- Extension of General Beauregard's command. -- grave errors in the construction of the fortifications around Charleston. -- alterations ordered by General Beauregard. -- his desire for additional torpedo-rams. -- he foresees the Federal movement in Colonel Walker's District. -- Sends Captain F. D. Lee to Richmond. -- Prepares himself for the enemy's attack. -- bank of Louisiana. -- effort to save its funds. -- Secretary of War orders their seizure. -- instructions to General Ripley. -- memoranda on the defences of Savannah. -- minute instructions to General Mercer. -- suggestion for a conference of Southern Governors. -- Captain Lee's report of his visit to Richmond. -- attack of the Federals on Pocotaligo. -- Colonel Walker repulses them with loss. -- Federal force engaged in the affair. -- General Beauregard recommends Colonel Walker for promotion. -- estimate called for, and given, of men and material needed for a successful defence of Charleston and its Harbor.
From Richmond, on the 7th of October, the following telegram was sent to General Beauregard:
This was not welcome news, for if it implied increase of territorial authority, it indicated no prospect of corresponding numerical strength in the Department. General Beauregard answered in these terms:
General Beauregard's solicitude was great for the safety of the approaches to Charleston. In the many works thrown up and directed by Engineers lacking experience grave errors had been committed, not only in their location but in their plans and profiles. Guns were put in position without regard to their range or calibre; traverses seemed to be ignored where most needed; enfilading fires by the enemy, the worst of all, had been almost entirely overlooked; yet one gun, well protected by traverses and merlons, is considered equivalent to five, unprotected. During the defence of Charleston, General Beauregard had all his heavy barbette guns surrounded with merlons and traverses, thus incasing them as if in a chamber. The bomb-proofs and service magazines, which he also placed in the traverses, protected the artillerists and, in doing so, materially increased their confidence, which was ‘half the battle.’ He had previously ordered the chief-engineer to enlarge the work at Rantowle's Station, on the Savannah Railroad, and to build a tete de pont and battery at the New Bridge, Church Flats. The same engineer had likewise been commanded to prepare a plan for the defence of the streets and squares of Charleston, in case of a successful land attack. But General Beauregard's greatest efforts were directed towards the harbor. There, he was convinced, the land and naval forces against us would strike their heaviest blows. He wrote to Governor Pickens about his need of additional heavy guns; told him how little he relied on the effectiveness of the original boom; but spoke very encouragingly of Captain F. D. Lee's plan for a torpedo-ram, which, General Beauregard thought, ‘would be equivalent to several gunboats.’ He added that ‘he feared not to put on record, now, that half a dozen of these torpedo-rams, of small comparative cost, would keep this harbor clear of four times the number of the enemy's ironclad gunboats.’1 On the 10th he ordered a new work to be put up on the left of  the ‘New Bridge, city side of the Ashley River, and to repair the battery at New Bridge,’ Church Flats; and the chief-engineer was specially instructed as to the transfer and new location of guns already in position. On the 12th he addressed this communication to Mr. J. K. Sass, Chairman of the State Gunboat Committee:
The next day (13th) there were indications along the coast, especially about Port Royal, that the enemy would soon strike a blow in that vicinity. General Beauregard informed Colonel Walker, at McPhersonville, that every effort would be made to support him in case he was attacked; but that, nevertheless, it would be prudent for him to prepare himself for a retrograde movement, if overpowered. That he must therefore send to the rear all the heavy baggage, and hold his command ready for battle, with three days cooked rations, forty rounds of ammunition in boxes, and sixty in wagons. That his pickets must be on the alert and his spies actively employed. That reinforcements would be sent him as soon as required, but that he must indicate, with precision, the points most needing relief. That two thousand infantry would come from Charleston (General Gist's district), one thousand from the Second District (General Hagood's), and two thousand from Savannah (General Mercer's headquarters). And he was advised, furthermore, not to look upon General Mitchel as a very formidable adversary, but to prepare against his predatory incursions. General Beauregard was now most anxious to have built a ‘torpedo-ram,’ upon the plan proposed by Captain F. D. Lee. He accordingly