Having prefaced thus far, I beg leave to call to your attention and that of the commanding general the utter inadequacy of the force here to meet and repel an attack of the enemy if made in any force at all. You are well aware of the fact that Boykin's Mounted Rifles-less than 100 effective men-is the only reliable force that I have to co-operate with Colonel Palmer or to act independently in our own defense. It is true that I have a military patrol of about 45 men in this district, 25 in Pickens, 25 in Spartanburg, and 10 each in Anderson and Union. These men are mounted and armed with double-barreled fowling pieces, but are not drilled or officered, except by persons designated by myself, under the instructions of the War Department of the 24th June and 28th July last, as a military patrol, for the purpose of arresting deserters, stragglers, and evaders of conscription. They are totally unfit for field service, and cannot, unless armed and equipped properly, be made available or effective. No reliance can be placed upon them in a fight, and I have urged in vain upon the authorities at Richmond and the Governor of the State the importance of so doing.
I would now most earnestly and respectfully suggest and request, general, that you would give this subject-matter a calm and thoughtful consideration. There are numerous approaches, even for artillery, into this field of operations if the enemy choose to avail themselves of an opportunity. In Pickens the Raiborn Gap and Stump House mountain roads from Sevierville, Tenn., via Franklin, N. C., presents a good road for cavalry or artillery along the line of the Blue Ridge Railroad; again, down by Table Rock and Caesar's Head, along the banks of the Slicking and the headwaters of the South Saluda; again, into this district, along the Jones and Saluda Gap turnpikes; and still again, along the Howard and Hickory Nut Gaps. All are splendid turnpikes, and each one could be defended by a single piece of artillery against ten times its force to man it, but each one of them can be traversed with whole batteries of artillery. To protect this section from these raids the commanding officer here should have at least 300 mounted men, armed with long-range guns. One company should be posted in the vicinity of Walhalla to guard the mountain passes just above; another near this place, and about equi-distant between here and the banks of the Saluda, and in striking distance of Table Mountain, Caesar's Head, Jones' and Saluda Gaps, and the third on the headwaters of the Three Tigers, about the dividing line between this and Spartanburg districts, and in full view and striking distance of the Howard and Hickory Nut Gaps. Daily communication should be kept up between these companies by couriers and the military patrol thrown and kept by detachments constantly in the mountains. A battery of at least two pieces ought to be located about the center of the command, to be moved to any threatened point. By thus stationing such a force they would be able to concentrate at any point threatened at least two companies and the battery in the space of six hours.
I would respectfully offer another suggestion touching myself personally. I am fearful of the responsibility of this command if the troops are sent. I have no experience in the field, and do not think I am capable of handling and fighting the men. Whilst I am willing to undertake the accomplishment of any order of my superiors, it is but just and proper to say that my whole life has been spent in the civil departments of government, and I do not think it would be wise for me to take the responsibility of directing military movements.