CHARLESTON, December 25, 1863-2 p. m.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
Enemy's firing on city last night was severe. Several houses were destroyed by fire near corner Broad and Church streets; only 1 person wounded.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
CHARLESTON, S. C., December 25, 1863.
Major General J. F. GILMER,
Second in Command, Savannah, Ga.:
Make best arrangements practicable for those works. It is understood, of course, Generals Mercer and Walker still command their districts. Has that brigade of Cobb's been called for? I will be in Savannah at proper time.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., December 25, 1863.
Major General W. H. WHITING,
Commanding Department, &c., Wilmington, N. C.:
MY DEAR GENERAL: A merry and lucky Christmas to you.
Your letter of the 23rd instant has just been received. I got a copy of the same telegram sent you, but I have been deceived every time that same scout, or some other coming from Baltimore, has furnished news of the enemy's movements in my department. Hence I am very cautious to believe his reports now, although, of course, I make my preparations all around so as not to be caught napping.
I sent in return pretty nearly your answer; that I could not defend with success here, Savannah, and the railroad, without additional troops.
Defensive works are next to useless if not garrisoned properly. I have, therefore, applied for the temporary return of Walker's division which is now doing nothing at or near Dalton.
It is evident that the enemy, having taken Chattanooga, are now returning Meade's corps as fast as possible for their spring campaign for fear of being forestalled by Longstreet's joining Lee, and the two together crushing Meade, which should have been done by this time, for Longstreet would move on interior lines, while Meade's three corps have to go around the circumstance of the circle.
It is probable, however, that when the roads in Virginia shall have become perfectly impracticable a part of Meade's re-enforcements may be sent south for a winter campaign against Charleston, Savannah, or Wilmington. Hence Johnston or Lee must be prepared to re-enforce us. Halleck is just finding out what can be done with sudden and rapid concentration of troops; our side, meanwhile, is still trying the reverse-see Chattanooga and Knoxville. I suppose by the time we shall have no more troops to concentrate we will learn better.
Bay the bye, the President does not seem to place more reliance in that scout's statement than I do-see the conclusion of Colonel Browne's communication, i. e., Wilmington is believed to be the point threatened instead of Savannah.