attack on Savannah, designing to withdraw for that purpose suddenly their force from before Charleston. I can but fear this may may be information to mislead, but coming as it does, I communicate it for your information. General Maury telegraphs enemy's fleet of twenty-three vessels to have passed from New Orleans toward Pensacola. This may have some connection.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., January 19, 1864.
Brigadier General R. S. RIPLEY,
Commanding First Military District:
GENERAL: I am instructed by the commanding general to inform you that he wishes to place no obstacle in the way of blockade-running steamers entering the port of Charleston. With this view he desires you to issue instructions to your command that a single steamer per night may always be allowed to pass our batteries without molestation from our guns or pickets. Those parties who have applied to these headquarters for information on the subject of entering the port of Charleston have been informed that our guns will not open on them, provided that more than one steamer does not attempt to run in on the same night.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. WEMYSS FEILDEN,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
RICHMOND, VA., January 20, 1864.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Commanding Dept. of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida:
GENERAL: On the 23rd December, 1863, I addressed you the following telegraphic dispatch:
I have received no return of your command by brigades. Without such return it is impossible to fulfill the obligations imposed on this office. Please cause me to be furnished with return by brigades, exhibiting their component parts and the names and rank of commanding officers.
This dispatch was sent in consequence of the President's order to me--
To report on the organization of General Beauregard's command in connection with the proposition to increase the number of brigadier-generals.
The act of March 6, 1861, "To provide for the public defense," authorizes the President to organize regiments into brigades and brigades into divisions, and is the act which is relied on for the appointment of brigadier and major generals.
In answer to my dispatch I received yours of the same date, stating:
The last return from this department will furnish very near the present strength of this command; near enough for any practical purpose.
That return was received a few days after the date of your dispatch, but it did not meet the call. It exhibited the command according to districts, but not according to brigades, and was made