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[47] 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 troops are provided with haversacks. Collect cars enough to transport two regiments at a time on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad and the Northeastern Railroad. No trains should be overloaded.

My impression is that the enemy's demonstration is intended against Georgetown. If so, we may have to march also some troops from here. Make all necessary preparations. You will be put in command of all troops moving in that direction. You will please forward, by express, the enclosed note to General Trapier.

Respectfully, your obdt. servt.,

The note referred to as addressed to General Trapier was in these terms:

General,—The enemy's fleet has left Hilton Head. Destination unknown, but it may be for your district. Be prepared for their reception. See to the provisions, ammunition, and haversacks of your troops. Reinforcements will be sent to you from here in case of necessity. Keep your troops well in hand.

Respectfully, your obdt. servt.,

On the 30th General Walker telegraphed that he had nothing further to report about the enemy's fleet, and that all was quiet in his locality. General Mercer, in his despatch of the same day, said: ‘Nothing seen of the enemy's fleet in this district. Cars collected ordered to be discharged.’

16. The idea of utilizing the gunboat-rams in other localities than the Charleston Harbor, without passing outside the bar, had occupied General Beauregard's mind for some time. On the 2d of December he issued an order to Major Harris, Chief-engineer, to cut a channel, twenty-five feet wide and thirteen feet deep at

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