has prevented my visiting and deciding upon the proper position for a defense of that river up to this time. I leave here to-morrow morning for that purpose. I learn, however, from General Floyd that all the guns were landed at Ricco's Bluff, and that they were being put in battery. Unless, therefore, I find the advantages of the lower position [old Fort Gadsden] greatly superior to those of Ricco's Bluff, I shall decide to allow the guns to remain at the latter place.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. TRAPIER,
HDQRS. PROV. FORCES, DEPT. EAST AND MIDDLE FLA., Tallahassee, March 19, 11862.
Captain W. H. TAYLOR,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter of the commanding general, dated Richmond, March 13, 1862.
The regiments of Colonels dowd and Davis were put under orders for tennessee immediately upon the receipt of the general's instructions to that effect. I regret to say that owing tho the limited means of transportation in this military district neither of them has as yet left the State. Their arrangements, however, are now nearly complete, and Colonel Dowd will take up the line of march to-morrow from Madison, on the Tallahassee Railroad, for Quitman, on the Savannah road. Colonel Davis will follow by another route in a couple of days, I hope.
I regret very much my misapprehension of the spirit and intention of the general's letter of instructions of the 1st March. The language used was explicit, and did not seen to leave any discretion with me. I was told "the only troops to be retained in Florida are such as may be necessary to defend the Apalachicola River," and, further, to "send forward all troops not necessary for that purpose, to report to General A. S. Johnston."
With the purpose of carrying out this order, I was assembling the troops in the interior of the State, where it was my intention to have held them till "all the guns and munitions of war" had been secured, if possible; sending forward, however, to the Apalachicola River the forces intended for its defense.
Major-General Pemberton visited this military district a few days since, and had ordered immediate preparations made for the movement of the troops to Tennessee, excepting the guard for the protection of the arms that had been landed at Smyrna, a regiment which was to remain temporarily in observation before Jacksonville, and the independent companies of cavalry, all of which he directed should be retained in the State.
Carrying out my instructions, I had withdrawn from the Saint John's River, which river is now in the possession of the enemy.
I concur entirely in opinion with the general that we should "hold the interior of the State," if practicable, and to this end I recommend the raising and thoroughly arming and equipping bands of guerrillas. The forces at my command are utterly inadequate to the defense of the State generally by heavy bodies of troops, except it be the capital of the State. In front of this place masses of troops may operate, and I strongly advise the concentration here of an army of at least 3,000 men.
I have ordered the troops to withdraw from Saint Augustine, and