capture every man you find there within conscript age, who does not belong to some recognize organization, or show a lawful exemption from competent authority, and will use every means you may deem necessary or advisable to restore order, extending your operations to include the capture of Fort Myers, should you judge it to be expedient. The main object of your expedition is to facilitate the operations of the commissary department in South Florida, and you are fully authorized to take any measures you may find requisite in attaining this end. You are empowered to call upon the quartermaster's and commissary departments for the needful supplies for your command. During the progress of your operations you will report to these headquarters, at least once a week, and on the termination will make a full report of the expedition and its results. When the object of your expedition is accomplished, you will distributed your command among the posts on the plan proposed by General Finegan.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. G. BARTH,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., April 25, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: I received to-day a letter from Lieutenant Colonel H. L. Clay, assistant adjutant-general, communicating to me your request that I would furnish the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office with a report explanatory of my delay in repairing to the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, as required by paragraph VII, Special Orders, Numbers 78, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, April 2, 1864.
In reply I have to state that I received the order specified on the 4th instant. At that time I was on duty, to which I had been assigned by an order from the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, as president of a court of inquiry in session in Richmond. On receiving the order I called on you and asked if I should proceed immediately to obey it. You replied that I must not until the business of the court was concluded. The court adjourned on the 7th instant. The President had by proclamation invited and requested all persons, in and out of the army, to observe the next day, the 8th of April, as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, and I believe that all military duty, not strictly necessary, was suspended on that day. The record of the court of which I was president was not made up and ready for signature until the 9th instant, when I signed it and started the same day, in accordance with the order I had received, to report to General Beauregard at this place.
As the Government had prohibited the running of passenger trains on some of the road going South, and as I desired to send my horses to the department to which I had been ordered, I consulted the Quartermaster-General as to the route it would be most convenient to his department I should travel. He designated the route by Danville, Va., and through North Carolina. I accordingly started by that
29 R R-VOL XXXV, PT II