sent that officer to Richmond to explain his invention, and urged the necessity of obtaining assistance from the War and Navy Departments. He considered those rams to be far  superior to the ironclad gunboats of the enemy; was convinced that their cost would be one-third less, and that they could be constructed in a much shorter time than the crafts then being built in Charleston. General Beauregard informed the Government that the South Carolina authorities were highly in favor of the new ram, and had already appropriated the sum of $50,000 for its construction; but that, should the Navy Department take the matter in hand, the result would be better and sooner attained. If successful in Charleston harbor, General Beauregard thought similar rams could be built for the Mississippi and James rivers, and for Port Royal and Savannah. This point he strongly pressed upon the consideration of the War Department, and earnestly recommended Captain Lee for his zeal, energy, and capacity as a practical engineer. Full and comprehensive orders were given, on the 13th and 14th, to Colonel Walker, and Generals Gist and Mercer, to hold their troops in readiness, with the usual instructions as to provisions and ammunition; and railroad transportation was prepared to take reinforcements to Colonel Walker at a moment's notice. On the same day General Mercer was also ordered to have made a careful reconnoissance of the Ocmulgee, with a view to its effectual obstruction and protection by a fort. About this period a remarkable occurrence took place which is worthy of note. When New Orleans was about to be evacuated, in April, 1862, the civil and military authorities advised the banks and insurance companies to put their funds in security beyond the reach of the enemy. They nearly all did so, and, among them, the wealthiest of all, namely, the ‘Bank of Louisiana,’ which sent its assets, mostly of gold and silver, to the extent of some three millions of dollars, via Mobile, to Columbus, Georgia, under the care of its president. These funds were given in charge by him to Mr. W. H. Young, President of the Bank of Columbus, Georgia, with the belief that they would there be perfectly safe. To General Beauregard's surprise, on the 11th of October the following telegram was forwarded to him from Richmond:
 Without loss of time, though very reluctantly, General Beauregard sent an officer of his staff, Colonel A. G. Rice, Vol. A. D. C., to execute this disagreeable order. On the 14th, from Columbus, Colonel Rice telegraphed as follows:
Forcible possession, however, was taken of the coin; and the Secretary of War, when applied to for further instructions, ordered that, inasmuch as Mr. Young had been ‘appointed a depositary’ by Mr. Boston, ‘the money be left in the hands of the former, upon his consenting to receipt for it as the depositary of the Treasury Department.’2 This Mr. Young declined to do; and thereupon General Beauregard was ordered by the Secretary of War to turn over the coin to Mr. T. S. Metcalf, Government depositary at Augusta, Georgia; which was done, Colonel Rice taking triplicate receipts, one for the Secretary of War, one for General Beauregard's files, and one for himself. Thus was the property belonging to citizens of Louisiana, who were then despoiled by the enemy, in possession of their State, taken away from them by the Government of the Confederate States, from which they had a right to claim protection. What became of that coin is, we believe, even to this day, a mystery. It was, doubtless, spent for the benefit of the Confederacy; but how, and to what purpose—not having been regularly appropriated by Congress—has never been made known to the South, especially to the stockholders and depositors of the ‘Bank of Louisiana.’ That institution was utterly ruined by the seizure of its most valuable assets, thus arbitrarily taken from it. It would have been more equitable to leave this coin untouched, or, if not, to take no greater proportion of it than of the coin of all the other banks in the Confederacy. The movements of the Federals along the coast of Florida kept General Finegan in a state of constant perplexity, on account of the inferior force under him. On the 14th he gave a clear statement of the condition of his district, and asked that  reinforcements should be sent him without delay.3 General Beauregard would gladly have complied with his request, but was unable to do so, as he was apprehensive at that time of an immediate attack at or near Pocotaligo, in Colonel Walker's district. He sent two officers of his staff, Lieutenants Chisolm and Beauregard, to confer with Colonel Walker as to the true condition of his command, and assure him again that he could rely on being reinforced as soon as the enemy further developed his intentions. Colonel Walker reiterated what he had already said