HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED'Y CORPS,
Saint Andrew's Sound, Ga., March 2, 1862.
Colonel H. R. Guss,
Commanding Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment:
COLONEL: Intelligence, deemed reliable, has been received to the effect that the enemy has abandoned Fernandina and its vicinity, removing the guns and property and that point. It has therefore been decided that, instead of proceeding according to the original project. a portion of the light-draught gun oats, with a part of the land force, shall proceed at once by the inland passage, while the remainder of the fleet will go outside. Your regiment, or rather the eight companies on board the Boston, will accompany the gunboats by the passage, and the transport will at once move up the sound to join them.
On your arrival at Fernandina you will co-operate with the hava force under the command of Captain P. Drayton, of the Pawnee, by landing your troops, taking possession of the town and of the railroad and its crossing over the marsh and the river.
The possession of this road in a serviceable condition may be of the utmost importance to our further operations, and you will consequently use ever exertion to prevent its destruction by the enemy.
Should of the enemy be still upon Amelia Island, you will effect their capture, if possible.
Preserve all public property left behind, and afford every protection to private property, not permitting the appropriation of the smallest article by troops of your command.
Washington you every success, I am, very respectfully,
H. G. WRIGHT,
MARCH 6, 1862.
It if will interfere with any operation of greater importance that you may now have on hand, the General-in-Chief hopes that you will be able to arrange with Commodore DuPont for the prompt occupation of Fernandina, in accordance with the original plan of the expedition. It is supposed that this operation will not interfere with the reduction of Fort Pulaski, which is regarded as a matter of very great importance.
The general would also be glad to have your views in regard to the best disposition to be made of your troops during the approaching unhealthy season, and whether any peculiar arrangements should be made to secure their health during the summer in regard to barracks, diet, &c.
Will General Thomas place write about the substance of the above and send in to the Navy Department before 1 o'clock to day, together with the private letter accompanying it?*
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
* The letter based upon this, and acknowledged by Sherman (p. 253) March 26, is not found.