order directing troops to be in readiness to move had been necessarily distributed to all affected, which I did promptly and was generally done.
Brigadier-General, Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. FOURTH MILITARY DIST. OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
Georgetown, March 27, 1864.
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff, &c., Charleston, S. C.:
GENERAL: I beg leave, very respectfully, to invite and to urge attention to the fact that the recent orders for the movement of troops from this military district will leave in the district but two companies of cavalry, one company and a section of light artillery, and one company of heavy artillery. Under these circumstances it is obvious that a portion of the district may of necessity be abandoned to the enemy. The question arises, which shall it be? The center of the position (Winyah Bay) must of course be held; to abandon it would be tantamount to the abandonment of the whole. If we withdraw from Waccamaw Neck, we throw open wide the entire line of coast from Winyah Bay to the North Carolina line. There will not be so much even as a sentinel throughout its entire extent, not to speak of the very large amount of property which would thus be left at the mercy of insignificant bands of marauders, sent ashore from the enemy's blockading fleet, and the consequent abandonment of one of the largest and most valuable grain-producing sections of this State, which will, as a measure of ordinary precaution, inevitably ensue immediately. There is very great danger that the navigation of the Pedee and Waccamaw Rivers will be obstructed by field batteries held in the vicinity of the latter. Again, the navy-yard at Mars Bluff would, in the event of the abandonment of Waccamaw Neck, be entirely uncovered. The arguments against the abandonment of the right of the position, the section of country west of the Santee River and lying between that river and Bull's Bay, are almost equally strong. Within its limits are embraced also much valuable grain-producing land, extensive salt-works, and a harbor (McClellanville), now resorted to by steamers engaged in blockade-running.
The question is respectfully submitted for the consideration of the commanding general. With the lights before me, I incline to the abandonment of McClellanville and vicinity rather than Waccamaw Neck. He may be in possession of information which would lead to different decision.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. TRAPIER,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., March 29, 1864.
Respectfully referred to the War Department, for its information.
So long as the troops sent to Florida remain there, it is impossible to re-enforce the Fourth Military District from any troops in this department.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,