Tallahassee, Fla., November 19, 1861.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States of America:
DEAR SIR: The presence of General Grayson, although unable to render service, the expectation of General Smith for two weeks, and of General Trapier for the last three weeks, have prevented me from adopting and enforcing with energy measures necessary to the defense of the State. At all important points we are threatened with attack; nowhere prepared to meet the enemy; and when, as governor of the State, I have applied for arms and munitions of war, I have been answered a requisition should be made by the officer in command of the military department, yet none is in command. It would have been almost as reasonable under the circumstances to have referred me to the Emperor of China. We need troops and munitions of war, and officers of military education, experience, and ability, and, if not promptly aided, Florida may be lost to the Southern Confederacy. Her citizens have almost despaired of protection from the Confederate Government - will lose confidence in it; but being one of the first State to withdraw from the United States, and to resolve to maintain her independence, her gallant sons and daughters would rather perish bravely, sword in hand, vindicating their rights, than yield submissively to or entertain a moment's thought of ever living under the same Government with the people of the North. If General Trapie will not accept the command (and I presume he will not while the enemy holds or threatens an inch of South Carolina), let us have arms and munitions of war, and have an order issued immediately, placing the troops in this State which have been mustered into the Confederate service, not embracing any in General Bragg's department, under my command, and subject to my orders as governor and commander in-chief of Florida, and if I cannot hold positions exposed to the naval armament of the enemy, I will prevent the enemy form holding the position and defend the State against invasion. From every portion of the State I have been appealed to by the citizens to assume the command unperson, and have been prevented by a desire to avoid coming in conflict with the authority and policy of the Confederate Government. Since the death of General Grayson I have correct the evils arising from intemperance among the Confederate as well as the State troops. It is highly important that some one should be in command having the experience and common sense necessary to avoid useless expenditures and to enforce discipline among the troops, and make them available for the defense of the State.
These view are respectfully suggested for your consideration, with the sincere avowal that I would rather co-operate with General Trapier in this military department, if he will accept the command and repair here immediately.*
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir,
P. S. - I am informed that upon the steamer which has just arrived at Savannah rifled cannot and Enfield rifles have been received, and respectfully ask your excellency to place at my disposal 1,000 Enfield rifles and two rifled cannon, with equipments complete, and send them by Captain Noyes, the bearer, and I will successfully defend Apalachicola and Saint Mark's. Also, let Florida have 1,000 sabers, 1,000 pistols
*Some personal matters here omitted.