Port Royal Harbor, S. C., November 9, 1864.
Major General J. G. FOSTER, U. S. Army,
Commanding Dept. of the South, Hdqrs. Hilton Head:
GENERAL: I have received yours of the 7th instant, requesting that Captain Stone be instructed to remove the chain cable that is now across the Savannah River, in order to avoid the time and trouble of transferring the sick and wounded soldiers who are expected from the North, &c. I shall send an order to Captain Stone to that effect. At the same time, I wish to draw your attention to the advisableness of doing nothing that, by inference or otherwise, can enlighten the rebels as to the nature of the obstructions that remain there, or the facility with which they may be passed, because it is with difficulty that I am able to blockade the different entrances along the coast, and the force at Savannah River would be quite insufficient without the obstructions, which may be much less real than supposed. I should have recommended the use of the Wilmington River and Saint Augustine Creek for the purpose of exchange, which are quite as convenient for access by water to Savannah. There the blockade is made strong by an iron-clad, and will bear any notice which the rebels might have an opportunity of bestowing. The steamer could meet at Wilmington Island.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. DAHLGREN,
Rear-Admiral, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
U. S. FLAG-STEAMER PHILADELPHIA,
November 9, 1864.
Commanding Department of the South:
GENERAL: Mr. Ward was a resident of Kingstree, on the Northeast Railroad, S. C., where he owned considerable property. Says he was always a Union man, and fled now in order to avoid the conscription. He took the oath of allegiance, and represents that the country between Santee and Pedee contributed large supplies to the rebel army; that a suitable force could easily occupy and hold the ground between the rivers; that he knows all the roads and country perfectly, and was willing to act as a guide. Thinking that this knowledge could be turned to account, and that he could best tell his own tale. I concluded to send him to the Navy Department. The chief value was his own reliability, if it was deemed serviceable. These were the principal facts which he had to communicate.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. DAHLGREN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., November 12, 1864.
Respectfully referred to Captain C. R. Suter, chief engineer, Department of the South, for his information and file in his office.
By command of Major General J. G. Foster:
W. B. DEAN,
Lieutenant 127th New York Volunteers, A. A. A. G.