War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0390 OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA. Chapter IV.

Search Civil War Official Records

the same effect should they be allowed to be sent. It is not necessary for me to allude to the reason of this unless its propriety should hereafter be questioned.

In regard to the force employed at Fort Taylor, I have not yet had time to see Captain Hunt, but fear that the lateness of the season, which takes the white laborers north, and the excitement in town regarding the capture of the black force at your post, will be difficulties nor readily to be overcome.

You are correct in ascribing to me a general desire to promote the good of the service, which, is as it has always been, the uppermost thought in my action.

I am, major, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

WM. H. FRENCH,

Brevet Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,

Fort Pickens, April 22, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel E. D. KEYES,

Secretary to the General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I wrote you on the 19th, detailing my proceedings to that time. Having sent my dispatches by a sailing vessel, I herewith inclose duplicates.

Since my last the weather has been generally favorable, and we have been busily employed in putting the fort in a condition of defense, and in landing provisions and other stores. I have made quite as good progress as I could have expected. The steamship Atlantic will be discharged to-day, when I shall send their to New York. The Illinois arrived yesterday, and landed Brooks' and Allen's companies, Second Artillery, and a detachments of recruits, so that I have now at this post nine full companies; aggregate about eight hundred and sixty men. I have also sent to Key West for the two infantry companies there. My present command is more than sufficient to repel any assault that may be made on the fort, but the holding the western portion of this island and preventing the rebels making a lodgment on it is of vital importance, and to do so effectually a larger force than I now have is required. If the assistance of the ships could always be insured, my present force might perhaps suffice, but they are constantly liable to be blown off, and may be so far several days, of which an enterprising an numerous enemy might and probably would avail himself. The presence of a large force here also prevents the secessionists from weakening their force, and thus prevents diversion to to the replaces when their presence would be more unwelcome. I propose, as soon as I can put the fort in a defensive state, to throw up field works. Numbers 1, about one and a half miles from the fort, to be garrisoned by Barry's battery and two foot companies; Numbers 2, about the same distance in advance, to be defended by two or three foot companies, leaving five or six for the garrison of the fort. I shall then strongly urge on Captain Adams, commanding the naval forces, the necessity of keeping his ships, or at least two of them, so close to the shore. It great reluctance is felt in placing sailing ships so near the shore. It gives me pleasure to state that I have received from the Navy very valuable assistance, which has been cheerful and cordially rendered.

The work in the fort is progressing rapidly under the supervision of