RebelYell wrote:Did Lee really say that? Can I have the whole quote as I am interested?
Your question is excellent, but my answer is far from so; I hope forum members can shed more light. "The Lee was right" statement was made by Rod Smart, in the thread, "Southern "Hold Them" Strategy in a Tea Cup."
The quote "The Coast is a naked, one armed, lady trying to cover herself," is a Straight Arrow original. Though he may have agreed with the comment, I'm sure Lee would of bit off his tongue before saying it in such a crude way.
I dug around a little and the closest support I found for Rod's statement was at:
“In November 1861, Confederate president Jefferson Davis appointed General Robert E. Lee to reorganize Confederate coastal defenses. Lee quickly realized the impossibility of defending the entire coastline and decided to consolidate limited Confederate forces and materiel at key strategic points. He countered Union naval superiority by ensuring easy reinforcement of Confederate coastal positions along railroad lines. In this way, Lee minimized reliance upon the fledgling Confederate navy and maximized the use of Confederate military forces in coastal areas, including both Georgia's Sea Islands and mainland ports with railroad connections.”
After Lee was finally given a field command in western Virginia, he was "mortified" when Union general William S. Rosecrans defeated him at Cheat Mountain. In September 1861, Jefferson Davis relieved Lee and sent him to oversee the construction of fortifications along the Carolina and Georgia coasts. As Lee was a capable engineer trained at West Point, this made sense. By March 1862, he was back in Richmond and assigned the advisory position of managing "the conduct of military operations in the armies of the Confederacy."
Two quotes from Lee’s personal letters during the time he was based at Coosawhatchie, a point midway between Charleston SC and Savannah GA, on the railroad, from where he oversaw coastal defenses and construction:
"Charleston, November 15, 1861.
My Precious Daughter: Another forlorn hope expedition. Worse than West Virginia....”
To his daughter Annie:
"Savannah, March 2, 1862.
I have been doing all I can with our small means and slow workmen to defend the cities and coast here. Against ordinary numbers we are pretty strong, but against the hosts our enemies seem able to bring everywhere there is no calculating. But if our men will stand to their work, we shall give them trouble and damage them yet.”
I could not find an official report by Lee to President Davis. But as the georgiaencyclopedia comments exist, something must be out there. The War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 000, has the following documents:
Nov. 5, 1861.-The coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida, constituted a department, under command of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.
7, 1861.-Forts Beauregard and Walker, Port Bay, S. C., captured by U. S. Navy.
8, 1861.-General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.
Reconnaissance on Hilton Head Island, S. C.
10-11, 1861.-Expedition for Hilton Head to Braddock's Point, S. C.
16, 1861.-Captain D. N. Ingraham, C. S. Navy, assigned to duty in Charleston Harbor, S. C.
24, 1861.-Union forces occupy Tybee Island, Ga.
December 6-7, 1861.-Expedition to Port Royal Ferry and Beaufort, S. C.
17, 1861.-Evacuation of Rockville, S. C., by the Confederate forces.
Skirmish on Chisolm's Island, S. C.
20, 1861.-Stone fleet sunk at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, S. C.
Jan. 1, 1862.-Engagement at Port Royal Ferry, Coosaw River, S. C.
11, 1862.-The Department of Key West, Fla., constituted, under command of Brigadier General John M. Brannan, U. S. Army.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.