Hereafter Captain Porter is relieved from that special service and placed under the direction of the Navy Department, from which he will receive instructions and to which he will report.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,
Fort Pickens, Pensacola, May 13, 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:
COLONEL: Since my last nothing of interest has occurred, and no demonstration of any king been made by the enemy. He continues strengthening his batteries, but I cannot perceive that he has erected any new ones. The Florida and Alabama Railroad has been finished, and he has received some large guns and mortars; but, so far as I can discover, he is rather making defensive than offensive preparations. My command has been unceasingly employed in unloading ships, storing provisions and stores, and in putting up works for the protection of the men and guns in the fort, and for bombarding the enemy without. The most important would ere this have been finished but for the want of sand bags, which is so important that I had to send an officer to Havana to purchase them or gunny-bags. Major Tower states that he made a requisition for 100,000, and sent it to Washington by Lieutenant Gillman in March, and no notice has yet been taken of it, although two steamers have since then arrived, by one of which (the Philadelphia) they might have been sent.
Having understood that there were three sea-coast 10-inch mortars at Tortugas, I have ordered two of them here. I am also in daily expectation of the schooner Perrin, which sailed from New York about the 17th of April. When she arrives we shall have, it is hoped, every article necessary for offensive operations, of may of the most essential of which we are now sadly deficient.
Great abuse of the flag of truce having in two or three instances occurred, I wrote General Bragg the letter marked A, and sent it by Captain Hartsuff, assistant adjutant-general. In the afternoon of the same day his aid, Captain Wood, accompanied by Captain Stevens, of the Engineers, came to the wharf, where I met them. He brought me a letter from General Bragg, addressed to me commanding Fort Pickens. I told Captain Wood that I was by order of my Government in command of the Department of Florida; as such I had addressed General Bragg, and that I could receive no official communication that did not recognize me as such. He carried back the letter, and I have since heard nothing on the subject. But no objectionable movements have since taken place. On the 7th two steamers appeared off the bar. They were brought to by the Powhatan and Brooklyn, and afterwards permitted by Captain Adams to return to Mobile. I inclose letters B, C, and D on this subject.
My sick list is increasing, attributable, I think, to hard labor in a hot sun. None of the cases are very serious. I have lost two by death and two by desertion. I earnestly renew my application for a fast-sailing steamer or steam-tug of light draught of water. Two would be better than one. Their necessity can hardly be overestimated.
Since my last the mortar battery north of the fort has been finished and the mortars put in it, and I shall in a day or two have one for four 8-inch howitzers completed near the same place. I propose also com-