EXECUTIVE MANSION, April 1, 1861.
All officers of the Army and Navy, to whom this order may be exhibited, will by every means in their power the expedition under the command of Colonel Harvey Brown, supplying him with men and material and co-operating with him as he may desire.
WILMINGTON, N. C., April 2, 1861.
General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report my return from Fort Clinch, and my performance of the duty assigned to me by your order of the 18th ultimo, so far as I have been able to perform it.
I have paid off all the employes mentioned in Captain Whiting's letter of the 8th ultimo, and discharged all not before discharged except the fort keep, Mr. J. A. Walker, and two laborers. I thought it best to retain the services of these two laborers, party because the sand embankments inside the fort require constant attention, and partly because I was not able to sell any of the public property.
After I had paid off the accounts, Colonel Butler, commanding the Florida militia at Fernandina, very politely informed me that the authorities of that State had virtually taken possession of Fort Clinch, and that any sale of its property by the United States would be regarded as illegal, and that he thought it his duty to resist such sale if necessary. After some conversation, finding myself unable to change his resolution, I was, of course, compelled to yield.
The State of Florida, or the Confederate States, will probably soon take formal possession of Fort Clinch.
I have told Mr. Walker that while things remain as they are he may regard himself and hit two assistants as in the service of the United States, at least until he shall be officially informed to the contrary, but that whenever the property or the fort shall be actually seized the United States will be no longer responsible for services.
There are some small accounts for supplies and for services still unpaid. As soon as I receive them I will forward them to the Department for your decision.
D. P. WOODBURY,
ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, April 8, 1861.
Respectfully referred to the honorable Secretary of War for his instructions as to the course to be pursued in regard to the care of the Government property at Fort Clinch.
It will be perceived from the within report that while this property is nominally in the possession of the United States, it is actually under the control of the Florida authorities, as is shown by their refusal to permit the sale of the same.
Should the United States, therefore, continue its expenditures for the care of the fort and the property thereat? Unless the Government de-