erate States Marshal, and Judge John C. McGehee, in relation to deserters in Taylor County and its vicinity. Immediately on receipt of the letter from department headquarters, authorizing a general amnesty to be granted to deserters, and that they be allowed to join organizations in Florida not exceeding 4 in any one company, I sent Confederate States Marshal E. E. Blackburn, and Captain Bird, of the Second Battalion Infantry, to confer with the ringleaders, and, if possible, induce them to return to their duty. They were unsuccessful int heir efforts to obtain an interview.
The deserters in question are located in the Middle District, in a large and difficult swamp on the coast, and have increased so much in number and boldness as to endanger the peace and safety of the neighborhood, and unless promptly arrested will prove demoralizing to the service. They are not confined to deserters from the troops serving in the Middle District, but are supposed to embrace many from the armies of Virginia and Tennessee. I am led to believe that they have communication with the enemy on the coast, from whom they receive aid and comfort. If approved by the commanding general, I will order a discreet officer, with a sufficient number of men to prevent effectual resistance, to proceed to the section of country infested by these deserters and station them there sufficiently long to arrest the gang.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
MOTICELLO, FLA., October 5, 1863.
General JOSEPH FINEGAN, Lake City, Fla.:
SIR: In compliance with your request, Captain P. B. Bird and myself, on Monday, the 28th ultimo, proceeded to the neighborhood of the Cokers. On Tuesday evening, we saw their brother-in-law (James Moody), informed him of our business, requested him to procure an interview between us and the Cokers; that we would meet them at Hampton Springs, on Thursday of that week. Moody promised to procure the interview, if possible.
We went to the Springs, and remained until Friday morning. they did not meet us. We then returned to this place. I am now satisfied that they do not intend to come out of the woods. I think we have troops enough in Florida to hunt up all such fellows. I think the sooner it is done the better for the good of the service and the country at large.
To operate against the deserters in that swamp, you will want a company of men to go in small boats, one party down the Finholloway, the other down the Spring Warrior. Let them coast around until they meet, search out all the creeks and inlets, capture or destroy their small boats and fishing smack (I understand they have a water should go in advance of those who many go as infantry in the swamp, so as to cut off their retreat by water before they take the alarm. There should be a cavalry a force to scour the country between the two creeks named (12 miles apart), to prevent their escape from that swamp into some other. These boats might be made in the interior and carried down int he place of wagon-bodies, and their