me from making known to you by letter the reasons why Moccasin Creek should not be stopped, and why the communication with the city of Apalachicola should be kept open. If stopped, it will expose to famine nearly 500 loyal citizens who are now suffering for bread. The stopping of the creek or of communication with Apalachicola will afford to Columbus very slight, if any, means of defense, and to this State none whatever.
If disposed to do so, the enemy can, with a small force, by an attack in the rear, capture the batteries and remove the obstructions. Again, they can now land at Fort Gadsden, without opposition, any force that suits their convenience. Once landed, the whole country on the east bank of the river is open to them, with a straight march to Quincy or to Chattahoochee, leaving the obstructions and its batteries miles to the left, or a march upon Tallahassee. Again, the batteries, as now located, are liable to be attacked in the rear through sloughs or creeks on either side of the river, as the enemy may elect, and the mounts of these sloughs or creeks are miles below the obstructions and batteries, but above Fort Gadsden.
If Apalachicola is not occupied by our forces, the enemy (as before observed) may at any movement occupy Fort Gadsden and fortify it, as well as Apalachicola, in which event thousands of deserters, tories, and negroes would flock to their standard.
A very large proportion, if not a majority, of the citizens left in West Florida are represented to be disloyal-at all events, advocate reconstruction-and have threatened to raise the United States flag in Marianna, and, perhaps, have only been restrained by the presence of the military force (which is now small) in West Florida. In that portion of the State there are large number of deserters from other States, as well as from this. Should the enemy occupy Apalachicola, I do not hesitate to express the opinion that, co-operating with tories and deserters and the negroes that would go to them, they would not require a large force to lay waste, if not subjugate and occupy, all of Florida west of the Apalachicola River, to acquire a large amount of property, and liberate thousands of slaves, and secure subsistence to successfully advance upon Columbus, in Georgia, or Montgomery, in Alabama; or, if they occupy Fort Gadsden, then from that direction send forth destructive raids into the rich and thickly settled portions of Middle Florida and Southwestern Georgia, or threaten the capital of the State, or even Columbus, Ga., should they choose the route up the east bank of the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers.
Where the guns are now in position they are of little avail and ought at once to be moved to Fort Gadsden, whether Apalachicola is occupied or not, and the river above Fort Gadsden (or rather Moccasin Creek) be left open so as readily to subsist the garrison at that place. Fort Gadsden is the key to the whole country, and there the contest must take place, if ever. If it falls,the works above will be but cobwebs in the path of the enemy.
Moreover, all officers who have investigated and expressed an opinion upon the subject agree that with the Saint Mark's River obstructed, a more successful defense can be made at Apalachicola City than at any point on the banks of the river. The situation is healthy and easily defended. The forces which have occupied positions on the banks of the river and suffered severely from sickness, and consequently have been rendered unfit for service, could have defended Apalachicola with the expenditure of half the labor and expense