I have not received your instructions in relation to the militia alluded to in your telegram wherein you directed me to accept them on the terms offered by Governor Brown, and would be glad to have them in preparing orders for Colonel Cameron. You will recollect that some weeks ago I was authorized to send beyond our lines, via Port Royal, the families of all men who had deserted to the enemy. I accordingly communicated with the commanding officer at Port Royal and he consented to receive them. I commenced by sending three families, who got off without difficulty. Some forty or more families, women and children, had in the meanwhile sold their property and gotten ready to go, relying upon the promise of the Federal commander to let them pass. But I received notice by telegram from Colonel Colcock not to send anymore, as he had been, notified that no more would be received at Port Royal until further orders. The forty or more families having sold their property and relinquished their employment, in order to be prepared to start, are now in a very destitute condition. I have attempted to communicate on the subject, but all intercourse has been denied. I will send you a list of the families waiting permission to leave, and request that the Federal commander, General Foster, I believe, be requested through department headquarters to announce positively whether or not it is his intention to receive any more families, so that in the event of a refusal they can seek regular employment again for the support of themselves and children. As long as there is any hope of going they will not bind themselves to perform any continued labor, wishing to keep themselves free to go at a moment's warning.
Savannah, Ga., August 18, 1864.
The following is a statement of the effective force at the different posts in the District of Georgia, viz:
Thunderbolt: Eighty-five effective total. This force pickets Greenwich and salt-works, and furnishes detail for Fort Bartow and pickets the river. The daily detail for guard is 40 men.
Bartow: Fifty-one effective total. The picket and guard duty there is so heavy that men are furnished from Whitemarsh and Thunderbolt daily to assist.
Whitemarsh Island: One company Twenty-second Georgia Battalion in charge of heavy battery; three companies Twenty-seventh Georgia Battalion; two companies reserves; one company Bonaud's battalion; one company light artillery. Effective total, 382. This command guards 3 miles of coast line and magazines of the works, and furnished [detail] for Fort Bartow.
River batteries, viz, Forts Jackson and Lee, Battery Cheves, and Battery Lawton are guarded by three companies Twenty-second Georgia Battalion and the Mercer Artillery. Effective total, 253 men. Ninety-eight men are on guard and picket daily.