stances should be changed from their present positions before such communications are secured. The question which you present is not a new one, and it has received the careful study of the various officers who have been in command at Charleston and Savannah, and taking all the bearings of the subject and admitting all the objections to the existing line, I am of the opinion that it will be better to leave it as it is than to make one of greater development when your forces are so small. I advise, therefore, that the additional guns about to be sent to Savannah be added to the present armament of existing works, adding such strength to them as your means will enable you to do, and limit the occupation of the two islands in advance to field and siege artillery with proper supports, even this occupation to be made only when the crossings have been established.
Very respectfully, &c.,
J. F. GILMER,
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
Lake City, August 12, 1864.
General S. COOPER:
GENERAL: Having applied to Major General Samuel Jones, commanding Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, for re-enforcements, which he informs me he is unable to furnish, I feel it my duty to lay before you the condition of affairs in this district, and to bring to your attention certain facts, which, in my judgment, show how eminently proper it is that these re-enforcements should be sent from some quarter. The most valuable portions of Florida are the middle counties of the peninsula, Alachua, Marion, and other counties in that vicinity. Its productive capacity is very great, and the character of its supplies of inestimable value to the Confederacy. The sugar and syrup there produced, cannot, I believe, be supplied from any other portion of the country in our possession. From official and other data, I learn that the product of army supplies will amount annually to 25,000 head of beeves, equal to 10,000,000 pounds; 1,000 hogsheads of sugar; 100,000 gallons of syrup, equal by exchange to 4,000,000 pounds bacon; 10,000 head of hogs, equal to 1,000,000 pounds of bacon; 50,000 sides of leather, equal to
pairs shoes; 100,000 barrels of fish (if labor afforded), equal to 20,000,000 pounds fish. Oranges (sweet and sour), lemons, limes, arrowroot, salt, blockade goods, iron, &c. Counting the bacon at one-third of a pound, and beef and fish at once pound to the ration, there are of meat rations, 45,000,000, equal to the supply of 250,000 men for 180 days (six months).
It must be borne in mind that by a proper system of exchanges, such as cloth for sugar and syrup, and these for bacon, meat can be secured at a much less cost to the Confederacy than in any other mode. The number of barrels of fish is a mere estimate of those that are acquainted with the fisheries. Old fisheries and new ones have been ordered to be opened by the Secretary of War, by indorsement, dated January 20, 1864, on a communication from Mr. John S. Wright, addressed to Major J. F. Cummings, and referred by him to the Chief of the Bureau of Subsistence. The protection of these fisheries by that order devolves upon myself.