about his weakness, and spoke of the want of rifles for his cavalry, which, he said, would have to fight as infantry, owing to the nature of the country in which the contest would probably take place. He designated Pocotaligo, Grahamville, and Hardeeville as points for concentrating his forces and reinforcements, according to circumstances and to the plan of the enemy, detailing his preparatory arrangements for meeting his adversary at any of the three places. While these events were occurring—to wit, on the 17th of October—General Beauregard received a despatch from the Secretary of War, informing him that news from Baltimore, reported to be trustworthy, spoke of an attack upon Charleston by Commodore Dupont within the ensuing two weeks. General Beauregard communicated the rumor to Commodore Ingraham and to the Mayor of the city, Mr. Charles Macbeth, in order that he and the people of Charleston might be prepared for such an event. General Beauregard also instructed Doctor Cheves, in charge of the harbor obstructions, to hurry the laying of the ‘rope entanglement’ in front of the ‘boom,’ in the efficacy of which he now had but little, if any, faith. It may be added here that when General Beauregard assumed command of Charleston he found prevalent among a certain class of people the habit of spreading exaggerated reports of the enemy's intended movements against the city. To put a stop to the uneasy state of excitement thus created, he ordered the various officers in command to obtain the names of all persons propagating such rumors, and, after tracing them to their original source, to arrest forthwith whoever was guilty of thus disturbing the public mind. In less than two weeks time, and before  three arrests had been made, the habit was broken, and from that time forward no more trouble was experienced on this score. General Beauregard's attention had already been attracted to the construction, or rather completion, of a railroad from Thomasville, Georgia, to Bainbridge, on Flint River, some thirty-six miles, and a branch from Grovesville to the Tallahassee Railroad —about sixteen miles—which would add greatly to the military facilities for the defence of Middle and Eastern Florida, and for sending troops rapidly from Savannah or the interior of Georgia to any point threatened in Florida. The matter was again referred to him, on the 18th, by Judge Baltzell, and he strongly advised the Government to take immediate action in regard to it; but scarcity of iron, it was alleged, and other reasons, not well explained, prevented the construction of either of the roads until the last year of the war, when, it seems, the project was finally sanctioned, but too late to accomplish any good. Shortly after his arrival in Charleston, General Beauregard, at the suggestion of some of the leading men of the city, called for and obtained the services of Brigadier-General R. S. Ripley. He was a graduate of West Point, and an officer of merit, though erratic at times, and inclined to an exaggerated estimate of his own importance. He was, however, quick, energetic, and intelligent, and, for several months after his assignment to duty in the Department, materially assisted the general commanding in the execution of his plans. On the 19th General Beauregard, through his chief of staff, gave General Ripley the following instructions:
As the enemy has shown a design to interrupt or prevent the erection of any works at Mayrant's Bluff, the Commanding General directs me to suggest that the enemy may be foiled by proper efforts. Sham works should be attempted at some point in view of the gunboats, and, meanwhile, the real works should be vigorously prosecuted at night. It is likewise the wish of the General Commanding that Sullivan's Creek should be effectively obstructed, without delay, against the possible attempts of mortar-boats. Some arrangements must also be made for the disposition of the troops on Sullivan's Island, not needed for the service of the batteries, in case of an attack merely by gunboats. To this matter the Commanding General wishes you to give your immediate attention. ‘The houses on Sullivan's Island, on the sea-shore, you will take measures to remove at an early day.’ We now have before us two important and interesting memoranda, giving an elaborate professional criticism of the defences of Savannah and its different approaches, showing the defects of the system adopted by General Beauregard's predecessor, and demonstrating clearly General Long's error of judgment in attributing the construction of these works—or most of them— to General R. E. Lee. The reader will find these memoranda in the Appendix to this chapter. We insert here the instructions given by General Beauregard to General Mercer, after his second tour of inspection of the defensive works at or around Savannah; they form a necessary supplement to the memoranda just spoken of:
