portunity, for the reason that I desire definite and satisfactory advices from the War Department upon the several matters submitted.
As early as the 4th of November last I prepared and signed a letter to the President, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, which letter was forwarded for the signatures of the Governors of Georgia and Florida, and which, I am informed, was signed by them and duly forwarded to the President. The object of this letter was to secure the organization of a new military district in the territory described and for the purposes mentioned in the letter. I have never been advised whether the letter reached the President or whether any action was had, as requested by the Governors of the three States named. In a hasty interview with the President when he passed through Montgomery on his way to Mississippi he remarked that General Cobb's command extended to the Choctawhatchie River in West Florida. General Cobb, in a letter of the 27th December, says: "My district is 150 miles wide, and extends from the Suwannee to the Choctawhatchie." In reply to a telegram asking the boundaries of General Cobb's district, General S. Cooper dispatched me on the 28th December that -
The boundaries of General Cobb's district extend from the Suwannee to the Chattahoochee Rivers in Florida. He is principally charged with the defense of the Chattachoochee and Apalachicola Rivers against approaches of the enemy's boats, and his command necessarily embraces both sides of these rivers.
You see, therefore, I am still in doubt and uncertainty as to the precise territory in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida which is embraced in the district commanded by General Cobb. On this point I ask for definite information, and in the same connection ask to be furnished with copies of the official orders fixing both the district of General Cobb and the Mobile district, now commanded by General Buckner.
I wish also to call your attention to the condition of a company of sharpshooters now in the service of the State, and employed as a guard to the works being constructed on the Chattahoochee River. This company was raised in the summer of 1862, at Eufaula, Barbour County, Alabama, and tendered to the State as one of the companies forming our State Guard. The members of the company were nearly all exempts, over the age of thirty-five years, but many of them are now liable to enrollment as conscripts. It is a very efficient organization, and the company is positively needed in the valley of the Chattahoochee. I have therefore to request that this company be allowed to volunteer or to be turned over from the State service into the Confederate service for six months or twelve months, and to report to General Cobb for duty at one of the batteries on the Chattahoochee River. The company is commanded by Captain John Hardy, an efficient officer, with lieutenants of skill and gallantry.
I beg your co-operation also in securing suspension of the enrollment in the counties of Barbour, Pike, Henry, Dale, Coffee, and Covington, and authority for conscripts in those counties to join the organization of Col. James H. Clanton for coast defense. The fact is that West Florida is so thinly populated and the contiguous counties of Alabama so denuded by their contributions to the Army that unless an efficient force is sent to that section a few hundred men will be able to sally out from Choctawhatchie Bay and rob and lay waste the country. The country near the coast is the common retreat of deserters from our army, tories, and runaway negroes. If Colonel Clanton can complete his regiment of cavalry and has authority to accept and muster in two or three companies of infantry and can get a section of artillery, he