If the Washington or Butler has a large quantity of lumber on board, send her at once. Dispatch is of the first moment. If you have a light draught steamer, send her by all means. The devil is in the Saxon and he is trying to break her down. Have her sent down here under sail if she does down, so that I may get the Government property out of her.
Very respectfully, &c.,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Send on board one of the schooners a large supply of medical and surgical stores suitable for wounded men.
No great haste required as regards this.
GEO S. STRONG,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,
Fort Pickens, Fla., April 28, 1862.
Brigadier General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I feel it my duty to report to you (that the civil complained of may be remedied as soon as possible) the great injustice that has been done my command, about 2,00 strong, by being located on an island without having suitable boats to transport at one time 100 men off of it for any offensive movement against the enemy, and without steamer or sail vessel belonging to the Quartermaster's Department at my control to keep open communications with the army stationed at other points in the Gulf, to convey or bring any intelligence of the movements of our own troops or of the rebels, to tow flats loaded with troops and munitions for any military operation of this island. A requisition was made by my order on your department in February last for a steamer of 200 or 300 tons burden, as a dispatch boat, twelve surf-boats, 30 feet long, and 100 oars, to which no reply has yet been received.
The condition of military affairs within the limits of my command for the past two months can be summed up in brief as follows: 2,000 men have been stationed on an island without sufficient or suitable means to get off of it, with scarcely enough surf-boats, &c, to land stores for master's Department to communicate with other posts in the Gulf, receiving a mail about once a month or six weeks, and, I will add, almost abandoned by the Navy, as no vessel of war has been of this harbor for the major part of that time; this notwithstanding I have applied to Flag-Officers Farragut and McKean to co-operate with me in attacking the rebels opposite. They were compelled to decline for the time being, as they were employing every available vessel in their squadrons in the grand attack on New Orleans and in blockading.
I have been thus particular in stating the condition of things here to impress you with the importance and necessity of immediately furnishing my chief quartermaster with the boats, &c., called for in the requisition referred to.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. G. ARNOLD,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.