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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 53 (Supplements)
Page 350 S. C., S. GA., MID & E. FLA., & WEST. N. C. Chapter LXV.

to the destruction of the property of citizens of this State and their imprisonment by the military authorities of the Confederate States. In the execution of an order for the destruction of the property and the removal of the families of deserters issued by Brigadier-General Gardner while commanding this military district, not only the dwellings of deserters, but those of good and loyal citizens, together with all their property, were destroyed. Thus, worthy citizens who at that time had, and now have, sons absent from the State in the military service of the Confederate States, and some parents whose sons have nobly fallen in battle for the defense of the State, have not only been reduced to beggary, but without a scintilla of evidence against their loyalty are confined in jail as criminals, or are in camp near this place under military guard in company with a large number of women and children, the mothers, wives, and children of deserters. Such lawless and cruel violence increased the number of deserters and prevented many from returning to their command who otherwise would have availed themselves of an offer of pardon which had been published and distributed in the disaffected region. The unoffending and loyal citizens who have thus been wronged have a just claim upon the Confederate Government for indemnity, and their losses should be promptly and legally ascertained and established by commissioners appointed for the purpose by the Confederate Government. I would recommend the appointment of two commissioners, one for each Congressional district. For the First Congressional District I would recommend Charles P. Cooper, esq., of Gainesville, a member of the bar and talented and worthy gentleman; and for the Second Congressional District the Hon. Thomas Jefferson Eppes, Speaker of the House of Representatives of this State, a good lawyer and an intelligent and honest man.

Your attention is also respectfully invited to a copy of a correspondence between the Hon. James B. Dawkins (a circuit judge of the State), Major-General Anderson, and myself, relative to the impressment of the iron from parts of the track of the Florida Railroad. With regard to the property and necessity of the removal and appropriation of the iron from the Florida Railroad, my opinions have undergone no change since the correspondence occurred between the Hon. David L. Yulee and myself, which at the time was submitted to your consideration. Circumstances which have since occurred have but confirmed the opinion then expressed - that as a military necessity for the defense of the State the iron should be removed and used to connect the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad with the Atlantic and Gulf road. But inasmuch as a grave judicial question has arisen by the authority of law a proper regard for a co-ordinate department of the State government makes it very desirable to have the difficulty adjusted by the judiciary, more especially as I entertain no doubt that an answer to the injunction, making known to the judge the causes of the military order, will induce him to dissolve it. But if he should not, the supreme court of the State certainly will, and, by a special term called for the purpose, the matter will be immediately and finally adjusted without further conflict of authority. Lieutenant Fairbanks, the impressing officer, believing it to be his duty to proceed under an absolute order, has disregarded the advice of Major-General Anderson and myself and has not presented the matter by counsel to the consideration of the court. From this action I apprehend unnecessarily serious results. Since the removal of Brigadier-General Grander from this military district the command has devolved by right of seniority upon Colonel Caraway Smith, whom I believe to be utterly disqualified for such a command. He is the same


Page 350 S. C., S. GA., MID & E. FLA., & WEST. N. C. Chapter LXV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 53 (Supplements)
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