JACKSONVILLE, March 14, 1864.
Brigadier General J. W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have to report that I return from a visit to Palatka last night. The defensive works there are already in a condition for use, and although more extensive necessary than was anticipated, on account of the topographic features of the locality, are very favorable for defense by a garrison of from 500 to 800 men.*
The redoubt in the center will require two or three siege guns, and I shall probably send there two 24-pounder smooth and one of the old carronades; the two 6-pounders captured here to be so arranged as to be placed wherever circumstances may direct, and to be harnessed by the post teams and left habitually in reserve. As Saint Augustine cannot now be approached by any force except small squads of cavalry, a few of the unimportant guns there might properly be taken either to this point, Jacksonville, or to Palatka. I would recommend that Picolata be occupied soon, r a point immediately opposite it would be better, if a favorable place can be found for holding by a small force.
There are many refugees in the vicinity of Palatka, and particularly, on the east side of the river, and as soon as it is evident that Palatka is permanently occupied I doubt not but that many deserters will cross to the east side of the river, and that some organization may be effected for their protection.
There is no news from the immediate vicinity. I would suggest to the major-general commanding the propriety of bringing to this point, when the veterans shall have returned, every available man in the department, for the purpose of attacking the enemy's force near here. Probably an overpowering attack might have the happiest result.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
MARCH 16, 1864.
The intrenchments at Palatka should be made very strong, as regards their power of passive resistance. The establishment of a post at Picolata is not deemed advisable just now.
I desire that special attention be directed to the safety and perfect security of our water communication as far up as Jacksonville. The enemy ought not to be allowed to et on the bank of the stream below that place. Frequent scouts from the river under cover of a gun-boat are recommended.
Q. A. GILLMORE,
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Jacksonville, Fla., March 15, 1864.
Brigadier General J. W. TURNER.,
Chief of Staff and of Artillery, Dept. of the South:
GENERAL: I have to report that there are now here three 30-pounder and two 20-pounder Parrott rifles, one 24-pounder James
* Small diagram omitted.