HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Savannah, Ga., March 2, 1865.
Major General Q. A. GILLMORE,
Commanding Department of the South, Hilton Head:
GENERAL: It has been reported to me to-day that the portion of General Taylor's rebel army which was said to have passed through Augusta on Sunday of last week, finding itself unable to effect a junction with Hardee, has returned to Augusta and is now there. My informant is a man of apparent intelligence, not directly from Augusta but from a point, the name of which I do not remember, sixty miles southwest of Augusta, and who said that the report was generally believed there when he left. My informant also stated that at various points in the interior of this State, which he named, there are detachments of rebel cavalry aiding the conscripting officers and in one place a brigade of 2,000. But it seems to me the great importance of Savannah in reference to the present aspect of political affairs in this State should make us very cautions as to weakening its garrison. It ought to be in no danger and the people in the interior should not be permitted to feel that there is any possibility of its passing out of our possession. The loss of it would at once reunite the rebels, now apparently falling into discord, and so cut off any hope of the national cause prospering by the dissensions of the enemy. Five thousand good troops would seem to be no more than a moderate garrison for the place. The new line of defensive works is at yet unfinished and is some five miles in length. The whole country in our rear is open to the enemy and there is no cavalry here by which to get early information. I learn also from members of General Thomas' staff when he left here that he considered the above-mentioned number of troops necessary for the security of the
place. The advantage to the rebels of a recapture of the place [are such] that we are bound to presume that they understand them and will act accordingly whenever they have any prospect of success in the attempt of the kind.
These considerations induce me to suggest to you the propriety of suspending the order for withdrawing any portion of the troops now here or for replacing them with inferior ones, till the whole case can be laid before Lieutenant-General Grant and his decision had thereon.
I am, very respectfully, general, your most obedient servant,
J. D. WEBSTER,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., March 2, 1865.
Brigadier General L. C. EASTON,
Chief Quartermaster, Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: Will you have the kindness to render Brevet Major-General Grover all the assistance you can in transporting two brigades of his command from Savannah to this place.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. GILLMORE,