War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0430 OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA. Chapter IV.

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Battery Scott (at the southwest point of the island, opposite Fort McRee) and one sea-coast mortar int he fort.

If the rifled guns which we hear unofficially are on the way here come, I shall put two of them in Battery Lincoln, in place of two of the 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, and the remainder in the fort. I shall very soon after this be entirely ready to act, either defensively or offensively. I would remark that the 10-inch columbiads, the 10-inch sea-coast mortars, and the rifled guns are the only ones on which any dependence can be placed, the ranges of the others being too short, unless with high charges, to reach the enemy with any effect. I have some and but little hopes that the 8-inch howitzers may reach with efficiency. I have two 42-pounders and plenty of 32-pounders, but I have no confidence in them.

My advices from Key West and Tortugas are satisfactory. I consider Key West as loyal, and that no future danger need be apprehended of here disloyalty.

I inclose you a letter of Major French (A). I have approved of his seizing and arming the steamer in question, should she visit Key West. I have also authorized him to muster a company into service for the purpose of scanning the coast between Key West and this place and keeping my line of operations clear, provided he can depend on them, and that their being mustered into service is approved at Washington.

I have been so much engaged in preparing this port for a bombardment as to have little time to attend to other matters that require my personal attention, by which the present state of affairs renders impossible for me to give. The rebels are still at work strengthening and increasing their batteries and mounting heavy guns on the. My command continues comparatively healthy, there being no serious cases of disease, and the number diminishing.

I again respectfully allude to the facts that I am under orders to act only on the defensive unless attacked, and that I have received no orders of any kind since I have been at this post and in command of this department. It may be proper for me also to say that the relations of the rebels to our country having been so changed since the date of my orders, by the bombardment of Fort Sumter and by their declarations and acts of war, that I do not feel under any obligations to confine myself to defensive measures, should I, when ready, deem it to the advantage or honor of the United States for me to act offensively, believing that such sill be the wishes of the Government.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding.

[Inclosure A.]


June 5, 1861.

Captain GEO. L. HARTSUFF, Assistant Adjutant-General,

Headquarters Department of Florida, Fort Pickens:

CAPTAIN: The most direct information has reached me by a gentleman of undoubted character and a strong Unionist, that he had a conversation with Captain HArtstene, of the S. C. Navy, who was at Tampa on a visit within this last week examining the harbor and steamers there. He tried to negotiate for the Salvor, but came to no conclusion. This steamer is better than any of the small class which have lately come from the North.