conduct as an officer, I respectfully ask for a court of inquiry for an investigation of the same. I would have made this request at an earlier date if I had been informed of the facts.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Second Florida Cavalry.
CAMP MILTON, FLA., March 28, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded, with the recommendation that a court of inquiry be awarded, and that it convene at or near these headquarters at the earliest practicable day.
JNO. F. LAY,
Major and Assistant Inspector-General.
HEADQUARTERS SUB-DISTRICT NO.1, FLORIDA,
Tallahassee, March 21, 1864.
MAJOR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 18th instant, calling my attention to my indorsement upon an application of Colonel Caraway Smith, Second Florida Cavalry, to be restored to the command of his regiment. I make the following statement, which I hope may prove satisfactory to the general commanding:
My connection with the army now operating in East Florida may be said to have only commended after my arrival at Baldwin on the 26th ultimo, and I only got to the actual front the next day. This was several days after the engagement of Olustee. It was during and immediately subsequent to this battle that Colonel Smith is said to have been delinquent in the discharge of his duties. When I assumed command of the forces to which he was attached, and during the short time I was in command, no complaint was lodged against Colonel Smith by the then commander of the forces in the field; but, on the contrary, he was still retained in command of all the cavalry, except a detachment under Major G. W. Scott. I therefore ignored all camp rumors as far as my official action was concerned. Upon assuming command I did not find the cavalry in a satisfactory condition. Colonel Smith could not give prompt and reliable information as to the points occupied by his detachments, nor of the actual number of serviceable men of his command. Colonel Smith professes to be able to account for this by statements that detachments were being constantly sent out without orders passing through him. In any event I was much relieved, upon the arrival [of] Colonel Anderson, by Colonel Smith's application to be relieved from duty which the forces in East Florida, in consequence of his having been superseded by that officer, his junior. From all I could see and learn during the few days I was in command I should have hesitated to order Colonel Smith to the rear until I was fully satisfied it was my duty to bring him before a military tribunal of some sort. It was, and is still, my opinion that Colonel Smith should be brought before some court to investigate his alleged neglect of duty or incompetency, or be returned to his regiment. My indorsement upon his application was made in entire ignorance that any investigation was pending in his case. Had I known that such was the fact I should have forwarded the paper without remark.