Today in History:

1271 Series I Volume XLVII-II Serial 99 - Columbia Part II


our greater danger will prove the means of deliverance and safety. Trusting that you will do all in your power to help us in this great emergency.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



Macon, Ga., February 24, 1865.


The great necessity for the services of the militia of this State for a time in the agricultural field, in connection with the fact that the State is, for the first time in some ten months, free from threatened advance of the enemy upon the interior, and the further fact that they are composed of a class of men not subject to Confederate service, induce me to withdraw them for a time from your command, that they may have a furlough till the State is again threatened by the enemy. When needed for the defense of this State, I hope to have them ready for the occasion, prepared to act with the same distinguished gallantry and patriotic devotion which has heretofore characterized their conduct upon the battle-field.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


CHARLOTTE, N. C., February 25, 1865.

General R. E. LEE:

GENERAL: Your order to me to concentrate all available forces and drive back Sherman implies, of course, that you regard those forces as adequate to the object and their concentration in time practicable. In my reply to telegraph on the 22nd the opposite opinion is expressed. Fuller information obtained since confirms me in that opinion. The Federal army is within the triangle formed by the three bodies of our infantry. It can, therefore, prevent their concentration or compel them to unite in its rear by keeping on its way without loss of time. It is estimated at 40,000, and was at last accounts crossing the Wateree east of Winnsborough, as if moving upon Fayetteville. The available forces are Hardee's troops arriving at Cheraw by railroad and estimated by General Beauregard at 12,000. I believe that sefveral thousand are South Carolina militia and reserves, who will not go beyond Cheraw; Lee's corps, Army of Tennessee, near Charlotte, 3,500; Stewart's corps, Army of Tennessee, 1,200; Cheatham's corps, Army of Tennessee, 1,900. The two latter when last heard of were near Newberry. These troops, except Hardee's, have only the means of transporting cooking utensils, and, therefore, cannot operate far from railroads. The cavalry, under Lieutenant-General Hampton, amounts to about 6,000. In my opinion these troops form an army too weak to cope with Sherman. Having expressed the opinion that your order could not be executed with the means at my disposal, I have thought it my duty to give a fuller statement in support of that opinion than that contained in a brief telegram. If our troops and those of General Bragg could be united in time the progress of Sherman's army might be stopped, otherwise it may united with that of Schofield. This junction of our forces might be made near Fayetteville.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,