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[543] available troops, which cannot be, however, sufficiently great to affect the general conclusions arrived at.

From an experience of over eighteen months in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida I beg to submit the following general views for the proper organization of this Department. To insure its successful defence with the smallest available force it should be divided into three military districts (instead of two), each one under a competent major-general.

The first district, under Major-General Pickett, to extend from the James River to the Roanoke, with his headquarters at Petersburg, or wherever his presence may be most required in his district.

The second district to extend from the Roanoke to the Neuse River, with its headquarters at Tarboroa, Greenville, or Kinston, as circumstances shall dictate.

The third district, from the Neuse to Cape Fear, under Major-General W. H. C. Whiting, with his headquarters at Wilmington, or such other point of the district as circumstances may require.

Each of these districts should be divided by their commanders (subject to my approval) into subdistricts, according to the topographical defensive features of each district. These subdistricts should be divided (when necessary) by the district commanders into military sections, subject also to my approval. These subdistricts and sections must be commanded by the ranking officers of the troops therein located.

By this system it is apparent that each commanding officer of a district, subdistrict, or section would be enabled to make himself thoroughly acquainted with all the roads, rivers, fords, and general defensive features of the portion of country placed under his immediate charge, and would be prepared to make the best disposition of his troops to hold the enemy in check until reinforcements could be received, which, from his thorough knowledge of the country, could be used immediately to the best advantage.

Moreover, the adoption of this system would enable me to transfer suddenly my headquarters from one district to another, according to the emergency of the case, without interfering with the working of the system. It was the one I proposed introducing in my late Department, each State representing a district, under a major-general, but I was unable to carry it fully into effect, through the want of a proper commanding officer to each district.

Should the Department have no disposable major-general competent to command the second military district recommended in this communication, I would be pleased to have promoted and ordered to report to me for that duty Brigadier-General Taliaferro, who so highly distinguished himself in the defence of Morris Island, especially of Battery Wagner, on the 18th of July, 1863. He has, moreover, during the whole siege of Charleston, commanded the District of James Island, where he has displayed great zeal, energy, and intelligence. He is, besides, thoroughly acquainted with the system of district commands as organized in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

I may be permitted here to call to your attention that none of the officers recommended for promotion for gallantry and meritorious services, during the memorable siege of Charleston, have yet been promoted, except Lieutenant-

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W. H. C. Whiting (1)
W. B. Taliaferro (1)
G. E. Pickett (1)
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July 18th, 1863 AD (1)
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