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[86] Northern Virginia, sent to the West, might have successfully aided in recovering Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Mississippi River, and in saving the Confederacy.

On the 1st of June the Chief Quartermaster was informed that all the troops in South Carolina for whom estimates of provisions should be made—that is to say, all troops present, effectives and non-effectives—amounted to ten thousand. Thus was General Beauregard stripped of all his movable forces, and he had henceforth to strengthen one point by uncovering another, whenever he wished to reinforce any position in his Department.

At that time the enemy, no doubt aware of the weakened condition of General Beauregard's command, began making demonstrations in the Third Military District (General Walker's), towards ‘Green Pond.’ Immediate steps were taken to foil his purpose, as may be seen by the various orders and telegrams sent to General Ripley and to the Chief Quartermaster of the Department.1 The timely and judicious dispositions made for the emergency, and the rapid transfer of troops from different parts of the First Military District to the endangered point, showed conclusively that, notwithstanding the many difficulties in his way, General Beauregard maintained serenity of mind. He knew he could count, not only upon the energy and efficiency of his subordinate commanders, but upon the discipline and indomitable spirit of the men under them; and they, too, knew how worthy he was of the confidence reposed in him.

The enemy advanced as far as the Combahee Ferry, burnt the pontoon bridge at that place and the houses on the river-side, and moved up, as if determined to march into the interior. The Federal forces employed on this expedition were mostly colored troops, drawn from General Saxton's command at Beaufort. After pillaging and burning, as they were wont to do, they carried off with them numbers of negro slaves from the adjoining plantations, but went no farther, and withdrew precipitately, without committing additional damage on their way back; nor did they interfere with or cut the line of communication between Charleston and Savannah, a little farther on.

A few days later, on the 12th of June, General Gillmore superseded General Hunter, and assumed command of ‘the ’

1 See Appendix.

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