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[64] described by General A. L. Long, chief of artillery, in a paper contributed to the Southern Historical Society, that I avail myself of a few extracts:1
Roanoke Island and other points on Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds were fortified. Batteries were established on the southeast entrance of Cape Fear River, and the works on the southwest entrance strengthened. Defenses were constructed at Georgetown, and at all assailable points on the northeast coast of South Carolina. The works of Charleston Harbor were greatly strengthened by earthworks and floating batteries. The defenses from Charleston down the coast of South Carolina and Georgia were confined chiefly to the islands and salient points bearing upon the channels leading inland. Defensive works were erected at all important points along the coast. Many of the defenses, being injudiciously located and hastily erected, offered but little resistance to the enemy when attacked. These defeats were not surprising, when we take into consideration the inexperience of the engineers, and the long line of seacoast to be defended. As soon as a sufficient naval force had been collected, an expedition under the command of General B. F. Butler was sent to the coast of North Carolina, and captured several important points. A second expedition, under Admiral Dupont and General Thomas W. Sherman, was sent to make a descent on the coast of South Carolina. On the 7th of November Dupont attacked the batteries that were designed to defend Port Royal harbor, as stated above, and almost without resistance carried them and gained possession of Port Royal. This is the best harbor in South Carolina, and is the strategic key to all the South Atlantic coast. Later, Burnside captured Roanoke Island, and established himself in eastern North Carolina without resistance. The rapid fall of Roanoke Island and Port Royal Harbor struck consternation into the hearts of the inhabitants along the entire coast. The capture of Port Royal gave to the Federals the entire possession of Beaufort Island, which afforded a secure place of rest for the army, while the harbor gave a safe anchorage for the fleet. Beaufort Island almost fills a deep indenture in the main shore, being separated the greater part of its extent by a narrow channel, which is navigable its entire circuit. Its northern extremity extends to within a few miles of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. The main road from Port Royal to Pocotaligo crosses the channel at this point. The evacuation of Hilton Head, on the southwestern extremity of Beaufort Island, followed the capture of Port Royal. This exposed Savannah, only about twentyfive miles distant, to an attack from that direction. At the same time, the Federals having command of Helena Bay, Charleston was liable to be assailed from North Edisto or Stono Inlet, and the railroad could have been reached without opposition by the route from Port Royal to Pocotaligo.

Such was the state of affairs when General Lee reached Charleston, about December 1, 1861, to assume the command of the Department of North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. His vigorous mind at once comprehended the situation, and, with his accustomed energy, he met the difficulties that presented themselves. Directing fortifications to be constructed on the Stono and the Edisto and the Combahee, he fixed his headquarters at Coosawhatchee, the point most threatened, and directed defenses to be erected opposite Hilton Head, and on the Broad and

1 ‘Seacoast Defenses of the Carolinas and Georgia.’

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