During his second tour of inspection in Georgia, General Beauregard had directed his thoughts, despite his preoccupation at the time, to a subject, not immediately concerning his military occupations, but referring to, and closely connected with, the ulterior fate of the Confederacy. Believing that our Government could not again directly open the door to peace negotiations with the Federal Government, and knowing, on the other hand, that our Confederate Commissioners in Europe had never been allowed to offer the semblance even of an inducement in our favor to any of the foreign powers, it occurred to him that what could not appropriately be done by the authorized agents of the Confederacy might perhaps be attempted, with some chance of success, by the governors of the Southern States. Acting upon this impulse, he wrote from Savannah, on the 21st of October, the following message to Governors Pickens, of South Carolina; Brown, of Georgia; and Milton, of Florida; and to Colonel William P. Miles, M. C., formerly a member of his staff:
‘Why should not governors of Southern States offer to meet those of Northwest States, at Memphis, under flag of truce, to decide on treaty of peace to be submitted to both governments?’The moment, General Beauregard thought, was propitious for such a step; for the Confederacy, notwithstanding many reverses, was holding out with success; but though the suggestion was at first approved of by two of the three governors written to, it was not acted upon. Governor Pickens, upon reflection, decided that the plan was not feasible, and Colonel Miles was of opinion that nothing could be effected now, and that our only course was ‘to fight it out.’ At about the same time was received Captain F. D. Lee's report of his visit to the War and Navy departments, at Richmond, with reference to his torpedo-ram. He had been much encouraged by these two departments, by the chief-engineer and the chief of  ordnance of the navy. All spoke in the highest terms of his invention. Unfortunately, he left Richmond without securing the necessary orders for the construction of his boat, and, as a consequence, many untoward delays ensued. In the Appendix will be found Captain Lee's report of his mission to the Confederate capital, and a letter from General Beauregard to the Hon. S. B. Mallory, in acknowledgment of his prompt and favorable support of the marine torpedo-ram project. In this letter he said: ‘I confidently believe that with three of these light-draught torpedo-rams, and as many ironclad gunboat-rams, this harbor [meaning the Charleston Harbor] could be held against any naval force of the enemy ;’ and he added: ‘The same means can also be used (with one less of each class) for Savannah and Mobile.’ He disclaimed wishing to take the matter out of the hands of competent naval officers. ‘All I desired,’ he wrote, ‘was to see it [the ram] afloat and ready, for action as soon as possible.’ Time and the progress of naval warfare have only confirmed the opinion he entertained twenty years ago. At last occurred, on the 22d, the long-expected attack of the Federals against Colonel W. S. Walker, at Pocotaligo and Coosawhatchie. General Beauregard was then in Savannah. So carefully were all his arrangements made in prevision of that occurrence, and so minute his instructions to his chief of staff in Charleston, that he did not forego his inspection of the defensive works in General Mercer's command. Still supervising the movements of the troops, he rapidly sent forward the reinforcements held in readiness for that purpose, and thus materially aided Colonel Walker in securing his brilliant victory. The enemy, in some thirteen gunboats and transports, came up Bee's Creek, apparently aiming at Coosawhatchie. Effecting a landing at Mackay's Point, and marching thence in the direction of Pocotaligo, they took possession of the railroad at Coosawhatchie and destroyed the telegraphic line at that point, thus compelling us to communicate with Savannah and Hardeeville via Augusta. Colonel Walker now telegraphed for reinforcements, as was agreed, and retired to ‘Old Pocotaligo,’ one mile from the Pocotaligo station, intending, if necessary, to fall back to the Salkahatchie bridge. This, however, he did not do, but took a fixed position at the junction of the Mackay's Point road and the road between Pocotaligo and Coosawhatchie. The engagement was then  in full progress, the enemy's force being, at first, relatively small, but constantly increasing with the arrival of reserves. Colonel Walker was resolved to hold his ground at ‘Old Pocotaligo’ until reinforcements should arrive, which he again telegraphed for, asking that all troops coming from Savannah should be sent to Coosawhatchie, and those from Charleston to Pocotaligo, as both points