[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Numbers 104. Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., February 21, 1863.
In view of active operations now pending in this department rendering an additional engineer officer necessary at these headquarters, First Lieutenant Walker McFarland, U. S. Engineers,now stationed at Key West, will embark for Hilton Head on the vessel taking down this order without delay.
By command of Major-General Hunter:
CHAS. G. HALPINE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Tenth Army Corps.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
Washington, March 25, 1862.
Lieutenant W. McFARLAND,
Corps of Engineers, Fort Taylor, Fla.:
SIR: On the subject of your letter of the 12th instant, received on the 20th, I have to reply that your duties in the preparation of the system of defenses at Key West are exclusively under the control of the Engineer Department from which the plans of these defenses and the instructions for their execution have been and will be supplied, the funds applied thereto being derived from the Treasury on requisition from this department, approved by the Secretary of War.
That this is the case cannot but be well understood throughout the Army, and it must be assumed therefore by me that no officer commanding troops at Key West or elsewhere will undertake to interfere in your execution of those duties.
Should, however, any such interference take place, it will be your duty to represent it writing to the officer who may give your orders contravening the instructions from this department under which you are working, or impending or interfering with the construction of the defenses according to the plans and instructions furnished you from here, that these plans have the approval of the War Department, which requires that they shall be pressed forward with all the vigor permitted by the appropriation; that you are held responsible for the execution in strict conformity thereto and to the instructions furnished you from the Engineer Department, and that you respectfully protest against any orders touching these duties being given you by any other authority.
This done, if the orders are persisted in it will be your duty to obey them but you will in such case at once report to the Engineer Department full particulars of the occurrence at it takes place, in order that this office may inform the Secretary of War that its responsibility as to the prosecution of these defenses and the expenditure of funds appropriated therefor has been removed by such interference.
I trust no such question will arise to impede the progress of your works, so indispensable to the preservation of the island and harbor of Key West and to the control by the Union of the Gulf of Mexico; and it will diminish the probability of such unfortunate result for you, in the spirit that always governs the officers of your corps, to have a full understanding with the commanding officer that you heartily desire to aid him in every possible way consistent with full success in the paramount and peculiar duties of your engineer trust.