or bay, and the small stream s with sandy bottoms flowing from them, all of which are easily crossed or turned. These facts render the defense of the Edisto or Pon Pon, Ashepoo, and Caombahee, at points as near their mounths as possible, of great imterest, not merely in view of the Savannah railroad and our communication with that city, but in view of the South Carolina Railroad, and the entire railroad communication between the east and west of the sea-board of the nConfederacy.
An enterprishing enemy, well led, entering the country between the Edisto and Combahee, could easily protect his flanks by guarding the few crossings through their swmps. He would occupy a central position as against the troops now guarding the Savannah railroad, who would fin it difficult to unite. He would directly threaten to South Carolina Railroad, and indirectly Charleston.
Against an enemy passing up the road from Willstown to Ridgeville determined resistance should be offered at Ball's Swamp on a line with Caw Caw. This position in not particularly strong, and there is, there-fore, the more need of work to make it so, but the contry in the rear of it and Caw Caw is extactly for troops resolute to remain and operate on the flanks of an army which having forced Ball's Swamp should still press on to Ridgevill. I do not know of any better field for the display of talents for this kind of warfare here required than this portions of Saint Paul's offers. Officers and men must, however, previously study the ground, or it would be no better for them than for their enemies.
If I might make a suggestion, it would be that the troops in Saint Paul's should not retire directly before an enemy, but remaining to attack his flank and break up his line of communication, should leave the foe to be met in front coming from line of the South Carolina Railroad. At Doctor Harllee's, just above Gioham's Ferry, a good position offers. The river road here forks, one branch for Ridgeville and one crossing the bridge over Four-Hole Swamp for Orangeburg. The bridge should be strengthened, and the lumber necessary is just at hand. Work should be done here, as the enemy are met in front so far as the road is concerned, and the troops here would be on their flanks should they venture to pass before them, moving to their reght toward the South Carolina Railroad, which they might attampt if the country is as open as I fear it is. If overwhelmed they could quickly put themselves behind Four-Hole. Swamp and hold it-few against great odds. The river road along the left bank from Gioham's to Tucker's Bridge is good, and there are seven crossings through the swamp (Edisto) from the bend to Branchville. At Gioham's the bluff is on the left bank, and so continues for some distance. There is a crossing just above Four-Hole Branch (on the Edisto), one at raysor's Bridge on the road from George's Station to, Waltergorough, very important. The bluff is on the right bank, but the ground there is so favorable for, and the defense so necessary, that I would advise the occupation of the wrong side of the river, and that the work needful to hold it should be done there.
HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, FIRST DIV., 15TH ARMY CORPS,
Near Hickory Hill, S. C., February 1, 1865.
The within unfinished report was found in a vacant building at McPhersonville. Thinking it might be of some interest to the general commanding, I respectfully foward it.
GEO. A. STONE,