Saint John's. I am just reducing chaos to order. Colonel Noble is working out my plans and organizing the loyal Floridians into helpers for the Government with marked success. For these reasons I trust you will allow me to retain him. I do not know when or how to replace him. I therefore take the liberty of asking you to reconsider your decision, and leave Colonel Noble with his regiment east of Saint John's for the present.
I am thankful for the victories, but I pine to share them with the old Army of the Potomac.
Ever faithfully, yours,
GEO. H. GORDON,
Brigadier-General of Vols., Commanding Dist. of Florida.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Jacksonville, Fla., May 19, 1864.
Colonel WILLIAM H. NOBLE,
Commanding U. S. Forces east side of Saint John's River:
COLONEL: You will have received the order directing you to change the location of Colonel Beecher in such manner that Colonel Carmichael will command the post at Picolata. I learn from Colonel Beecher that you have sent some of Colonel Carmichael's men to Orange Springs and Volusia. I think you had better place that portion of the river between a few miles above Picolata and opposite Palatka under charge of Colonel Beecher, giving him exact instruction as to the duty of watching and holding his command in such readiness that you can collect and use them when I give the signal.
The portion of the river between Picolata and Jacksonville, or toward Jacksonville, will fall to Colonel Carmichael. I am so dissatisfied with the way in which the river is guarded that I send you the following sketch* and explanation. You will see that this requires eight boats and will see the location of these boats.
I have just received the advice from the best pilot on the river as to the channel from Jacksonville to Picolata. He thinks the most dangerous ground is that between Picolata and mouth of Black Creek. The pilot thinks if one boat was stationed at a point about 4 miles north of mouth of Six-Mile Creek, and one at Picolata (distance between the two places about 10 miles), these boats to patrol constantly until they meet, that distance would be well protected.
Second position would be, one boat from 4 miles north of Six-Mile Creek, and one opposite mouth of Black Creek, to patrol constantly until they meet (distance about 11 miles).
Third position would be one boat at mouth of Black Creek and one at Mandarin, to patrol until they meet (distance 12 miles).
Fourth position, one boat from Mandarin and one from Jacksonville, to patrol until they meet (distance 15 miles).
I will send one boat nightly from Jacksonville, and also post one at Mandarin, so that you will have but six to attend to. I will send you more if you wish it. These boats should halt and challenge all boats they meet. I wish you would also see that sufficient ammunition is supplied the troops of your command. See that all guns are in good order. Order Colonel Beecher to make a report for these