I hope this is so. This will satisfy our wishes on this point. Our companies here are composed of from eighty to one hundred men, more than enough to manage the guns at the battery, while their other duties in guarding the coast will give them ample employment. I would, therefore, ask that I be allowed to raise an artillery company of sixty-four men, which should be attached to this regiment. This company I could raise in a very short time. But more important to the defense of this island than anything is a company of dragoons or mounted men. This island has a sea coast stretching along the Atlantic eighteen miles in length, at any pont of which the enemy could land any number of troops in surf-boats.
The enemy's war vessels are in sight every day; one, supposed to be the Vincennes, having on Monday burned a prize within a mile and a half of the shore. They also anchored on last Thursday evening within two miles of the shore, opposite this town, making the distance, land and water, from the town three and a half miles. Now, if I had a horse company I could patrol the sea beach, and they could not land without my being in so as to meet them at the place of landing. With a cavalry company I could so dispose my infantry as to meet them, the enemy, at almost any point they may attempt to land; but with only six companies on the island, placing one of these at the battery, then you have five infantry companies to protect and guard a coast of eighteen or twenty miles. I hope, therefore, that a company of dragoons will be allowed me in addition to what I have in my command. I regard this as absolutely necessary to our proper defense, and ask to refer you to a report which Captain McRory has furnished at my request, he having been captain of a volunteer artillery company on this island.
I have not as yet visited the mouth of the Saint John's or Saint Augustine, this regiment only having been organized on the 11th instant. As soon as I can see those places I will, if necessary, report their condition.
One more suggestion. I think the Georgia and Florida Atlantic coast ought to be placed under the command, the nature and character of the defenses necessary being the ---
[Letter not finished.]
N. B.-I have no drill officers. My regiment is composed entirely of citizens. I would be glad to have two drill officers attached to this regiment immediately. If I cannot have them sent here I could engage them here if I had the authority.
Be pleased to attend to this without delay, and believe me, yours, respectfully,
W. S. DILWORTH,
MARIANNA, FLA., August 16, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have recently visited Apalachicola and Saint Vincent's Island; examined the work that has been done in the construction of the fort, and concur in the opinions expressed in the inclosed letter from Lieutenant J. A. Alexander, in reply to inquiries made by me. Citizens of Apalachicola have promised to furnish the teams. Of all places in this State Apalachicola is most important to the commercial interests of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, and at present is in a condition almost defenseless. Now is the time to prepare for its defense. A few weeks hence