may receive the authority to form them into companies and regiments as a home guard. You will cause loyal citizens within your command to understand that while the Government of the United States is determined to give its aid and its power to their protection, it also demands their most vigorous assistance. Thus will their support flow from their labors, and thus will their oppressed State once more take its place as one of the sovereigns of the United States of America.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. GORDON,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
JACKSONVILLE, FLA., May 19, 1864.
Commanding Department of the South, South Carolina:
MY DEAR HATCH: I have received your orders relieving the Seventeenth Connecticut Regiment from duty at Saint augustine and assigning Colonel Montgomery with his old regiment to that port. I deem it so much my duty to represent to you the injury I think this change will work to the service that I dispatch their communication by the hands of my aide, Mr. Gray, for your consideration, with the hope that you may be induced to reconsider and revoke your orders, at least for the present. I have assigned command of all the troops east of the Saint John's to Colonel Noble. These troops consist of the Seventeenth Connecticut, One hundred and fifty-seventh New York (six companies), Seventy-fifth Ohio Mounted Infantry (six companies), and Thirty-fifth Colored, Colonel Beecher. These troops occupy the region east of the Saint John's, and are posted on the river as far south as Volusia. While the cavalry scout as far as Lake Harney, my Florida scouts going much further south. This force constitutes the movable column formed under your suggestion, and through guarding the river is held in readiness to raid on the other side; is indeed at this time in a state of preparation to move into Marion County and thence south as much as circumstances may dictate. I only wait to hear from my scouts to order the movement. Some of my scouts are already operating on the trestle-work and bridges of the Florida and Tallahassee Railroad, being perfectly prepared with inflammable substances and having been gone some days. I have no one to whom I can intrust the movement across the river with such assurances of success and safety as to Colonel Noble. I have no one whose judicious management and whose admirable government of the loyal people of Florida east of the Saint John's could equal that the Colonel Noble. I have no one who understands my plans, and who can so well carry out my purposes (the plans and purposes we discussed) as Colonel Noble. Colonel Noble is a man of experience, a lawyer as well as a soldier, a statesman and a gentleman. He has a regiment of white troops whose influence and whose presence is much more favorable to the Government in winning back loyalty settlers and refugees than could Colonel Montgomery with his colored regimen. I say nothing of posting a regiment of black troops in Saint Augustine, for that is a matter of feeling with the inhabitants, but I think the act would be exceedingly injudicious. I very much wish Colonel Noble to retain command east of the