CHARLESTON, September 27, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
Matters here all very unsatisfactory, and requiring prompt attention on part of Government. This State should be one district, under a major-general, and the whole department under a lieutenant-general or general. I will telegraph changes required soon.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., September 27, 1864.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD, C. S. Army,
Charleston, S. C.:
GENERAL: In obedience to your letter of this date inquiring whether I know from my own personal knowledge "that Brigadier-General Ripley has been intoxicated or allowed himself to be excited or influenced by liquor, so as at any time to interfere with the proper discharge of his duties," I have the honor to reply:
On or about the 2nd day of July, 1864, when the enemy were effecting a landing on the south end of James Island, being directed by the major-general commanding to notify Brigadier-General Ripley of the fact, and to give the necessary orders to transfer a portion of the troops under General Ripley's command to James Island, and to call out the local troops in the city, I went to the headquarters of General Ripley. He was not there. Captain Feilden, assistant adjutant-general, sent twice to his residence, and I sent once by courier. He could not be found. Later in morning (I think it was between the hours of 7 and 8 a. m., so far as I can remember) I met him just as he arrived in his office. There was no one present but ourselves. From his looks I was satisfied he had been up all night, and from his manner and general appearance, I judged that he had been freely indulging in the use of intoxicating liquors, and considered him in no condition properly to discharge, his duties as a commander, or to decide any questions upon which judgment was to be displayed. He told me to tell General Jones that he intended to go over to Sullivan's Island, where he would remain. Captain Feilden, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant James L. Fraser, aide-de-camp, met in the early morning, making the same remarks in regard to Brigadier-General Ripley, without my having referred to his condition. All the necessary orders, I believe, were given directly from department headquarters, instead of being regularly transmitted through the headquarters of the First Military District of South Carolina, on account of General Ripley not being able to be found and on one knowing where he was.
There is one other occasion to which I would respectfully refer. On the 17th day of September, 1864, late in the afternoon, I was at department headquarters when Brigadier-General Ripley passed through and went up stairs with Major Pringle, quartermaster. I overheard the conversation between him and Major Lay, and his manner and appearance were such that I was convinced in my own mind that Brigadier-General Ripley was then under the influence of intoxicating liquor.