The fact is, no officer residing at Tallahassee or Quincy can intelligently control an army in this portion of the State with an active enemy in front. I trust that my action in this matter will meet the approval of the commanding general. I have acted in the manner which I considered best calculated to promote the good of the service. It is not for me to question the reason that induced the commanding general to order General Gardner to control the movements of the troops in East Florida from his headquarters in Tallahassee or Quincy, after the enemy had been signally defeated and driven back to Jacksonville and perhaps on board of his transports. As soon as a superior officer arrives in this district I will cheerfully turn over the command and render him every assistance in my power.
The enemy are being watched at Jacksonville, and I will report their movements to-morrow or the next day. As soon as Colonel Anderson arrives a cavalry force will be sent toward Palatka to prevent raids in that direction.
General Seymour sent a flag of truce yesterday from Jacksonville, with a letter, which, with a copy of my reply, I herewith inclose.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., March 4, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded, for the information of the War Department.
Chief of Staff.
(In absence of General Beauregard.)
ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
March 14, 1864.
Respectfully submitted to the Adjutant and Inspector-General.
Please refer to the remarks of General Finegan in regard to General Gardner.
SAML. W. MELTON,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
Jacksonville, Fla., February 23, 1864.
To the general commanding the Confederate Forces, Florida:
SIR: In view of the inconveniences to which the wounded prisoners in your hands since the action of the 20th, near Olustee, Fla., may be unavoidably subjected, I have the honor to propose that they may be paroled and delivered within my lines as soon as possible, and Captain G. S. Dana, of my staff, the bearer of this communication, is authorized to make such arrangements therefor as may be convenient, and a horse-carr or ambulance will be sent for the wounded at such times as may be designated, should this proposal be acceded to.