[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
March 5, 1864.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Commanding Dept. of S. Carolina, Georgia, and Florida:
GENERAL: In reply to your inquiry as to my opinion of the strength of the enemy and the propriety of attacking him in his defenses at Jacksonville, I have the honor to say that in the recent battle of Ocean Pond his forces were not less than 8,000 or 10,000.
The following regiments were ascertained to have been upon the field: White regiments of infantry, Forty-seventh, Forty-eighth, and One hundred and fifteenth New York, Sixth and Seventh Connecticut First and Twelfth Massachusetts, and Seventh New Hampshire. Black regiments of infantry, Sixth and Eighth Pennsylvania and Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, one battalion of cavalry, and Fortieth Massachusetts Mounted Infantry. Artillery, Batteries B and M, and Hamilton's battery of regulars.
From nearly all of these commands prisoners were taken, and letters found upon the field gave specifically the denomination of the forces which constituted the expedition. The negro regiments were full, numbering, 1,000 men or more, and from the best information I could get the white regiments averaged 700. To what extent the enemy has been re-enforced since his retreat to Jacksonville I can only form an opinion. The facts and circumstances relating thereto have been communicated to me only in casual conversation with superior officers. There seems to be no doubt that re-enforcements have arrived. I do not think it safe to calculate the present strength of the enemy at less than 12,000 effective men. I have no hesitation in saying that an assault upon the fortified position of the enemy with our present forces would be attended with disastrous consequences. If it should prove successful the cost would be greater than the advantage gained.
A. H. COLQUITT,
[Inclosure Numbers 3.]
HEADQUARTERS FINEGAN'S BRIGADE,
In the Field, March 5, 1864.
Major HENRY BRYAN,
MAJOR: In reply to questions submitted to me from your office in reference to my opinion of the enemy's force, I have the honor to say that, judging from the number of troops we met in action at Ocean Pond, and the number of re-enforcements said to have been received (according to the most reliable information), I do not think there can be less than 10,000 or 12,000 troops In Jacksonville, at the lowest estimate, at this time. Flanked as Jacksonville is by two creeks, and with their gun-boats in their rear, and being fortified in front, as they doubtless are, it seems to me entirely impracticable to take the place by assault without a very great loss to us, even if taken at all.
The estimate above given of the strength of the enemy has been gathered from various sources, such as prisoners, citizens from town,