especially between the colonel and two or three espousing his side and the other officers of the regiment, became of such daily occurrence, that I had peremptorily to stop, it and notify all concerned that I would entertain no more complaints until the result of those forwarded had been acted on at Washington. I ordered a court, which is now in session, for the trial of two of the captains and some privates, and since then charges against almost every officer of the regiment have been sent me. I do not demit expedient to exercise the authority vested in me by your letter of the 18th November, unless in marked cases, but I must reiterate the opinion expressed in my letter of the 12th October, that the good of the service requires some stringent action in reference to the officers of this regiment.
And while on this subject I desire to call the especial attention of the Department to the fact that Colonel Wilson is the next to me in rank, and if I am rendered unserviceable the command will devolve on him, and this, serious under almost any circumstances, but remote and isolated as we are, might be of the most vital consequence, and I therefore think it my duty to call your attention to it.
Some more appropriate and efficient means of unloading vessel is a subject of serious consideration. The boats we have answered tolerably well the purpose in summer when the sea was smooth, but in the heavy surf which now almost constantly prevails they are nearly or quite useless. A receiving vessel and good surf-boats are almost of indispensable and immediate necessity.
I respectfully again submit that an officer of more rank than I have should be stationed here, and I beg leave to state that I cannot endure another summer in this enervating climate, and that my health and probably my life will be sacrificed by it. I have now spent upwards of fifteen years in Florida, and I require the bracing influences of a Northern climate. If therefore, consistent with the good of the service, it will be gratifying to me to be relieved by one of the many efficient general officers now in service, and to be ordered to duty in the North.
The rebels have been for some six weeks busily engaged with a large force in putting up batteries on Oak Island, at Deer or Town Point, and are putting heavy (10-inch columbiads) guns in them, and since the bombardment they have erected a battery at the mouth of the Big Lagoon and put one or two heavy guns in in, and have, besides, greatly strengthened their existing batteries.
I have never doubted but that with three or four gunboats and 5,000 men the navy-yard at Pensacola could at any time until October have been taken, and I think the day after the bombardment, such was their panic, it might even with a smaller force have been successfully assailed, but since October they have so materially strengthened their works and erected so many batteries that I should consider an attack as hazardous without strong land and naval forces. We are now strong enough for defense (unless in case of bombardment, when we ought to have more artillery troops), and more will be useless unless a sufficient number is sent to act offensively; and this can only be done with the co-operation of gunboats of light draught of water.
I respectfully renew my application for Parrot's rifle guns and for a large supply of ammunition for those I have. I would also report that there are two 10-inch sea-coast mortars here, but no beds.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,