Jacksonville, Fla., March 25, 1862.
Captain LOUIS H. PELOUZE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding that I left Fernandina yesterday morning with the Ninety-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Cosmopolitan, and arrived here and landed the troops last evening. Havin struck upon the Saint John's Bar, we were obliged to cast off the schooner in tow, laden with camp and garrison equipage and stores; and, as the tide was rapidly falling and the wind high, we were forced to leave her at anchor. The troops consequently had to be quartered in vacant buildings on shore, instead of going into camp, as I had designed.
Last night or rather this morning, at about 2 o'clock, a party of the enemy, numbering some 50 perhaps, made and attack upon one of our picket stations, and, out of the 7 men composing it, killed 1; severely, and it is feared mortally, wounded another, and captured 3 more. The remaining two escaped. So far as I can learn from the reports and an investigation of the case, the picket was guilty of gross carelessness and suffered itself to be completely surprised.
Yesterday morning it seems that two members of another picket station went out beyond the lines, and have no doubt been captured. Indeed, it is so reported by a deserter from the enemy who has since come in. These occurrences will no doubt have the effect to make the guards more watchful, by proving to them the [consequences] to themselves of any neglect of vigilance in an enemy's country.
I have to-day looked carefully over the ground in advance of the town and find it much more difficult to defend and to picket than I had imagined from the map. Two companies will be necessary for a proper picket guard, and this daily detail, with the number necessary for camp and provost guards, will bear heavily on the command. Some re-enforcements would be desirable if any troops can be spared.
Considerable fatigue work will be necessary also in cutting down the scrub and timber on the outskirts of the town, which now afford cover to parties approaching the pickets. This labor will be undertaken the moment the vessel referred to as having camp and garrison equipage, &c., arrives.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. WRIGHT,
HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS,
Port Royal, S. C., March 26, 1862.
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 6th instant* was not received until the 21st instant, and then through the hands of Flag-Officer Du Pont.
I had already been directed by Major-General McClellan to abstain from my preparations for the siege of Savannah and confine myself to Fernandina and the siege of Fort Pulaski. Your letter of the 6th recommends me to reduce Fort Pulaski in preference to attempting Savannah. In my letter of the 14th December last the Department will perceive that my plan was to carry on both at once. The essential
*See McClellan to Sherman, March 6, p. 238.