War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0410 Chapter XXVI. COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND EAST FLA.

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Foster's staff have indulged in statements and remarks of a character tending to created disaffection, insubordination, and mutiny, it is hereby ordered that all the members of the staff of Major General John G. Foster, commanding the Department of North Carolina, now within the limits of the Department of the South, shall quit this department by the first steamer going North.

By command of Major-General Hunter:

CHAS. G. HALPINE,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Tenth Army Corps.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,

Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., February 24, 1863.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Your attention is respectfully but urgently called to the comparatively defenseless condition, both as regards armament and garrison of the permanent works at Key West and the Tortugas. It is unnecessary to do more than refer to the facts. Of the importance of these works no question can be raised; and it is in view of existing complications of foreign policy, by thick a firm possession of these works is made doubly necessary, that these representations are made for it must be borne in mind that large naval and military forces are nigher these points now than any re-enforcements that can be thrown into them.

The garrison at Key West is about 900 men; that of Tortugas about 200; and even these can ill be spared from this department, in view of operations actually requiring more men than are now at command.

Sufficient re-enforcements to increase these garrisons to their proper standard, viz, that of Key West to 1,200 and that of Tortugas to 1,000 men, should be sent at once. It is suggested that regiments be raised for this especial duty of men, if possible, ot some extent acclimated, and under officers of some artillery experience. Regiments of blacks might find proper service here; and the command of these two works should be given to an old artillery officer with the necessary rank, and there are numbers of such in the service who are perhaps incapable of field duty elsewhere.

The armament of Fort Taylor, Key West, is now six 10-inch and forty-one 8-inch columbiads, two 100-pounders, six 84-pounders, and nine 30-pounders, rifled; total, 64 guns.

That of Fort Jefferson, Tortugas, is six 10-inch, thirty 8-inch, and nine 42-pounder guns, and six 84-pounders, rifled; total, 51 guns.

Both, I submit, should be armed to their utmost capacity with a large proportion of guns of the heaviest caliber know. Either of these works, as at present armed, it is believed, could be carried by a coup de main, and the enemy once in possession it would require great efforts and sacrifices to regain these indispensable positions.

I have respectfully but most earnestly to invite your early attention to this matter, particularly with respect to a prompt supply of guns of the heaviest calibers.

With the highest esteem, general, your most obedient servant,

D. HUNTER,

Major-General, Commanding.