I apprehend no trouble in this department from the land forces of the enemy, beyond small raiding parties, but should the rebel rams in Charleston Harbor ever succeeded in breaking the blockade, you may look for them to visit this place. The heavy guns in Fort Welles and Fort Seward should be kept ready for them. The marine transportation of this department is, and always has been, very liberal. It includes at the present time thirty-eight steamers, of which three or four may possible be detained in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. I take with me the legal staff of the Tenth Army Corps, also 1 officer of the ordnance department, leaving 1 behind; 1 officer of the U. S. Engineers, leaving 2 behind; 4 assistant quartermasters of volunteers, leaving 8 behind; 5 commissaries of subsistence, leaving 5 behind, and a minimum number of the medical staff.
I inclose herewith a detailed statement* of the force left in the department, and its disposition at the present time.
It is reported, unofficially, that the naval force has been removed from the Stono and Folly Rivers. I hope this is not so. Several days since I applied to Commodore Rowan, requesting that a strong force might be kept there. I mentioned three gun-boats as sufficient. I also asked that a gun-boat might be placed in Light-House Inlet, the one that was there formerly having been removed for repairs.
Last summer it was rumored that the enemy were deepening Wappoo Cut to enable them to put an armed vessel in the StoNumbers The barrier of piles across the Stono, commenced last fall, it would be well to complete. The opening for the gun-boat Pawnee to pass through was left in it.
When I took command of this department in June, 1863, the effective force was as follows:
Present for duty.. 765 15,160
On extra and daily 61 2,303
Total.. 826 17,463
At that time we held Seabrook Island and Ossabaw Island, which places have since been evacuated by us. From the force above enumerated, I gather together over 11,000 effective men of all arms for offensive operations before Charleston.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. GILLMORE,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Numbers 189.
Hilton Head, S. C., April 28, 1864.
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II. The Third Battalion Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, having reported for duty in this department, is hereby ordered to proceed to Fortress Monroe, and the commanding officer will report to Major