War of the Rebellion: Serial 092 Page 1009 Chapter LVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. --CONFEDERATE.

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Richmond, Va., December 31, 1864.

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XXVIII. Major General Samuel Jones, Provisional Army, C. S., is assigned to the command of the District of Florida, in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

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By command of Secretary of War.


Assistant Adjutant-General.

CHARLESTON, S. C., December 31, 1864.

Lieutenant General W. J. HARDEE,

Commanding Dept. of S. C., GA., and Fla., Charleston, S. C.:

GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of a telegram received to-day from the President, relieving me, at my request, of the general command of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. My presence is absolutely required at this moment at Montgomery and with the Army of Tennessee, and I am unable to inform you when I will be able to return in this direction. The interruption of railroad communication might render it impracticable to get back in time to be of assistance to you, should you require my aid suddenly. The telegram of the President not being explicit as to the status of Augusta, I have requested that it should be included in your department, as you now have under you the whole of Wheeler's cavalry and nearly all the available forces of Georgia, which are also required by you for the defense of South Carolina. The defense of this city is so intimately connected with that of the western portion of this State that you will consider it within the limits of your department until further orders from the war Department.

I have already given you all the verbal instructions possible for the defense of Charleston and this State. The answer of the War Department, not yet received, to my telegram of the 27th instant will determine whether, in the event of evacuating this city, you will retire toward Georgia or North Carolina as a base. The first is your natural base; but should you have reason to expect large re-enforcements from the latter State, you should of course retire in that direction. You will apply to the defense of Charleston the same principle applied to that of Savannah--that is, defend it as long as compatible with the safety of your forces. Having no reason at present to expect succor from an army of relief, you must save your troops for the defense of South Carolina and Georgia.

The fall of Charleston would necessarily be a terrible blow to the Confederacy, but its fall with the loss of its brave garrison would be still more fatal to our cause. You will, however, make all the preparation necessary for the possible evacuation of the city and "clear your decks for action. " Should it not take place, the trouble and expense of transportation will amount to little; but should you be compelled to evacuate the city when unprepared, the loss of public property would be incalculable. All the cotton in the city should be removed, and if any be in the city at the time of its evacuation it must be destroyed.

As already instructed, you should organize all your troops for the field, collecting sufficient transportation, ammunition, and provisions for an