Two steamers, as already ordered by the commanding general, of not more than 4 feet draught, and one regiment of cavalry and two of infantry would enable me, under the above combined movements, to enter and control the Perdido, Escambia, Blackwater, Yellowwater, and Choctawhatchee Rivers, to destroy the rebel force at Gonzales Camps, to cut off the railroad communication of Mobile with Montgomery, capture all the isolate rebel camps this side the Mobile Bay, thus deprive the garrison of Fort Morgan of land support and of the possibility to escape Admiral Farragut's iron grasp; also prevent all further re-enforcements and supplies for Mobile from Johnston's army, send starvation to that city, and open the way for thousands of starving Union sympathizers in West Florida to return to their old flag and join the Union army.
At the present juncture the Mobile and Montgomery Railroad becomes the most valuable line of communication in the Confederacy, and its destruction appears not less important for us than the destruction of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, just accomplished at Meridian, while it would require only a few regiments instead of as many army corps.
In case the combined movements above alluded to should prove a more stratagem, calculated to avert the enemy's attention from another field of operations and should thus Sherman's army withdraw from Alabama and Gillmore's forces from East Florida, then the necessity of the re-enforcements asked for would become only more urgent, as the rebel troops now concentrated at and around Mobile, relieved from the large opposing armies, would no doubt avail themselves very soon of the good chance to make a diversion upon the Pensacola navy-yard (probably in concert with the iron ram Tennessee) and a desire to strike the long-aimed blow upon my small command.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF EAST FLORIDA,
Numbers 46. Barrancas, Fla., March 2, 1864.
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IV. It being one of the possibilities in prospect that the iron ram Tennessee, which the rebels have succeeded in getting over Dog River Bar, in Mobile Harbor, may pass, with aid of other smaller vessels, our blockading fleet of Mobile, and attempt an entrance into Pensacola Harbor, the commanding officers of Forts Pickens and Barrancas will stop all vessels approaching the harbor during the night until their character is fully ascertained:
By ordered of Brigadier-General Asboth:
E. T. SPRAGUE.
First Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST FLORIDA,
Barrancas, Fla., January 28, 1864.
Captain J. L. GALLOWAY:
CAPTAIN: It appears from your official report of yesterday that Lieutenant Talford and Private Carrol, from Floyd's and Curry's companies, of the Confederate army, deputed by their associates,