War of the Rebellion: Serial 099 Page 1085 Chapter LIX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

To Sherman. During the pending negotiations for peace, it was thought of the highest importance to hold Charleston and Augusta, as long as it was humanly possible. Moreover, it being in violation of all maxims of the military art to adopt a place as a point of concentration which it was possible that the enemy, which a largely superior force, could reach before our columns could arriver, it was, therefore, concluded-

First. That the line of the Combahee should be held as long as practicable, resisting the enemy strongly at all points.

Second. Should the enemy pentrate this line, or turn it in force, General Hardee should retire with his forces, covering his rear with about 500 cavalry. toward Charleston, resisting the advance of the enemy in that direction vigrously behind every available creek, river, or swamp; whilst Wheleer, dividing his forces temporarily, should fall back with the main portion in the direction of Columbia, checking the enemy's advance, should he fallow, and hold the line of the Congaree until re-enforcements could arrive. The other portion of his cavalry was to fall back toward Augusta, covering that place.

Third. Should the enemy follow Hardee and indicate an attack on Charleston, whenever it should become evident that a longer defense was imprecticable, General Hardee should abandon the place, removing all valuable stores, and hausten to from a junction in front of Columbia with the forces of General Beauregard, who would have to over Columbia and take up the Congaree as a line of defense.

Fourth. That the infantry now on the line of Brier Creek, about twenty-five miles south of Augusta at nearest point, should be removed as soon as the stores were brought back and take up a new position along Spirit Creek, about fifteen miles nearer, and which should be fortified. A four-gun battery, with embrasures and heavy traverses, was to be placed on the Savannah River, near the mounth of Spirit Creek, and a similar one at Sandbar Ferry, both batteries aided by torpedoes in the river.

Fifth. It was held in contemplation to send Lee's corps to Branchville, and in the event of the happening of the contigency alluded to in the second and third resolutions, Major-General Stevenson, commanding that corps, should retire toward the Congaree, proteced by the cavalry, where he would watch and guard its crossing until the arrival of Generals Beauregard and Hardee. In the course of the conference General Hardee expressed the opinion that it would require at least 20,000 men do defend Charleston successfully, during about twenty days, being the extent of provisions there accumulated. He said, however, that his subordinate commanders in that district, Brigadier-General Taliaferro and Elliott and Colonel Rhett, estimated the force required at from that number to about 25,000 men. The troops arriving from the Army of Tennessee were still without artillry and wagons. Three batteries were expected to arrive at Augusta in two or three days, but the other six, and the wagon trains, could not be expected to commence arriving before or ten days. The enemy moving with a certain number of days' rations for all his troops, with the hope of establishing a new base at Charleston after its fall, has in reality no lines of comunnication which can be threatened or cut. His overpowering force enables his move into the interior of the country like an ordinary movable column.

Respectfully submitted.


Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.