mencing this week near the sea-beach, and to the east of these batteries and about six hundred yards from them, a battery for three 10-inch columbiads, and afterwards another for the same number of columbiads in a place yet to be selected. These finished, the guns and shells received, I hope to be able to give a good account of my command.
Company G, First Artillery (the old company), is so tainted with scurvy as to be of little or no service to me, and the disease increasing daily, I have on the certificate and recommendation of the senior assistant surgeon ordered them to Fort Hamilton (vide letter E). I have been induced to this by the long and distinguished services of this company at this place, by the report of the surgeon that a Northern climate was necessary to the recovery of their health, by the conviction that they would be of but little service to me, and by the fact that they can be sent to the North without any expense to the Government. I trust hat my action will meet the approval of the General-in-chief. I have attached the newly-joined men to Company A, First Artillery. I have directed Major French to send me by the first opportunity one of the companies now at Key West. I am amply strong to hold this fort against any force the enemy can bring against it, but not to prevent a lodgment on the island by a large force, which they can in one night throw on it, and I have therefore reluctantly ordered a company from Key West, where I think they are not strong enough; but this place is of the most pressing importance at present.
I have not received any orders or official communications, but see by the papers that affairs have materially changed since I received my instructions to act only on the defensive. Is it the intention of the Government that the same orders should govern me, or may I, if occasion offer, take the offensive?
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, Second Artillery, Colonel Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,
Fort Pickens, May 6, 1861.
Brigadier General BRAXTON BRAGG, Commanding Troops in Florida:
SIR: I respectfully call your attention to what I conceive an abuse of the rights and privileges of a flag of truce. This morning a steamer came to the wharf of this post with a flag, in which, besides the bearer, were a number of officers of your command and some citizens with spyglasses, the professed object of the flag being to bring a private letter from a lady to a subaltern officer of my command.
A steamer a few days since, also with the officers of your command on board, visited one of the ships off this post, and in going and returning, instead of keeping in a direct line, coasted along the shore on both sides as close to this fort as she with safety could.
These both are, in my judgment, gross abuses of the flag, and I trust you will cause them to be immediately corrected. I observe and cause to be observed by my command strictly the laws of war in such cases, and expect a like observance on your part.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,