of November General Beauregard received information from his Signal Corps that the enemy's ordinary fleet had left Hilton Head, either for an expedition to some point on the coast or for the North.
If the latter, the movement related to Burnside's operations; if not, the intention of the enemy was yet to be discovered.
General Beauregard lost no time in apprising the War Department of the facts, and, by special despatches, warned Generals Whiting, at Wilmington; Mercer, at Savannah; and Hagood, Walker, and Trapier, commanders of the Second, Third, and Fourth Military Districts of South Carolina.
He also wrote the following letter to General Ripley:
Charleston, S. C., Nov. 29th, 1862. Brig.-General R. S. Ripley, Comdg. First Mil. Dist., Dept. S. C., Ga., and Fla.:
General,—I am informed the enemy's fleet has left Hilton Head.
We must be prepared to meet him at all points.
You will issue three days provisions to movable troops, and sufficient ammunition.
See that all t