Caloosahatchee, about 12 miles from its mouth and 150 miles from this place, and soon afterward brought down the detachment of Charlotte Harbor to the same place. Three men were found at the fort and captured, viz, a Mr. Griffin, whose business it seemed to be to purchase from the Indians artilces useful to the so-called Confederate States; Mr. Lewis, Indian agent and interpreter, and a third person. These men had made preparations to burn the buldings. Ths I anticipated, and directed an approach by night; so, being surprised, they were not able to execute their plan.
Fort Myers is too far south for any very effective operations, but it furnishes, I think, a secure lodgment for a small force, and refugees wishing to join us can reach the place by land. As to ulterior operations, two plans present themselves:
First. A movable attack upon the most assailbale parts of the coast and adjacen tland, tending to break up the coast guard, to facilitate the escape of slaves and refugees, and to destroy the salworks and the places of marine trade too far in the interior to be reached by the blockading squadron. This will require, say, a force of 1,000 infantry and 200 cavalry, with steam-boats of light druaght sufficient to carry it in a body from point to point.
The second plan includes the first, and adds the occupation of Tampa, and perhaps one or two other places farther north, and occasional movements into the interior with force sufficient to stop the cattle dirivng from Middle Florida and destroy the railroads. This will require, say, 4,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry. It will be sufficient, I think, for the indicated purpose, unless the Confederates oppose it by a still larger, much larger force.
Rear-Admiral Bailey has shown the greatest disposition to assist our little military operations. In my recent trip to Charlotte Harbor he placed the steam gun-boat Hunduras at my disposal, and directed Captain Baxter, commanding the three saild gun-boats at Charlotte Harbor, to keep himself in communication with fort yers and render all necessary assistance. Much assistance has already been rendered in carrying men and property.
I earnestly hope the commanding general will give me the means to undertake at least the first plan above mentioned.
D. P. WOODBURY,
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Numbers 31.
Hilton Head, S. C., January 28, 1864.
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VIII. The brigade of Colonel Montgomery, consisting of the Second South Carolina, Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, and Third U. S. Colored Troops, will prooceed to Hilton Head and report to Brigadier-General Seymour. The quartermaster's department will furnish transportation.
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By command of Major General Q. A. Gillmore:
ED. W. SMITH,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General.