CHARLESTON, S. C., March 30, 1864.
Major General J. PATTON ANDERSON,
Commanding, &c., Camp Milton, Fla.:
Be prepared to return, soon as enemy's movements shall permit, Colquitt's brigade, then the Virginia regiments, then Harrison's brigade. Meanwhile, if you can safely strike at Palatka, you should do so. How are General Gardner's operations against deserters progressing?
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
Camp Milton, March 30, 1864.
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff, Charleston:
GENERAL: I have nothing of special importance to report as having transpired within this district since the departure of the general commanding. A week ago heavy rains set in, which damaged the railroads between Baldwin and Lake City and Baldwin and Gainesville to such an extent that trains could not pass on the former for three days after the occurrence and on the latter up to this moment. As soon as it was known that the interruption to our communication had taken place all the available force at my disposal was put at once to work repairing the breaks in the road from Lake City to Baldwin. This being the road over which our supplies are obtained, it was deemed important to put it in order without delay, which was accomplished on the third day. As soon as the Lake City road was repaired the force was transferred to the Gainesville road, the damage to which was now ascertained to be more serious than was at first supposed. The trestle at Hatchet Creek was washed up and so loosened from its foundations as to need a good deal of work in order to make it safe for trains to pass over. This is now nearly accomplished and the locomotive and train which was at Gainesville at the time the damage occurred are expected at Baldwin to-morrow.
Reports of scouts from Saddler's Point and Read's Wharf above Jacksonville have been regularly received twice a day since the 20th instant (the day General Beauregard left Camp Milton) and the scout at the Saint John's below Jacksonville twice a week. No re-enforcements for the enemy have been reported since the above date as having entered the river. Almost daily transports loaded with supplies have arrived. Bales of hay, sacks of corn or oats, barrels, and boxes constitute the cargoes. But four boats have passed up the river toward Palatka; where one has gone up it has usually been done in a cautious manner, as though they were apprehensive of danger from torpedoes or shore batteries. Colonel Tabb, commanding forces operating in the direction of Palatka, has been directed to watch closely the enemy at that point and to drive in his pickets frequently and compel him to confine his operations to the town or immediate vicinity. This he reports he had performed. In his dispatch dated the 29th instant he says all quiet at Palatka. In this connection it is proper to remark that the scout at Saddler's Point, in his report of this morning at 7 o'clock, says two boats passed down last night, and I believe they had troops on board.