than which no better are now my disposal. You will appoint an officer to receipt for the ordnance that is sent to you. Lieutenant Michie, U. S. Engineers, will inform you as to the destination of the cannon. Two 18-pounds, two 6-pounders (brass), and two 3-inch rifles and forwarded. Captain James' guns will be left in reserve, and as 2 horses can draw these small guns a short distance, Captain James may be charged with the conduct of the two rifles (3-inch) as a part of the reserve artillery. The rifle-pits running through the oak wood will be enlarged so that the ditch will be a decided obstacle, which stockade will be placed at Mr. Michie's direction. A line of abatis from the river to the cleared ground, through this wood, will be constructed, say 200 yards in advance of the ditch, and this abatis will be made as strong as possible. Some of the trees near the works (and in rear) will be arranged so that sharpshooters can occupy them; a plan with slats nailed to it so as to ascend the tree. The wood will be spared the ax at present. The palmettoes can probably be burned; if so, put a regiment out to effect it. Place all the obstacles in front of your works that you can, particularly on the left.
The Ottawa goes up to-day; as she cannot get over the flats without assistance, you will send the Hunter to assist her at the earliest moment. Send the Hunter back the night following her arrival.
I am doubtful about your sending to Silver Springs; it is some distance beyond Orange Springs, on the road to Gainesville. Any cavalry that you send there will probably be lost, and you will undertake nothing does not give every prospect of success. As you information is much better than mine, the matter is left to your own discretion. Endeavor to get reliable persons to penetrate (to be gone several days) to Gainesville, &c. A good negro guide, with a good white soldier, seems the best method.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Jacksonville, Fla., March 17, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to the major-general commanding the suggestion that during April and May operations can go on in Florida with perfect comfort to the command, after which extreme hot water will probably preclude all offensive movements.
Charleston, the Confederate now well understand, cannot be seriously approached with any force in this department; the same is doubtless true of Savannah. At both those points neither offensive nor defensive operations will be of much moment.
In Florida the enemy has concentrated all troops that can be spared from the enemy has concentrated all troops that can be spared from the above points. Attention can be distracted to other places, and by the use, for a week or so, of all the troops that can be spared elsewhere, the opposing forces here should be overcome. If such result can be obtained, its importance cannot be overrated. To vanquish such troops ar are in the field is the final military aim