west of the channel of entrance. To place a garrison at Apalachicola would be to tempt the enemy to concentrate his strength and make an attack, which must, in all probability, result in disaster us. By withdrawing to an interior point, such as has been selected for the defense of the river, the risks to the enemy in making an attack will be much increased. The relative advantages of Fort Gadsden and the position at the Narrows have been carefully considered, and they are decidedly in favor of the latter. Fort Gadsden can be easily turned by landing at Bluff and marching a force to the rear of the position. The same objection applies to Bloody Bluff, as there are landings below. It may be advisable to keep a strong picket at Fort Gadsden or Bloody Bluff, to observe the enemy and intercept negroes attempting to escape.
The channel of Moccasin Creek must be closed, or all the defensive works at the Narrows will be of no avail. Instead of leaving an open channel for transporting supplies to Apalachicola, it will be better (at least the defense will be better) to construct a road across the neck of land from a point opposite Battery Cobb to a point just below the obstructions in the main channel. Over this roads, with assistance from the garrison at the post, can be transported all supplies necessary for the inhabitants and troops below.
I have not given all the considerations that might be named as influencing the location of the defenses along the Apalachicola River, but after many and patient examinations of the whole subject by the engineers, certain points were selected as affording the best means of defense, and I do not think the plans or positions be closed, that the batteries should remain where they are, and that a road be built from a point opposite Battery Cobb to a point just below the obstructions in the main channel for transporting supplies to point below.
I return herewith the letter of Governor Milton, with accompanying papers.
J. F. GILMER,
Major-General, and Second in Command.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, October 27, 1863.
Respectfully referred to His Excellency Governor John Milton, of Florida, for his information.
The written remarks of Major General J. F. Gilmer contain a summary of my views, after a careful discussion of the whole matter at issue with him, Colonel D. B. Harris, chief engineer of this department, and Captain Moreno, chief engineer of Middle Florida.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Tallahassee, Fla., October 15, 1863.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Charleston, S. C.:
GENERAL: The sinking of a ferry-boat at Bellevue stopped all mail communication across the Chattahoochee River, and prevented