War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0290 COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

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Tallahassee, Fla., October 18, 1861.


President of the Confederate States:

SIR: I feel it my duty to present for your consideration the following facts:

First. That for the defense of Florida cavalry is, perhaps, less efficient than for the defense of any other State. At the most important points we should have batteries with guns of heavy caliber. To guard between important points boats of light draught, with signals, at proper distances, and convenient to those guarding distant and exposed positions a few good horses, to be used by expressmen to give notice of any imposing approach of the enemy. Not many troops are required in the Confederate service if those in service shall be commanded at important points by brave and skillful officers. There is much derangement of military affairs in this State, owing chiefly to the desire to enter the Confederate service for short periods and certain pay; but if the War and Navy Departments will respect my opinions I hope to establish such military organizations as will in the end be least expensive and most useful. Our chief reliance in connection with the coast should be infantry and light artillery, not in service, but ready to be at a moment's warning, and to be concentrated where needed to support those in the Confederate service.

The recent authority to W. G. M. Davis, esq. to raise a cavalry regiment has excited a perfect furor upon the subject. The large majority of those who were willing to serve as soldiers of infantry are now in favor of riding into service and I assure you, sir, a battle will never be fought in Florida by cavalry, unless the want of proper coast defenses, artillery, and infantry, shall induce an invasion, and will then be fought at great disadvantage. I entertain no feeling or thought personally unkind to Mr. Davis. He is a gentleman of fine legal abilities. But I do regret that the material for the judicious defense of the State has been so much interfered with by the disposition excited in favor of cavalry service. Independent of the companies raised for Colonel Davis' regiment I have refused commissions to ten associations for cavalry companies within the last two days. Almost every man that has a pony wishes to mount him at the expense of the Confederate Government and I would most respectfully urge the necessity of the appointment of an honest, prudent, and experienced officer to visit Florida immediately and inquire into and report the expenses being incurred. Let him first go to Apalachicola, and ascertain the nature and necessity of the expenditures there in the employment of boats, &c., and report immediately to the proper Departments thence to other positions, and examine and report. It will afford me pleasure to aid in the investigation, and if the officer will come to Tallahassee I will, to the best of my ability, direct the course of inquiry. I am fully persuaded that one-half the amount that will be expended, if there shall be no immediate check to expenditures, wisely appropriated will secure the defenses of Florida, and by means that will be useful in a future emergency. The unnecessary expense for cavalry would supply the means for the proper coast defenses; would enable me to equip companies of light artillery and infantry, which equipments might be preserved to protect the peace which we hope to obtain by the present war. But the hundreds of horses which are now being withdrawn from agricultural industry will be of little avail in war, and leave the State without the means of agriculture, which will be difficult to supply.