Your staff will be appointed and commissioned in accordance with your recommendation, unless some special objection should exist. Upon one point you may require the aid of this Department. You will find, as I am informed, that troops have been mustered into the service of the Confederacy in such manner as to render their services almost valueless, either by reason of the incompetency and inefficiency of their officers, or because mustered for cavalry or artillery where such arms are not required or cannot be procured, or for other like reasons. In a word, I am informed that a radical reform on this subject is required in Florida. Under these circumstances you may be at a loss how to proceed, and I would therefore suggest that on your application the Department would not hesitate to muster out of service all such organizations as would come within the class above described, and then muster the men afresh by companies, so as to leave it in our power to organize the regiments, and appoint the field officers, instead of leaving them to be elected by the men. We might thus hope to obtain efficient and competent officers, and for your guidance I inclose you a circular letter, prepared in answer to the constant inquiries addressed to this Department, and which will inform you of the policy on which we act in receiving tenders of troops. I send you likewise a set of the laws, so far as passed, which you will require for your guidance in many cases that must arise.
I am informed by Mr. Yulee that the Cuban Telegraph Company would place its line at the service of the Government at little or no cost, with the view of having it kept in order until the return of peace shall make it profitable. If this be so you are authorized to make arrangements with them for that purpose, as the keeping up of your communications with Savannah cannot but be very useful in your operations.
You will be sustained by this Department as far as possible in your efforts to discharge the duties confided to you, but our resources in small-arms, in ordnance, and ammunition are very limited when compared with the enormous coast line we have to defend, and we cannot therefore, supply as we would wish, the several points where defenses are necessary. We must concentrate our means as promptly as possible at the different assailable points after the attack, not having enough to furnish any but the most important in advance.
Wishing you success and distinction in your new command, I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN
Acting Secretary of War.
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GEN.'S OFFICE, Numbers 186.
Richmond, October 22, 1861
* * * * *
X. Paragraph X, Special Orders, Numbers 176, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, of October 10, 1861, is revoked.
Brigadier General James H. Trapier, Provisional Army is assigned to the command of the Department of Eastern and Middle Florida, and will proceed at once to Fernandina, under such special instructions as may be given him by the Secretary of War.
By command of the Secretary of War: