HDQRS. Georgia RESERVES AND MIL. DIST. OF Georgia,
Macon, GA., December 25, 1864.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:
GENERAL: The telegraphic wires work so badly between Millen and this point that we shall have to rely for the present upon the courier line. I am using every effort to remedy the difficulties on the line. This morning I learn through the Augusta papers of the evacuation of Savannah. I had hoped to have received earlier and more reliable information of what was occurring with our forces in and about Savannah, but have so far heard nothing except through the newspapers.
The fall of Savannah thus closing that portion of Sherman's campaign, leads to the inquiry of the enemy's next movement. Of this you are far more able to judge than I am, but I venture to call your attention to the probabilities of a movement upon Southwestern Georgia. The removal of the prisoners back to Andersonville, which has been effected, adds to the inducement for a demonstration in that quarter. Kilpatrick's cavalry, being now relieved from Sherman's army, can go in any direction, and already we have reports of its moving in that direction. You are aware that I have no force to meet even a cavalry raid if made in any force, and hence I call your attention to the subject.
In the upper portion of the State I have some cavalry commands, composed principally of militia and deserters and absentees, organized under the authority of General Hood while that section of the State was in the occupancy of the enemy. The strength of these commands I do not know, as they have not yet reported to me, as I have required them to do. When purged of the men who belong to the Confederate service I suppose the various organizations will be about 1,200 strong, and it was with this force, with such aid as I could give from the reserve artillery, that I proposed to drive the enemy from Dalton. I state these facts, and inclose a copy of my general order in reference to these troopbe informed of the condition the State is in, in a military point of a view.
About 1,000 men, composed of Colonel Hood's cavalry and a portion of the militia, under General McKay, were at the Altamaha bridge, on the Savannah and Gulf Railroad, at my last advised, on the 19th instant. All the militia that were fit for field service were sent forward to Savannah from this point, and the remainder, composed of old men unable to do field duty, were organized and furloughed by Governor Brown until further orders.
The information from the Army of Tennessee, which I gather from the papers, and the dispatch I forward to you to-day from Colonel Brent containing the curious inquiry of General S. D. Lee, cause apprehensions of serious disasters in that quarters. I am more and more persuaded of the vital importance of increasing our army by the volunteer principle of which I have spoken so freely to you. The number of men whom it seems impossible to obtain by conscription, but who could be got in the way I have proposed, would greatly increase our army.
I should add that General Hood has called for all the arms and ammunition at this place to be forwarded to him, which has been done reserving a very small portion of each.
I am, General, very respectfully, yours, &c.,
P. S. -Your boxes received and stored with the depositary here.