunbridge's Landings, accessible from Wright's River, and Cook's Landing, on New River, below the bridge, deserving very careful attention. But those first named are of principal importance. These positions are all within form 6 to 12 miles of Savannah, over good roads, nd easily controlled by authority here.
If the defenses of Savannah in the direction of Red Bluff and Bluffton be not placed under the direction of the commanding officer here, as I have suggested, I recommend that a competent engineer, whom I will select, be placed in charge, to report through Brigadier-General Walker.
In regard to labor, I would say it is probable the gentlemen owning their valuable property on the left of the necessary force. General Mercer has found it difficult to obtain more labor from Georgia than is required for the defenses now in progress. Still I will urge on him the importance of renewed exertion, so as to hasten forward the works on New River.
I am disappointed in the administrative capacity of Captain John McCrady, the local engineer, and I have this day telegraphed to the Engineer bureau, directing that Major Williams, of the Provisional Engineers, be ordered to report ot me here forthwith. Major W. is an officer of decided capacity, on whom were may rely for an intelligent and energetic prosecution of the works for the defense of Savannah.
Before breaking ground at Red Bluff, I desire to place at least two guns in the battery already built at that place, and I have to request that you will send me two guns from Charleston, on siege-carriages, for the purpose, the caliber ot be not less than an 18-pounder; 24-pounders would be preferable.
If Brigadier-General Rains can be spared temporarily from Charleston, will you please to direct him to report to me at this place, bringing a number of his torpedoes, to be placed in New River, below the contemplated defenses; also in wright's River, below Tunbridge's and Mongen's Landings?
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. GILMER,
Major-General, and Second in Command.