War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0256 COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

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Desirous, however, of strengthening you as soon as possible. I shall send to General Sherman a copy of your letter of the 26th instant, and ask that more troops be furnished, if they have them to spare.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS,

Jacksonville, Fla., March 28, 1862

Captain LOUIS H. PELOUZE:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that nothing of importance has occurred at this place since the date of my last letter.

Last night the pickets fired upon a party approaching them in what they conceived to be a suspicious manner, and of the two in advance killed one and wounded the other. They proved, upon examination, to be a party of negroes, who had escape from their masters at Lake City.

Information in regard to the positions and strength of the rebel forces is somewhat indefinite. From the best I can gather there are still several companies-six or seven perhaps-in the neighborhood of McGist's Creek, about 12 miles from here, and an additional force at Baldwin and at Sanderson, still farther off on the railroad. The last are of Colonel Hopkins' regiment, the Fourth Florida; those at McGist's Creek are of the Third Florida Regiment, commanded by Colonel Dilworth. An attack upon a portion of this force may be expedient, but at this moment I have not the information to warrant the movement.

Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, commander at Saint Augustine, applies pressingly for re-enforcements, as the marines sent by the flag-officer to that post have been withdrawn. I have replied in effect that the condition of affairs here and at Fernandina does not permit me to increase his garrison from my command and that while he should afford such protection as is in his power to persons and property in town, he should not by so doing compromise the safety of his command. I have further advised him that Fort Marion, with the armament he has put in place, will enable him to resist any attack likely to be brought against him, and that he should therefore direct his attention mainly to that point.

He represents, as will be seen by his letter that the loyalty of the people generally is doubtful, thus affording an additional reason for not exposing his force unnecessarily to protect a people who are not disposed to take active steps for their own defense. I think, however, with Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, that two additional companies to his garrison would be desirable, if they can be spared. With my present force I cannot spare them.

I would also suggest that the two sections of the light battery at Fernandina, under the command of Captain Ransom, would be of more service here than where they are. With that additional force I could operate against the enemy with much more prospect of success. I do not feel authorized, under existing orders, to bring them here for such a purpose without the sanction of the general commanding.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.