War of the Rebellion: Serial 065 Page 0279 Chapter XLVII. THE FLORIDA EXPEDITION.

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Washington, D. C., January 22, 1864.

Major-General GILLMORE,

Department of the South:

GENERAL: Your confidential letter to the Secretary of War was duly submitted. As the wants of the Department of the Gulf are much more pressing than yours, a part of the colored regiments have been sent there. In regard to your proposed operations in Florida, the Secretary replied that the matter had been left entirely to your judgment and discretion, with the means at your command. As the object of the expedition has not been explained, it is impossible to judge here of its advantages or practicability. If it is extended to give an outlet for cotton, or open a favorable field for the enlistment of colored troops, the advantages may be sufficient to justify the expense in money and troops. But simply as military operations I attach very little importance to such expeditions. If successful they merely absorb our troops in garrisons to occupy the places, but have little or no influence upon the progress of the war.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,





Hilton Head, January 31, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: In reply to your letter of the 22nd instant I beg leave to state that the objects and advantages to be secured by the occupation of that portion of Florida within my reach, viz, the richest portions between the Suwannee and the Saint John's Rivers, are: First. To procure an outlet for cotton, lumber, timber, turpentine, and the other products of that State. Second. To cut off one of the enemy's sources of commissary supplies. He now draws largely upon the herds of Florida for his beef, and is making preparations to take up a portion of the Fernandina and Saint Mark's Railroad for the purpose of connecting the road from Jacksonville to Tallahassee with Thomasville, on the Savannah, Albany and Gulf, Railroad, and perhaps with Albany, on the Southwestern Railroad. Third. To obtain recruits for my colored regiments. Fourth. To inaugurate measures for the speedy restoration of Florida to her allegiance, in accordance with instructions which I have received from the President by the hands of Major John Hay, assistant adjutant-general.

I am expected to accomplish these objects with the means at my command. The only requisitions which I have made in excess of my ordinary wants to enable me to accomplish this work speedily are for 1,500 horses and 1,500 sets horse equipments, to enable me to mount some infantry. If the filling of these requisitions will occasion any embarrassment to the departments of supply they can be reduced 30 per cent.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.