Fla. On my arrival at Apalachicola, I found the batteries dismantled and the guns, carriage, ammunition, &c., already on board the steamboat Marianna and about leaving for Ricco's Bluff, a pint on the river which would no doubt admit of a good defense, but which, after a personal examination of its advantages, seemed to me to be inferior in that respect to a position some miles lower, and known as Fort Gadsden. In a personal interview with Brigadier-General Trapier it was decided to establish the batteries at the latter place, against which an attack by land ought easily to be repulsed, by reason of the almost impassable country through which an enemy must necessarily advance.
I ascertained during my brief stay in Apalachicola that very many of the citizens-probably a majority-prefer to remain there. A large class of the population is compelled to do so, having no means of subsistence elsewhere. Many, however, are abandoning everything and going into the interior. All public property had been removed before my departure. All river pilots were required to leave the city with the troops. The telegraph office was closed, and the instruments for the present transferred to Chattahoochee.
It is proposed to occupy Fort Gaddsden with from 600 to 800 infantry, a battery of six field pieces [not yet equipped], and, in connection with the position, two or three companies of cavalry, to be used as advanced pickets for courier service. Under present instructions from the War Department these are the only troops to be retained in Florida [being considered sufficient for the defense of the Apalachicola River], unless it is deemed advisable to continue a competent guard in the direction of New Smyrna and the Saint John's River, for such arms, ammunition, and other public stores as may be hereafter landed at New Smyrna. This guard I have directed to be retained for the present. It is the more necessary in view of the fact that the enemy, being in possession of Jacksonville, may intercept the stores sent to Baldwin, only 20 miles distant, for transportation by rail. Their safety, therefore, may require a further wagoning to Lake City.
I regret to report a very unsatisfactory condition of affairs in East and Middle to Tennessee, has not yet moved, for the want of the necessary transportation, as stated by General Trapier. Davis' regiment, also under orders for General A. S. Johnston's army, is in a state of mutiny, positively refusing, as I am informed, to move until the arrearage of pay due are received and until satisfied that a sufficient army is left in Florida for the protection of their families. A paper to this effect was shown me by General Trapier a few moments before my leaving Tallahassee, which was signed by several captains, lieutenants, and apparently by some of the rank and file of the regiment. General Trapier desiring to consult with me on the subject, I gave him my views, which will be carried out, i.e., to arrest and bring to trial the captains whose signatures were attached; that the articles of war [7 and 8] bearing upon mutiny be read before the regiment, and the order for the movement immediately reiterated. A personal interview of a few moments with Colonel Davis, commanding this regiment, whom I met with yesterday, on his way to rejoin his command, leads me to hope that this mutinous spirit may be quelled without resorting to stronger measures, and the orders of the Department be curried into execution without further delay.
I find the citizens of Tallahassee much excited on the subject of the withdrawal of the troops, and am informed by Governor Milton and others that the feeling in many cases amounts almost to disaffection.