The main question is to be decided by the United States once for all, and I do not doubt that this decision is already made.
P. S.-The yellow fever is to be considered in sending men here, acclimation being very important. Crowding a large force on the key will endanger its appearance in a destructive type, and if acclimated crews and troops can be sent this would be a great safeguard.
U. S. SHIP ATLANTIC, April 19, 1861-3.20 p. m.
Colonel HARVEY BROWN, Commanding:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have received your letter, and thank you for the very kind terms in which you express your difference in opinion with me. Believing that it was wrong to interrupt the disembarkation of stores by any movement of this ship while this most favorable weather lasted; yielding in all naval matters to the experienced opinion of Captains Porter and Gray; knowing that the Powhatan has her steam down and her steam chimney under repairs, and that she cannot, therefore, move to protect us in any new position; informed that the best landing yet discovered is that at which we lay (Harris already in this quiet sea to-day stove the only boat sent towards Fort Pickens, and drenched in salt water the officers' baggage), I concluded not to attempt to move the ship until, the work of the day being over, we could do so without delay to the unloading of stores.
Received your note as I was about entering a boat to examine the beach with Captain Porter and determine what place will do for her new berth. I am sure that were you on board and had so seen the destruction caused by the surf last evening you would agree with us and would think we had done our best. Your orders are commands to which I shall always while with you implicitly conform when they are given without leaving me discretion, and I have ordered Captain Gray to put up steam and move down the coast. We can get about two miles nearer, no more, and then we will be within fire and I think much troubled by the outer sand-barr parallel to the coast.
As for the other matter, the entrance of Captain Porter into the harbor at this time, I agree with you in opinion. It was only by exhibiting your letter to him and indorsing most thoroughly my agreement with it, and giving him a copy of the General Orders just published to all officers to co-operate as you desired, that I stopped this gallant officer, bent on a desperate deed of self-sacrifice and devotion to his country. He will await your orders, as I shall, in all obedience and fealty.
Most truly, your friend and aid,
M. C. MEIGS.
Please say to Major Tower that his wishes are being executed, and the sand bags I doubt not will be sent at the earliest opportunity; that Gillmore was left with Keyes.
U. S. TROOP-SHIP ATLANTIC,
Off Santa Rosa, April 20, 1861.
Colonel H. BROWN, Commanding Department of Florida:
DEAR COLONEL: If my estimate is correct you have now about 690 men inside Fort Pickens. The Illinois is here with two companies, say
25 R R