Today in History:

112 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I


iary. There is also a small company acting as guard of Savannah River Bridge. From your acquaintance with this country and the character and number of my troops, I know you do not consider it practicable for me to concentrate sufficient force in my command to resist the advance of a column of 4,000 of the enemy, without re-enforcements. If the plans of the enemy are well matured and vigorously carried out, I should be forced to retire from the works commanding the railroad before the re-enforcements arrive. The success of Pocotaligo in October, 1862, was largely owing to the natural strength of the position. Such success could not probably be expected should the enemy advance from Field's Point or toward Grahamville or Coosdawhatchie. The present line below the railroad is a strong one if there are troops to man it. If driven from the railroad, there is no line we could expect to hold short of the Edisto River. Should the enemy occupy the railroad, we would not only lose the short line of communication between Charleston and Savannah, but we would lose a strong line of defense, and open an immense outlet to the negro population of the State. I think, therefore, that it is worth a determined and anxious effort to hold the line. For this purpose, I should have at Pocotaligo not less than 1,000 infantry and a battery of artillery, seasoned fighting troops, with transportation ready at Pocotaligo; this to constitute a movable column, to be thrown on any point that may be assailed. At Charleston there should be 2,000 or 3,000 infantry, with two batteries of artillery near the line of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, with transportation ready, to serve as a reserve. With the first named and my cavalry force, I could hope to hold in check 4,000 men; with the addition of the re-enforcements named, 10,000. Should the enemy, however, be so unwise as to make a land attack on Charleston, the force here could serve as a reserve, and be moved to your assistance. It might be of the last importance in moving rapidly to the defense of Savannah, now weakened. If re-enforcements are to be sent, and the Charleston and Savannah road can only furnish a locomotive without cars, I may be able to get the latter from R. R. Cuyler, president Georgia road, as I did last year. Even, however, in the absence of this special train, I might use the sand train of Mr. Buckhalter, as was done so successfully in October, 1862. With the re-enforcements mentioned above, should the attack be made by a column of 15,000 men, I judge I would have to retire after fully feeling their force. There would not be sufficient transportation at Charleston to re-enforce me in time. Should these views be approved, I beg to suggest that no time should be lost in carrying them out.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff, and Assistant Adjutant-General:

[Indorsement No. 1.]

HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., November 22, 1863.

Respectfully returned to Brigadier General William S. Walker for his information. It is an axiom in war that no work is sufficiently strong to resist a determined attack unless properly garrisoned. The defenses of Charleston require 18,500 infantry and at least ten light batteries. We now have for that object only 12,695 infantry [of which a part