II. Brigadier General E. P. Scammon, U. S. Volunteers, is relieved from the command of the Hilton Head District and will take command of the District of Florida.
III. Brigadier-General Potter, on being relieved by Brigadier-General Hatch, will assume command of the Hilton Head District.
IV. Captain E. S. Jewett, acting assistant inspector-general of the Hilton Head District, will discharge the duties of the acting assistant inspector-general of the department during the temporary absence of Captain Gouraud.
By command of Major General J. G. Foster:
W. L. M. BURGER,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., November 5, 1864.
Brigadier General JOHN P. HATCH,
Commanding District of Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 1st, expressing the opinion that the changes directed in my letter of the 31st ultimo will be injurious to the service, and also stating that you desire to be relieved from your duty, the policy of which you cannot approve. I do not see the probability of the predictions which you make as to the consequence of the changes directed. The cavalry force thus far has met with constant losses. By dismounting a regiment the regiment is not taken from the command, but remains to be of more effect, perhaps, if the legs of the men be used instead of those of horses. The post of Magnolia was a positive weakness, causing a dissemination of force on a relatively weak point which the enemy could take by a determined attack. Moreover, in such an event, cavalry could avail nothing in the defense of either Magnolia, Jacksonville, or Yellow Bluff. It has been repulsed in nearly every engagement with the present force of the enemy in Florida, and we cannot reasonably expect better results with an increased force of the enemy sufficient to attack our fortified positions. Furthermore, the military position at Magnolia was very faulty, both as respects the location of the fort and the character of the river bank at that point; the site, being flat and covered within musket range of the fort with woods, would enable the enemy to approach under cover and unobserved. The bend of the river shore presents two prominent points, above and below the landing-place, from which batteries erected by the enemy may drive off the gun-boats and keep the garrison in a state of siege until it surrenders. This work will in no way increase the security of Jacksonville, for in a determined attack on that place the enemy would either capture or isolate Magnolia.
With respect to the other point, viz, the exposure of the country east of the Saint John's, I do not anticipate the result you predict. With the same force on foot I think more efficient action may be expected against any force of the enemy that may cross the river than from the same force mounted, for this reason, that the force of the enemy which crosses the river will probably be on foot, especially if it be in force. If our soldiers are taught to undertake long marches they will accomplish far more in the swamps east of the river than will a mounted force. A certain number of mounted