Regiment U. S. Colored Troops, which will be sent to this place immediately, and you will on no account send out Colonel Harris' command as directed by me yesterday. You will receive all your supplies at present from Camp Milton. All wagon trains you send to that place must be accompanied by a strong escort. General Birney has been ordered immediately to Hilton Head to give his testimony before a general court-martial and will start to-morrow. You will therefore be in command of this district. General Birney is of opinion that you had better remain at Baldwin for the present.
By command of Brigadier-General Birney:
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, Jacksonville, July 27, 1864.
Colonel WILLIAM H. NOBLE,
Commanding U. S. Forces at Baldwin:
COLONEL: The general commanding directs me to give you following general instructions:
First. You will build an inclosed work for the defense of Baldwin. For this purpose he sends you 50 axes and 200 shovels. Make the abatis strong, cutting down the trees in the direction of the enemy's advance.
Second. Destroy as much of the Lake City railroad beyond Baldwin as possible. It would be well to send a strong detachment of complete the destruction over the south fork of the Saint Mary's, and complete the destruction of that work, besides burning all the intermediate trestle-works.
Third. The enemy's breast-works toward Jacksonville should be entirely destroyed, but you need not burn the abatis, which is as good for us as for them.
Fourth. Be extremely careful to prevent all information as to your numbers getting to any of the country people. Let none of them come within your pickets to sell produce or for any other purpose. if they should penetrate send them under guard to Jacksonville. The family now there must all be sent to Jacksonville.
Fifth. The troops sent from you should leave some time between dusk and daylight, so that the demonstration of your force shall not be observed.
Sixth. The troops falling back should march by the railroad as far as camp Milton to avoid the swamps, and thence by the big road.
Seventh. Direct them to entirely destroy Camp Milton. Those that are to come to Jacksonville must not make any very long halts for this purpose. They may confine themselves to burning the for this purpose. They may confine themselves to burning the huts and stables, but when Colonel Beecher comes he may halt there long enough to destroy all the works.
Eighth. The Third U. S. Colored Troops will start to-morrow morning for Magnolia, and will march by the Bellamy road to the railroad to Cedar Keys, opposite Newnansville, which they will reach some time on Saturday; they will then probably go down the railroad toward Gainesville. The other troops forwarded by you to this point will march so as to meet at Gainesville. I wish Colonel Harris, after visiting Starke an Waldo, to strike westward to New-
13 R R-VOL XXXV, PT II