has been handed me by Mr. Simmons, and I avail myself of his kindness to transmit my reply.
The main facts connected with these depredations had reached the general commanding and myself through him previous to the reception of your communication, and such steps had been taken to repress them as the means in his hands would allow.
Brigadier-General Gardner, commanding the sub-district in which the operations of these outlaws have been carried on, has been instructed to make use of such means as may be in his power to arrest them and bring them to punishment, and to use every effort to prevent the recurrence of similar acts of lawlessness and plunder. Troops have been placed at his disposal for this purpose. In view of the condition of affairs in this portion of the State the general of the troops from in front of Jacksonville for the purpose of operating in Taylor and Lafayette Counties, but the hope is entertained that at an early day this emergency will have passed
and such disposition of forces may be made as will give entire security to the regions now threatened by the deserters.
I will not close this communication without invoking me neighbors and friends, to whom it is addressed, to preserve that calm courage and self-sacrificing fortitude in the present emergency which is so essential to success, and which has characterized our people in other regions overrun and devastated by the foe. The recent example of the civilians of Richmond flying to arms at the first alarm of approaching danger, marching to the front, and successfully repelling a formidable organized raid upon the capital of our Confederacy, is not only worthy of imitation, but instructive in its lessons. It teaches us what a few cool and determined men can accomplish when thrown upon their own resources and uninfluenced by panic.
The recent raids in your immediate vicinity were doubtless so unexpected as to find the citizens unprepared for resistance, but the confident belief is entertained both by the general commanding and myself that any attempt at a repetition of such outrages by a force of deserters so insignificant in numbers will be met by such vigorous resistance as will result in discomfiture an defeat to those outlaws and villains.
Hoping that no emergency of the kind, however, may arise, I am, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHARLESTON, S. C., March 12, 1864.
General SAMUEL COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector-General, Richmond, Va.:
All quiet in Florida. General Beauregard proposes to erect a battery on Saint John's River, few miles above Jacksonville, to prevent enemy's transports from passing into lower Florida. Appearances indicate re-establishment of forces of enemy in this State. Number of vessels at Hilton Head restored to about same as before movement to Florida.
Chief of Staff.