INSPECTOR-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Charleston, S. C., November 6, 1863.
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: Pursuant to special instructions from the commanding general, I hereby submit the present report
with reference to Brigadier-General Evans' brigade, and to the relations existing between him and his subordinate officers.
The brigade is composed of the following regiments, to wit:
1. Holcombe Legion: Lieutenant-Colonel Crawley 383
2. 17th Regiment South Carolina Volunteers: Colonel McMaster 432
3. 18th Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Wallace 433
4. 22nd Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Major Rion 360
5. 23rd Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel H. L. Benbow 297
6. 26th Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel A. D. Smith 343
Making an effective aggregate of 2,248
The Seventeenth and Eighteenth South Carolina are now stationed on James Island. The Holcombe Legion,
the Twenty-third and Twenty-sixth South Carolina are at Mount Pleasant and Christ Church Parish. The Twenty-second South Carolina
is doing duty on Sullivan's Island.
The general condition of Evans' brigade, as regards discipline, military appearance, and efficiency in
drill, is far from being satisfactory, if I may judge from the different reports of inspection made by Captain Feilden, assistant
inspector-general, and duly forwarded to department headquarters. The materiel of which this brigade is composed is as od
as could be found in any part of the Confederacy. The men are willing to do their duty, to fight for their rights, and to
be disciplined to that effect; but though well officered, at least as regards their company commanders, who in many instances
show great want of efficiency, as also of energy and firmness. Too much familiarity exists between them and their men. They
will forget, as is too often the case with volunteers, that equality ceases where military duty begins. There are exceptions,
however, I am happy to say, and some company officers in the different regiments of Evan's brigade understand all their duties
and perform them very creditably. I would call the attention of the general commanding to the Twenty-second Regiment South
Carolina Volunteers, which is far behind the others as regards discipline, soldierly bearing, and drill. That regiment has
now no regular, field officer. Its senior captain (A. J. Foster, Company B) is altogether inefficient, and many others are
no better, as will appear by the hereto annexed roster* and report, furnished at my request by Major Rion, now in temporary
command of the regiment. I am glad to hear it is the Regiment South Carolina Volunteers with Nelson's battalion. Some measure
of the kind must soon be taken in order to save the men from total uselessness, unless Major Rion be permanently assigned
to their command. The most important part of my investigation, as per instructions from the commanding general, was to ascertain
what truth existed in the reports of ill feeling and want of confidence of the field officers of the brigade. The general
says, that as far as he is personally concerned, he has no ill feeling toward his subordinate officers; that, with the exception
of one of his colonels (Colonel McMaster), whom he considers a personal enemy of hi,s he has no fault to find with them. He
thinks his brigade as well drilled, as well disciplined as most of the brigades of our different armies; and declares he has
taken as much care of it as circumstances and active field duties could allow. He has always been with his command, except
while on other duties as commander of posts, and, at times, of divisions, and knows his men ot be all of good fighting material.
I am sorry to say that the opinion of the field officers of the brigade as regards their commander is not as favorable to
the latter as his opinion is to them, with one exception only (the field officers of the Eighteenth South Carolina Volunteers).
All the others agree in saying, that General Evans has entirely lost the confidence of the greater portion of his men; that
he is careless, rude, unkind, and as often absent form his command as he possibly can be; that he has never very often seen
with it on a march; that he has no regard for the wants of his command, no regard for the claims of his subtask; that their
earnest wish would be to be transferred to some other command; that, though willing to perform their duties to the best of
their judgement, they feel discouraged at the idea of being under the orders of a general in whom they no longer rely.
I will not undertake to say whether this feeling throughout the brigade toward General Evans is correct
or otherwise, but I am convinced it exists to such an extent as greatly to impair its usefulness and efficiency. I would therefore
recommend, as a measure calculated to insure the benefit of the service, that Brigadier-General Evans be at once relieved
from his command and assigned to other duties; that another general officer be appointed to occupy his position, and, should
that course be deemed unadvisable, that orders be given for the dismemberment of his brigade, and for the distribution of
its different regiments in other brigades of this department.
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Assistant Inspector-General.
SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; pages 586-88,
OUTPOSTS, Sullivan's Island, October 25,1 863.
Lieutenant Colonel A. ROMAN,
Assistant Inspector-General, Dept. S. C., Ga., and Fla.:
COLONEL: In pursuance of you directions, I make the following report upon the condition of the Twenty-second
Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, which I forward directly to your address: When, about a month ago, I ago, I was placed
in command of the regiment, I found the regiment without discipline, system, or government. No care had been taken had been
taken of public property; the arms were in a miserable condition. In the boozes of the men I found 1,100 damaged cartridges.
There was no spare ammunition on hand. The ordnance wagon was halting wood. The ambulance had no top. The tents had been left
at Selma, and no receipt taken for them. There were no sinks, as such. The officers, with a few exceptions, seemed to have
not the faintest idea of their duties. They seemed, however, willing, and even anxious to learn, and were obedient almost
to subserviency. There was little line of demarkation between the officers and men, they messing and visiting the sinks together.
There had been no drilling, I was told, for fifteen month. There were no roll-calls, and, except sick-call, no part of the
usual routine of camp.
The men were ignorant of the manual of arms, and even of the facings. I have made some progress in instructing
the officers and men, but am of the opinion that with the present set of officers, the regiment can be made efficient only
by great exertions by a set of intelligent, well qualified, and strict field officers. I herewith submit a roster of the officers,
with my opinion of their qualifications and capacity. The regiment is numerically weak.
I herewith send a field return.* The 58 absent without leave are deserters. I have ordered 5 officers
to arrest them. The absent, sick, are many of them permanently unfit for duty. I consider the maximum of the efficient strength
of enlisted men below 400. From an acquaintance with both organizations, I would recommend a consolidation of this regiment
with the Seventh South Carolina Battalion. This battalion has eight companies, two of which are very weak, one having only
2 commanding officer. The maximum of the efficient enlisted men is about 500.
I herewith send an ordnance report.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES H. RION,
Major, 7th S. C. Battalion, Commanding 22nd Regiment S. C. Vols.
SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; pages 588-89,