strengthening our hands here by the addition of another company of cavalry, to be stationed at some point in the neighborhood of Pickens Court-House or the town of Walhalla, so that the approaches to these points through the extreme western counties (Jackson, Macon, and Cherokee) of North Carolina may be covered and guard, whilst the company now here in the command of Captain Boykin can be kept in the position I now hold them, to cover the approaches from Henderson, Buncombe, and Haywood Counties, over the Saluda, Howard, and Jones' Gap roads. In addition, there should be a detachment of at least 50 artillerymen, under a commissioned officer, with two good pieces of artillery. The pieces are now at the Stateworks, and all that is wanting is an officer and the men with horses (which the quartermaster at this post can procure in two days' notice, if he has not got them), ordnance stores, &c. The men I have above enumerated in the conscript service are under orders to report on the 1st day of March next at the camp of instruction in Columbia, to be sent forward into regular service. This will so far weaken me that I shall have no force whatever to encounter the enemy but what may be expected from an unorganized mass of volunteers who may spring up at the moment, but the one company. If the plan forwarded by me a few days since to the commanding general (through Major Melton) for his approval should secure it, and the Secretary of War also approves, and allows these detachments to be organized into a regular cavalry corps to be attached to Boykin's squadron, we can and will be strong enough, with a small detachment of artillery, to meet and drive back five times our number. It is my intention to fight the enemy when and whenever he appears, regardless of numbers, and for myself I may be permitted to say that I have not participated in the panic that he has several times seized upon our citizens, as I have made up my mind to meet him if he comes, and fight him, too, just as I would do any other disagreeable piece of business; but I am frank to avow, general, that the recent demonstrations of their coming in force makes me most anxious that suitable preparations shall be made to give a reasonable hope of not only successful resistance; but of whipping them soundly and bagging the whole concern, should they come, as I now verily believe they will; and, indeed, as they would be foolish not to do, if, as Colonel Palmer says, Longstreet's cavalry from any cause should uncover us in Sevier Country, Tenn., if they really desire (and who can doubt it?) to inflict on us the most serious and disastrous injury that is possible for us to sustain short of the fall of the city of Charleston. I therefore earnestly and respectfully request that the commanding general, as well as yourself, may give this matter your serious consideration.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. D. ASHMORE,
Major, Commanding Post.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., February 25, 1864.
the views expressed in this communication meet with my approval. No additional force of cavalry can at present be sent him, but in case of any threatened danger at least two companies shall be sent to his assistance.
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G. T. BEAUREGARD,