Hardee explains his situation to Jefferson Davis — he lacks the troops to do anything except try to defend Charleston against Sherman’s forces. And for that matter, he needs more troops even to manage that, and they don’t appear to be forthcoming. Georgia isn’t supplying enough militia, and Hardee hasn’t even heard from Hood.
CHARLESTON, S. C., January 8, 1865–12 m.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
Your cipher telegram of the 7th received to-day. I am holding the line of railroad from the Savannah River to this place. The principal force on this line is at Pocotaligo, under Major-General McLaws, who when compelled to retire will take up the line of the Combahee, which I am actively engaged in fortifying. Major-General Wright’s division is stationed in the Fourth Sub-District principally to protect the approaches from John’s Island to the lower Combahee, inclusive. Brigadier-General Taliaferro’s division is distributed in the Second and Third Sub-Districts, principally on James and Sullivan’s Islands and in Christ Church Parish. Conner’s brigade when it arrives will be stationed near Charleston, whence it can re-enforce the Second, Third, or Fourth Sub-Districts.
I have armed the heavy artillery as infantry, brigaded the entire command, and hope soon to provide it with field transportation. Of the force above mentioned, McLaws’ is the only command I regard as movable. The remainder is needed for the defense of Charleston.
I am acting strictly on the defensive, and unless heavily re-enforced must continue to do so. In case of a movement upon Charleston similar to that on Savannah, a movable force of 15,000 additional men operating outside of the city defenses will be required to oppose the enemy.
If this force cannot be furnished, 5,000 regular troops will still be required for the present defensive line. Governor Magrath promises to put in the field 5,000 militia, but I much question his ability to do so. I have requested him to place 1,500 militia at Barnwell, and a like number at Branchville, which with Wheeler’s cavalry will make the railroad from Augusta to Branchville secure.
I have no reason to expect re-enforcements from Georgia other than Major General G. W. Smith’s force of militia, now at Augusta, which is rapidly diminishing by desertion, and numbers less than 1,500 muskets. I have no information whatever from Hood, and have no reason to expect re-enforcements from that quarter.
My effective force in Carolina, exclusive of Conner’s brigade, is as follows: 3,500 regular infantry, 3,000 reserves, 1,100 militia, 3,100 heavy artillerists, 1,700 light artillery, and 6,100 cavalry.
W. J. HARDEE,