Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 02/November/Letter from General A. L. Long on Seacoast Defences

Southern Historical Society Papers, November 1876

Letter from General A. L. Long.

To J. William Jones, D. D.,
Secretary of the Southern Historical Society:

Dear Sir—Having received through General Beauregard the June number of the Southern Historical Papers, containing a criticism by General Thomas Jordan of my article on the Seacoast Defence of South Carolina and Georgia, published in the February number of that magazine, I would be glad through the same source, without receding from my statement embraced in that article, to disclaim the intention of ignoring the services of General Beauregard and others in the important work of seacoast defence, either prior or subsequent to the operations of General Lee.

It was my purpose to write a chapter on the subsequent defence of the coast, in which I intended to record faithfully the operations of Beauregard and others, but the article of General Jordan will probably render this unnecessary. I will, however, in this connection, venture the assertion that the article of General Jordan would have been more valuable as an historical production, if he had more clearly stated in what important points General Lee's plan of seacoast defence was changed by his successor.

It is well known that after being battered down during a protracted seige, Fort Sumter was remodeled, and rendered vastly stronger than it had previously been, by the skillful hand of General Gilmer, Chief of the Confederate Engineer Corps, and that various points were powerfully strengthened to resist the formidable forces that threatened them.

Doubtless in those instances the original lines were more or less modified to meet the varying phases of war, but I am yet to learn in what material particular General Lee's original system of seacoast defence was departed from. In conclusion, I regret that my articles should have been construed into an act of injustice to General Beauregard; such, certainly, was not my intention.

My sketch was not written in any spirit of controversy, but at the instance of friends, simply to supply an absent link in the military history of General Lee, which circumstances enabled me to furnish.

Very respectfully, &c.,

A. L. Long.