STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Columbia, October 29, 1863. General G. T. BEAUREGARD :
GENERAL : I have the honor to enclose you a letter from General Waddy Thompson and J. W. Grady, of Greenville, and a copy of one from Messrs. Pulliam and Pattern, of Asheville, N. C. They have requested me to inquire of you whether you cannot send up a company of artillery.
Boykin's company I will order to report to Colonel Williams and act in conjunction with him, unless Vance should ask for it, in which event, I will order it to North Carolina.
I regret you could not have ordered a regiment of mounted troops, or at least five or six companies, as I do not think an infantry regiment will be so valuable as a mounted force, and one about which there could be no possible difficulty arising from sending it beyond the limits of the State.
Rogers' company is on the coast.
M. L. BONHAM.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Order Captain Bachman's company of light artillery to report to Colonel Williams, at Greenville, S. C.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
ASHEVILLE, October 27, 1863.
GENTLEMEN : We have yours of the 23d, and send this by special messenger.
The operations of the enemy are active, and more and more threatening. General Vance, some two days ago, dispatched an expedition of regular troops to the head of Spring Creek, who were instructed to proceed cautiously down the creek to the Springs, and be in position to co-operate with a column intending to proceed down the river; upon the arrival of which at the Springs, at a proposed signal, a joint attack should be made. General Vance, however, being informed of the position and strength of the enemy, found the river approach impracticable, and dispatched immediately a courier, countermanding the Spring Creek expedition. The courier was too slow, and failed to reach the command in time. The enemy being informed of our movements down the creek, made such preparations as enabled them successfully to meet our force coming down the creek, numbering a little more than a hundred men, and killed and captured nearly all of them.
Such is the intelligence received this morning from the front, and now General Vance is forced to fall back, and cannot make a stand until he reaches here. As you have been previously informed, his force is wholly inadequate for an advance, and is chiefly of a character (being raw troops) which renders a successful resistance of the advance of the enemy doubtful. It is not among the improbabilities that our town may soon become garrisoned by the vandals, unless there be timely aid furnished General Vance.
The object of this messenger is not only to inform you of the situation, but to urge the speedy and active movement of whatever assistance you can render.
The strength of the enemy is unascertained, but is doubtless such as requires from 1,500 to 2,000 armed men to resist them successfully. We must have some accession to our artillery and cavalry; well- armed infantry are also indispensable.
The unfortunate command down Spring Creek was composed in large part of the Twenty-fifth Regiment North Carolina Troops, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Bryson, of that regiment. Mr. Lindsay, the bearer, can explain more fully the situation. He will be dependent upon your hospitality, and will rely upon you for compensation for this trip, made at much personal sacrifice.
It is proper to remark that there is no official report of the disaster attending the expedition down Spring Creek, and our intelligence may be, and we trust is, somewhat exaggerated.
We are, gentlemen, very respectfully, your fellow citizens,
R. W. PULLIAM,
COLUMBIA, October 28, 1863. General G. T. BEAUREGARD :
SIR : We have been deputed by the people of Greenville to visit this place, with a view to a conference with Governor Bonham, and to ascertain what forces, if any, he could send for our protection. We regret to find that the Governor has no troops at his disposal.
We send you herewith a letter sent by express by the people of Asheville. You will thus be enabled to judge of the state of the case, and we are sure that you will do all that you can for our protection.
We will only add that, in our judgment, a raid to Greenville and the upper districts would be eminently disastrous. Besides the gun factory, there are several large cotton factories in Greenville, and the lower portion of the State must mainly depend on the upper districts for provisions-to say nothing of the disastrous consequences of a permanent occupation of the Warm Springs as a rendezvous for the many disaffected men in the upper counties of North Carolina.
Very respectfully, your obedient servants,
STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
GENERAL : His Excellency, the Governor directs me to send you the enclosed copy of a letter from Captain Boykin. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. F. ARTHUR,
GREENVILLE, S. C., October 28, 1863. His Excellency Governor BONHAM, Columbia, S. C. :
I have, Your Excellency, just received a letter from Colonel Harrison, aide-de-camp, desiring that I should furnish you with any information I may have relative to the movements of the enemy about Warm Springs, N. C., and to take the necessary steps to learn the condition of things. I send this by General W. Thompson, who is going to Columbia to see Your Excellency, with the latest communication from that country.
