HEADQUARTERS FOURTH SEPARATE BRIGADE,
DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Jacksonville, Fla., November 1, 1864.
Captain W. L. M. BURGER,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. District of Florida:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter of October 31 from the major-general commanding the department. I know that the establishment of the post of Magnolia was, in the opinion of the general, not desirable but he deferred to my judgment in the matter, holding me responsible for any disaster that should result from its establishment. No disaster has yet occurred which makes me doubt the judgment exercised in establishing it.
The loss of a portion of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry confirms me in the opinion that the establishment of that post was beneficial. It shows the enemy keep a large force of troops in that vicinity, who would otherwise be closely investing this place or making forays across the river from Volusia. The post will be immediately abandoned as directed.
Our man trouble has been that we have not had sufficient cavalry here, not that we have too much. The horses of the Seventy-fifth Ohio will be sent up as soon as they can be collected. The cavalry force left in the district consists of the remnant of the battalion of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, 7 officers and 48 enlisted men for duty, 50 men sick, and some 12 Florida volunteers not yet mounted.
As this force is entirely inadequate for the protection of the country between the Saint John's and the sea-coast, we may expect forays to be constantly made by the enemy into the counties of Volusia and Saint John's. The close investment of Jacksonville, similar to the condition of affairs when General Gordon was in command, can be confidently looked for as soon as the enemy learn that magnolia is abandoned and the cavalry gone.
I inclose with this a report of the operations of a small detachment of cavalry sent to collect cattle for the post of Fort Clinch.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. P. HATCH,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Numbers 378.
Hilton Head, S. C., November 1, 1864.
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V. Brigadier General E. P. Scammon, U. S. Volunteers, is hereby assigned to the command of the Hilton Head, &c., District, and will relieve Colonel P. P. Brown, jr., One hundred and fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, without delay. Colonel Brown on being relieved will proceed to Fort Pulaski, Ga., and resume command of his regiment.
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By command of Major General J. G. Foster:
W. L. M. BURGER,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.