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Letter from General Lee to Colonel Moultrie: Does not like the scheme of retreating from Sullivan' s Island by boats; that there may be two means of retreat, the bridge should be finished without delay


June 11, 1776.

SIR: I was much surprised that this morning the Engineer should make a report to me that a bridge of retreat was impracticable, as I understand that a few days ago yourself and the other Field Officers gave it as your opinions that it might be effected. If I had boats, I should send them according to your request, but they are not to be had. The flats, ropes, and anchors, were sent in consequence of your former opinion. As I think your security will be much greater by posting a considerable body of Riflemen on the continent than on the Island, I must desire that you will immediately detach four hundred of them to the continent. They are to post themselves, or rather extend themselves, from the left of Point Haddrell towards Long-Island, by which means they will be able to prevent the enemy from erecting works to cut off your retreat. I would order the whole body off the Island, but apprehend it might make your garrison uneasy. You must order this body to be alert in patrolling, and if there is not natural cover in this range, they must throw up artificial ones. I request that this order may be instantly obeyed. I am, sir, yours,


To Colonel Moultrie.

I had rather you would make up this detachment five hundred. I hope the point of your Island, opposite to Long-Island, is secured against the enemy lodging there. I have ordered boats to be found, if possible.

C˙ L.