able point at any convenient distance on your right flank for crossing your force and making a flank movement when directed. Construct works for artillery to command and defend this crossing.
Major G. W. Scott is appointed chief of the vedettes, and will be furnished with a detachment of 150 picked men, including 8 commissioned officers, for the purpose of watching the movements of the enemy and giving correct information.
In event the enemy is on this side of the Saint Mary's in force you are to act entirely on the defensive, and if strongly threatened to fall back on your intrenchments at Ocean Pond.
Acknowledge receipt of this and keep General Gardner informed at this point of all movements.
J. L. CROSS,
MARCH 6, 1864.
Brigadier-General Finegan stated on the morning of the 27th ultimo that he never received this communication.
J. L. CROSS,
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
Tallahassee, February 23, 1864.
Brigadier General JOSEPH FINEGAN,
GENERAL: I have sent you by telegraph a message from department headquarters, handed to me after leaving Lake City for this place, directing me to assume command of the forces now operating in East Florida until the arrival of General Taliaferro, who has been ordered to that command. I feel extreme delicacy in assuming command over an officer whose forces have gained so recently such signal success over the enemy, but the receipt of the telegram from the general commanding the department necessarily imposes upon me some responsibility for the future movement of our forces. I cannot but think that the moment for reaping the full benefit of your success has passed. The enemy has doubtless taken advantage of the interval since the battle of the 20th instant to reorganize his defeated forces, and he may not only have strongly intrenched himself, but may be receiving re-enforcements. In view of the fact that heavy re-enforcements, both of infantry and cavalry, are no en route and may soon be expected to arrive, it appears more prudent to act on the defensive for the present; but if, through Major G. W. Scott, appointed chief of the vedettes, or any other reliable information, you are convinced that no considerable body of the enemy are occupying a strong position between the Saint Mary's and Jacksonville, you will be authorized to cross that river with the main body of your forces, provided measures are taken to securer you safe retreat across the river if it should be found necessary to do so. Keep me advised by telegram of what is transpiring. Should General Taliaferro not arrive in a few days I will return to the front.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. M. GARDNER,