I will send a courier to Asheville at once, and will forward any report I may receive as soon as it comes to hand.
From information I have just received from the Rev. M. Hanckel, who saw Lieutenant Lee, from Asheville, the force about the Warm Springs consists for the most part of renegade Tennesseans and North Carolinians, mixed with some Yankees. They are said to have four pieces of artillery.
I came into Greenville to-day to learn what I could. It is probable there may be some exaggeration in it.
I remain, Your Excellency, very respectfully, yours,
Columbia, October 27, 1863. General G. T. BEAUREQARD:
GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose you copies of a telegram from Governor Vance, and a communication from Colonel Townes, of Greenville, in this State.
I was aware when I communicated to you the resolutions of the Legislature of the embarrassment to you of sending to the mountains the force they asked for. I am induced now to send you the within communications at the instance of Colonel Townes, as he thinks the circumstances are such as may induce you to change your mind.
I should myself be gratified if you could send a regiment or part of a regiment of cavalry, or more if they can be spared, to the mountains, at least till I can effect some organization of State troops. Very respectfully, yours,
M. L. BONHAM.
RALEIGH, N. C.
General Vance, commanding in Western North Carolina, has been attacked by a large force of the enemy, and has sent to me and to your city for ammunition. It will reach him from your place twenty- four hours sooner than from Raleigh, but writes me that the officer sent to Columbia was not commissioned, and might be refused on that account. Please assist him should this be so. Yours,
Z. B. VANCE.
COLUMBIA, October 27, 1863. His Excellency Governor BONHAM :
DEAR SIR : The citizens of Greenville have appointed me to visit Columbia and lay before you the information which they have received of a threatened invasion from the enemy, now represented to be in force at Warm Springs, N. C., at which point, on Thursday last, a force of 150 men, under Major Woodfin, a part of General Vance's command, were repulsed by the enemy and several killed and wounded of our party; among them (the killed) is Major Woodfin, it is supposed, as he was seen to tall from his horse and is missing. Lieutenant Merryman, of the staff of General Vance, who accompanied me to Columbia, as well as other gentlemen of Asheville, N. C., have given us the facts as fully as possible to ascertain, and they are these, in addition : Major Woodfin captured 3 or 4 of the enemy's pickets, this side of Warm Springs, who had on the Federal uniform and represented themselves as Federal soldiers ; they stated that there were 500 Federals at Warm Springs, and a force of 5,000 between that point and Greeneville, Tenn., which has been for some time now in possession of the enemy.
General Vance had in all about 500 men, mostly raw troops, conscripts, and stragglers from the army collected together. Your Excellency is aware of the serious disaffection in no inconsiderable portion of the population in the mountain counties of Western North Carolina, and which extends in some degree even over the line of this State near the mountains, which region has been the resort of large numbers of deserters from our army.
The progress of the enemy would be facilitated by that sort of population. The temptation to attack and destroy the various factories, iron works, and mills in the districts of Spartanburg and Greenville, as well as the State Armory at the town of Greenville, is a great one to the enemy, and they are fully apprised of the condition of our section. The town of Greenville is the nearest point of importance inviting attack, which, if it comes, must be destructive to all the concerns mentioned, which are of more importance to the State and to the Confederacy than to the companies and parties to whom the property belongs.
Your Excellency is well aware of the helpless and defenseless state of our section, owing to the want of arms and any sort of organization, and the impossibility of immediate remedy. We are obliged to look for the protection of the vast interests involved for this exigency, through you and the Confederate authorities in Columbia, to General Beauregard.
The prisoners taken by Major Woodfin's party near Warm Springs declared it was the intention to capture Asheville and to occupy the western part of North Carolina permanently, but if this is accomplished for even so short a time, Greenville and the adjoining districts would be, in the present state of things, at the mercy of the foe, and there is no telling how far the State might be penetrated.
A comparatively small force might secure the mountain passes at present, if that force is of the right material. With great respect,
G. F. TOWNES.