The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official
Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Volume VI. Series 1, vol. 6, Part 1. Page 339
Coosawhatchie, December 7, 1861.
General R. S. RIPLEY,
Commanding, &c., Charleston:
GENERAL: I have read with attention your letter of the 5th instant.
I regret to learn that the Marion Light Artillery is not yet prepared
for the field. When it is ready please inform me whether it will be
required in the vicinity of Charleston.
Unless more field artillery can be obtained, it will be almost impossible
to make headway against the enemy, should he land in any force. I
understand from your letter that the Washington Artillery is only
temporarily in Confederate States service, and suppose, therefore,
cannot be calculated upon for general service. Being partly equipped
by the State and partly by the Confederate States causes embarrassment
in supplying it with necessary articles. It is very desirable that
the battery should enter the Confederate service so soon as to be
rendered as efficient as possible.
The defense of the rivers Ashepoo, Paw Paw, and Combahee, for the
protection of the railroad, is of the greatest importance, and I trust
may be speedily accomplished.
As the positions occupied will be on the main, the withdrawal of
the troops, in case of necessity, can be easily effected. Moreover,
the protection of that section of the country, upon [which] you rely
for subsistence, is very desirable. The only difficulty I see to the
measure is the want of troops to insure successful resistance should
the enemy land in force. The three rivers being defended as proposed,
the passage through Dawho and at Church Flats being obstructed, preclude
the enemy's approach to the railroad. It would be also desirable to
prevent his occupation of Edisto, but whether fixed batteries can
now be erected of sufficient strength I think is doubtful. It will
also, I fear, be impossible to obtain the regiments which you think
necessary for the purpose. I can learn of no regiments in South Carolina
entering the service. Several have been offered to me from other States,
but they are all unarmed, and I have none for them.
R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.