General Grayson is in a dying condition. General E. K. Smith, I am informed has been appointed to succeed him, and permit me to suggest that his command shall extend west, so as to embrace Apalachicola and Saint Andrew's Bay, and to express the hope that his staff will be composed of gentlemen of military education and experience. This suggestion is made because Colonel Hopkins entertains the opinion, if I am correctly informed, that General Grayson's command does not embrace Apalachicola, and I regret to say that Colonel Hopkins' military ability is much doubted by many worthy citizens, and unpleasant circumstances have consequently occurred, which I apprehend will result unhappily.
From a misapprehension of facts, the Fourth Regiment was tendered by my worthy predecessor without a full complement of companies. Colonel Hopkins has three of these companies at Apalachicola; there are two at Saint Mark's, two at Cedar Keys, and one or two in the neighborhood of Tampa. Thus scattered it is impossible for them to act as a regiment without previous instructions and competent officers.
I would respectfully suggest that Colonel Hopkins be ordered with his three companies to Saint Mark's, to protect that place and the coast between the Ocella and Crooked Rivers, and if the Departments will furnish me with two good engineers and two good drill officers of artillery I will defend Apalachicola with State troops, and such troops as I amy be able to raise and place in a camp of instruction for the army of reserve. If such an order should be deemed advisable, I would be pleased to be informed of it three or four days before Colonel Hopkins shall leave there, and I will visit the place and put the troops in proper positions of defense.
There is another matter to which I would respectfully invite attention. By letter from the War Department, dated June 30, 1861, governor of this State was required to furnish 1,000 men as the quota of the State in the army of reserve, and to place them in a camp of instruction. For this purpose four companies were raised under special commission, and only four, and these were assembled at Fernandina, called a battalion of artillery, and put into the Confederate service, under command of Mr. D. P. Holland as lieutenant-colonel, with Mr. Charles F. Hopkins as major. I am not apprised that such a battalion, if any, was called for or authorized by the Secretary of War, and the appointment of the officers by the governor was, in my judgment, without authority, and contrary to the ordinances of the Convention the Constitution, and the laws of the State and that, if in the course of events, any court-martial shall be ordered,the matter will be inquired into by the civil authority, the commissions declared void and the so-called void, and the so-called battalion will be disorganized and demoralized.
I have felt it my duty thus candidly to submit to you my opinion, and invoke your judgment upon the matters submitted for your consideration. It has been said that perhaps General Smith would not accept the command in Florida, in which event I hope the regiments and companies which have been or may be accepted for service in this State by a general order of the War Department, not interfering with General Bragg's command, may be made subject to my orders, and the defense of the State shall be successful, and at the least possible expense.
I am, sir, very respectfully
Governor of Florida.