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and two batteries to report forthwith to General Pemberton, leaving only 10,000 infantry available for the whole of South Carolina and Georgia. Cannot send more without abandoning the Savannah Railroad. Shall await further orders. Enemy still occupies in force Folly and Seabrook's Islands, also Port Royal. To reduce this command further might become disastrous.
On May 4, I sent this dispatch to the honorable Secretary of War:
Enemy's fleet, reported at Hilton Head and Port Royal yesterday, is 4 steam frigates, 5 wooden gunboats, 6 ships, 4 brigs, 87 transports, and 58 schooners - 183  in all; a very remarkable increase since last report.
Honorable James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, telegraphs on May 9, 1863:
Foster, with his own and part of Hunter's forces, is believed to have returned to North Carolina. More re-enforcements to General Pemberton are indispensable. If General Evans' brigade has returned to you, send 5,000 men; if not with you, a number which with that would make 5,000 men.
On the following day, I telegraphed in reply to the Secretary of War:
The order sending additional troops to General Pemberton will be executed, Evans' brigade included, leaving but 1,000 infantry to support extensive lines and batteries at Savannah; but 750 infantry to half line of railroad to Savannah, virtually yielding up that country and large stores of rice to enemy, as well as opening even Charleston and Augusta and Columbia Railroads to attack at Branchville, leaving here 1,500 infantry at most, all of which will be known to enemy in a few days. Meantime General W. S. Walke reports increased strength yesterday of enemy's outposts in his vicinity. Hagood reports 2,500 infantry on Seabrook's Island, fortifying; five monitors still there. Enemy in force on Folly Island, actively erecting batteries yesterday. Season favorable for enemy's operations for white a month.
On the 12th, I telegraphed as follows to the honorable Secretary of War:
Have ordered to General Pemberton (contrary to my opinion) Evans' brigade and one regiment, amounting to 2,700 men, leaving only 6,000 infantry available in the whole of South Carolina and Georgia. The other 1,000 will await further orders of Department. General Evans reports two brigades of enemy on Folly Island yesterday. Please answer.
A letter to the same address on May 11 exhibited certain conditions and explained more fully my views on the subject of an attack, with the object of showing to the War Department the actual menacing accept of the enemy on the coast of my department. I transcribe an extract from that letter:
* * * * * * *
A week ago, under your orders, I put in motion for Jackson, Miss., Two brigades under Brigadier-General Gist and W. H. T. Walker, the former commanding South Carolina and the latter Georgia regiments (somewhat over 5,000 infantry in all), and two light batteries of the best class in the department. Your orders have been based, apparently, on the conviction that the troops of the enemy assembled in this department for operations against Charleston have been mainly withdrawn and diverted to other expeditions in North Carolina and the Valley of the Mississippi. This conviction I regret that I cannot share, as I am satisfied from the reports of district commanders, and from other reasons, that there has been really but little reduction of the command of Major-General Hunter.
General Walker, commanding at Pocotaligo, reports that on yesterday the outposts of the enemy in his front had been much increased in strength. General Hagood reports them to be occupying Seabrook's Island with at least 2,500 infantry. They are erecting fortification at that point, as also on Folly Island, which is likewise still occupied in force.
Five of the monitors remain in the North Edisto, with some twenty gunboats and transports. With these and the transports still in the waters of Port Royal, and the forces which I am unable to doubt are still at the disposition of the enemy, he may renew the attack by land and water on Charleston at any moment. Acting on the offensive and commanding the line of attack, he could simultaneously call troops
|Page 67||Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.|