Your instructions that Lieutenant-Colonel James and Major Richardson should continue for the present in their respective commands have been made known to those officers, and they have cheerfully complied with your wishes. Lieutenant-Colonel James has been very efficient and energetic in his duties, almost everything having devolved upon him in the absence of Major Richardson upon recruiting service.
The companies of Captains Grace and Attaway, for Confederate service, now full, and Captain Gregory's, not yet full, constitute the force now at Ricco's Bluff. All other troops have returned to their homes. Subsidence for the troops at Ricco's Bluff has been sent from Apalachicola to that point.
The balance of Captain Dunham's company, the Milton Artillery, have orders to be at Chattahoochie to-day. I deemed it prudent to leave him with the remainder of his company at Apalachicola for a few days, to keep order there and prevent communications being sent to the enemy's vessels and to protect the balance of the women and children desiring to leave that place immediately. Captain Thigpen's company of dragoons was not reorganized in full.
I had the telegraph office at Apalachicola closed, and apparatus removed on the day of my departure. Some river pilots have been arrested and brought to Chattahoochie. this was done as a measure of prudence, and not because their loyalty was suspected.
In descending the river I examined all the available positions with a view to the erection of batteries on the east bank. I beg to submit to you my opinion of these. Fort Gadsden is too much exposed; a long and wide reach of the river would enable the enemy to take distant positions, and with their heavy guns play upon batteries erected there. The only advantage this place has is that there is a thick swamp below it. Ricco's Bluff also possesses this advantage, besides many others. The sharp bend of the river compels vessels to approach within very short range of our guns in coming up and they must come immediately under them in turning the point, and again be in short range if they succeed in passing the point. Fort Gadsden is also represented by old settlers to be extremely unhealthy, while Ricco's Bluff is reported to be a healthy location.
I examined other points, and regard them all as possessing but few advantages by comparison with Ricco's Bluff. Re-enforcements are much required to expedite the works now progressing at that point, and I earnestly recommend that they should be sent there as early as practicable.
I have the honor to be, your excellency's very obedient servant,
R. F. FLOYD,
SPECIAL ORDERS, ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 63. Richmond, March 19, 1862.
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XXIX. Brigadier General J. H. Trapier is relieved from the command of the Department of Florida, and will proceed without delay to Decatur, Ala., and report for duty to General A. S. Johnston, commanding. Colonel W. S. Dilworth is assigned to the temporary command of the Department of Florida.
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By command of the Secretary of War: