War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0436 OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA. Chapter IV.

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when well protected and garrisoned by some six hundred and with ample armament, and yet such is emphatically the fact. The preservation of this fort from the day of its occupancy until the night of its re-enforcement by the troops of my command is solely attributable to the timidity-I may say cowardice-of the rebels, and in saying so I would not derogate the slightest from the merits of my predecessors, who nobly held it under peculiar difficulties, for if vigorously attacked be one-half his forces at any time it would inevitably have fallen, its successful defense being impossible.

I would most respectfully urge that while raw recruits and volunteers may be useful in the field and as infantry, they are useless except for guards and fatigue duty in a fort, and that an artillery soldier cannot be improvised in a day, but that time and tuition are necessary to make him, and that therefore the New York Volunteers are not of the slightest use in manning the guns of and defending this fort. I then again repeat that the number of officers and men is entirely insufficient to man the guns of this fort and the batteries, should they be bombarded; that twenty more officers and four more companies are required, and I respectfully urge that if no more companies be sent, at least that the officers belonging to the companies now here may be ordered to join, there being but thirteen present-exactly one-half the whole.

I hope the General-in-Chief, if he thinks me to be pertinacious, will attribute my solicitude to a deep conviction of its paramount importance, founded on an intimate personal knowledge and experience of the subject. I have felt great doubt and anxiety as to the course I should pursue here in the absence of any other than instructions to act on the defensive. I have at the hazard of imputed timidity resolutely resisted every attempt to bring on a collision, and done everything in my power consistently with the dignity and honor of my country, to avoid a rupture, being determined not to fight until I was ready; and although personally fame or notoriety at least would have resulted, I have never until within a very few days-indeed, I am not now-been in a condition to warrant an attack, having never had the means of fighting for more than two days at ten hours a day; and although not now fully prepared, I shall, when the Vanderbilt and State of Georgia are unloaded, have shot and shells for some four days's bombardment, and may be considered as ready. Such being the case, what course should I pursue-act still strictly on the defensive, or open my batteries against the enemy? The reasons for the former, at the present time, are, first, that my instructions are to act strictly on the defensive, and that having in two or three instances called attention to this fact, no other instructions have been given me, although there has been time and opportunity to do so; second, that the relative strength of the enemy is very greatly superior, and that he has to keep some 8,000 men to watch 1,800; third, that if he attacks me and fails, his defeat will be disgraceful and fatal to his cause; fourth, that we gain more and lose less by delay than he does; and for the latter, first, the moral influence which a successful bombardment of this fort, the destruction of the navy-yard and of the public and private buildings at Warrington, would at this time have in our country; second, the immense amount of ammunition which he must expend by his numerous batteries, and which he can ill afford; third, the destruction and demoralization of his troops, being raw bodies, and the prestige obtained by an inferior force acting offensively, and a beleaguered fort turning on its assails-are some of the reasons which may be assigned for the two courses to be pursued.

The objections to offensive operations on my mind are these: I have