War of the Rebellion: Serial 092 Page 0998 Chapter LVI. OPERATIONS IN S. C., GA., AND FLA.

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The Second Battalion will be assigned to Brigadier-General Taliaferro's division, the Sixth to Major-General McLaws' division, the Seventh to Major-General Wright's division. The First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Battalions will be the reserve, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Del. Kemper.

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By command of Lieutenant-General Hardee:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

HARDEEVILLE, S. C., December 28, 1864.


Headquarters Armies of the Confederate States:

DEAR GENERAL: The loss of Savannah I presume you anticipated. I felt convinced myself it could not be held, immediately upon my arrival and learning that no re-enforcements could be expected.

I presume you have been mortified to hear the complaints and charges which have been made against my command. The first charge was that my command straggled. This is partially true, but the great cause was the issuing of an illegal order by General Taylor directing General Clanton to organize all absentees from the army into ninety-days' regiments. This order was, of course, abused, as all illegal orders generally are, and his officers enlisted men directly from my ranks, and this nearly ruined one brigade and had a bad effect upon my entire command. After such action on his part he was so unkind as to heap upon me abuse for the very thing which he (General Taylor) has caused. Of course there was other apparent straggling, always incident to rapid movement while watching or engaging an enemy.

With regard to horse stealing, all was charged to me, while the facts are as follows: My command captured a great number of horses from the enemy which were the property of citizens. All of these horses are being restored to their owners as rapidly as possible. As the enemy advanced I sent officers on in advance to advise citizens to take off their horses and mules. When this duty was neglected I had details drive them off and thus saved them from the enemy. This stock has been or is being returned to the owners when it is possible to do so.

You have no doubt heard that I burnt mills after the enemy had passed. This is false. In my anxiety to save property I placed guards at mills, directing them to remain until the enemy drove them off, and only to fire the mill when they saw it was impossible to remain any longer.

I have positive proof that the country swarmed with organized parties who do not and never did belong to my command. Most of these parties were acting under orders from Governor Brown, but in all their stealing they claimed to belong to Wheeler's cavalry. I now have the names of sixteen organized parties who steal on my credit. I have now run them off, and the difficulty has ceased. Captain Conway, who acted so badly, is not and never was in my command. He was acting under orders from Major Norman W. Smith.

I make all these explanations to you as I fell grateful for the kindness you have shown me on so many occasions, and I knew you would regret to see me neglectful. I have made two written applicrd of officers of rank and standing to investigate the entire matter