Pringle is liable to barge attacks. The picketing is done by the infantry and such of the artillery as can be spared from the eight batteries, mounting forty heavy huns. Fort his entire line, in which there are about 4,900 yards of continuously connected earth-works, I have one infantry regiment, reporting yesterday morning 552 men. The distance from the camp of this regiment to Haskell is nearly 5 miles. Fort four companies ordered to be held in readiness would not have exceeded 150 men. I have taken Haskell as a point to which to refer these distances because it was actually threatened last night, but it must be remembered that Haskell is an intermediate point, and that to re-enforce Johnson, or Lamar, or Pringle, or the new lines, a longer distance would have to be marched and more time required.
I beg to call the attention of the commanding general from the above to the fact that I have only three regiments and one battalion of infantry in this entire command, numbering for duty 2,077 men, which includes teamsters and other daily duty men, and that of this occupied to re-enforce any assailed or threatened point without hazard to the lines.
It is proper also to state that the extraordinary high tides and winds which have lately occurred have so injured many of the interior communications as to render the invaluable for some time.
In conclusion, I desire to state that at least one brigade of movable troops is, in my opinion, required for this district as a central reserve scantly on picket, subjecting officers and meant to he exposure, the responsibility, and the anxiety which that duty imposes; and in view of the great importance of this island to the defense of Charleston, the inability, from its immediate proximity to the enemy, or reenforcing it in time to make such re-enforcement available before a collision with the enemy would occur, and in view of the large material of war collected here which must be defended, I earnestly ask that additional troops be ordered to report to me. I beg to assure the commanding general, however, that such vigilance will be exerted and such resistance made under any circumstances as is possible, and that this application for troops is made with the extremes reluctance and only from a sense of imperative duty.
As bearing on this subject, I inclose a report* of Colonel Simonton, commanding west lines.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. B. TALLIAFERRO,
Captain JOHN M. OTEY,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., April 10, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded to the War Department, for its information and to show the necessity I am under of recalling a part of the troops now in Florida to insure the safety of James Island, and, consequently of Charleston.
*See p. 258.