were being assailed in force. The first reinforcements that reached the scene of action, at about 4.30 P. M., came up from Adams Run. They double-quicked to where the fight seemed heaviest, their presence giving additional resolution to Colonel Walker's gallant troops, and showing their commander that he could now count upon success. He was not disappointed. The enemy, after a contest that lasted from 11.30 A. M. to 6 P. M., gave way in disorder, leaving his dead and wounded on the field, with quite a number of small-arms, with ammunition, knapsacks, and other accoutrements. Two companies of cavalry were sent in pursuit, but could not be moved nearer than two miles to the Federal gunboats, which opened and kept up a destructive fire upon them. Our loss was small, though, in proportion, greater than that of the enemy, and amounted to an aggregate of one hundred and sixty-three, killed, wounded, and missing. The loss on the other side was estimated at not less than three hundred. Uncertain, however, as to the ulterior object of the enemy, other troops were asked for by Colonel Walker; and Generals Hagood and Gist, with forces kept prepared for that purpose, were rapidly sent to reinforce him. They arrived after the action was over, and took no part in it, General Gist, with two strong regiments, only reaching Pocotaligo the next day, October 23d. It was now evident that no further assistance was needed. The Federal force engaged in this affair consisted of six regiments, one battery of ten 10-pounder rifled guns, and two boat howitzers. Colonel Walker had, when he first went into the fight, about four hundred effective men of all arms, and was subsequently reinforced by the Nelson Battalion, under Captain Sligh, numbering two hundred men, making in all, towards the close of the fight, a total force of not more than six hundred men, against an aggregate of not less than three thousand five hundred on the part of the enemy. In his official report of the engagement Colonel Walker said: 
‘The force of the enemy was represented by prisoners, and confirmed by the statement of negroes who had crossed Port Royal Ferry to the mainland on that day and been captured, to be seven regiments, one of which, I judge, went to Coosawhatchie. * * * There were abundant evidences that the retreat of the enemy was precipitate and disordered. One hundred small-arms were picked up, and a considerable amount of stores and ammunition. The road was strewn with the debris of the beaten foe. Forty-six of the enemy's dead were found on the battle-field and road-side. Seven fresh graves were discovered at Mackay's Point. I estimate their total killed and wounded at three hundred. * * * We have ample reason to believe that our small force not only fought against great odds, but against fresh troops brought up to replace those first engaged. * * * I beg to express my admiration of the remarkable courage and tenacity with which the troops held their ground. The announcement of my determination to hold my position until reinforcements arrived seemed to fix them to the spot with unconquerable resolution.’General Beauregard the day following informed the War Department of the defeat of the enemy at Pocotaligo; and, recognizing the coolness, intelligence, and foresight displayed by Colonel Walker on that occasion, strongly recommended him for immediate promotion. The War Department acceded to that request, and when, on November 4th, the official report of the fight at Pocotaligo reached Department Headquarters in Charleston, it was signed ‘W. S. Walker, Brigadier-General, Commanding.’ Our success at Pocotaligo, although very encouraging, more than ever demonstrated our numerical weakness, and led General Beauregard to reflect with great uneasiness upon the results which might follow a simultaneous attack by the enemy at various points in his Department. Hesitating to trust his judgment alone relative to the deficiency of troops in the First Military District, he called on its commanding officer for an estimate ‘of the men and material he thought necessary for a prolonged successful resistance to any attack which the resources of the enemy may enable him to make.’ In compliance with this request, Generals Ripley and Gist, the commander and sub-commander of the district referred to, furnished the following report:
As the effective force, of all arms, on James Island amounted at that time to 2910, and that in the City of Charleston and on the main to 1279 (in all, 4189), it followed that, out of the whole number required—to wit, 21,561, as shown above—there was, on the 25th of October, in Generals Ripley's and Gist's opinion, a deficit of not less than 17,372 men, of all arms, for the proper defence of the First Military District, South Carolina; an alarming deficiency, but one which General Beauregard did not think exaggerated.