There is no good reason, that I can see, why South Georgia should be so divided, and many reasons why it should be under one command, and incorporated with the District of Florida. All of it, and especially the eastern portion, through which the Savannah, Albany and Gulf Railroad passes, is in easier and more direct communication with Florida than with any other portion of your department.
There is a regiment and battalion of cavalry (Colonel Clinch's regiment, and the Twenty-ninth Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Hood), south of the Altamaha, but the commanders inform me they have little or no communication with Augusta, the headquarters of the district and have been for a long time without orders or instructions. It would be useless, I think, to order them away. The men are from that section of country, and public sentiment there is so deplorably disloyal that the men would not go away if ordered; but they may be made useful in that section of country in preventing the enemy from occupying and cultivating the coast, and in co-operating with the troops in this district for its defense. Both the regiment and battalion, I understand, desire to be attached to this district. I have given them some orders and instructions and shall continue to do so when occasion requires it, unless I am instructed to the contrary, but it will be much better to place them, by orders, in this district. I think the enemy will renew the attempt recently made to get possession of this place and to penetrate up the Appalochicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint Rivers. hence, I think the officer commanding this district should also have control in the adjacent parts of Georgia and Alabama. Any local troops that may be in that part of Alabama might be used to prevent raids through the portion of West Florida in this district. Whilst this section of country is so effectually cut off from communication with Richmond and department headquarters (I have not received orders or instructions from either place since I have been here), additional authority should be given to the commander. Under existing orders and regulations much of the business oif the district requires the action of department headquarters, but I do not know where they are, and if they are in South Carolina it requires a long time to communicate with them. I have taken the responsibility, and shall continue to do so until further orders, to act in all such cases as I thought best, without referring to departmnet headquarters. But it will be much better to confer the authority upon me or whoever commands in this section and recall it when there is no longer necessity for it. It will hardly be supposed that I make these suggestions simply to enlarge the area of my authority. I have known for the greater part of three years now the anxious, harassing, and thankless duty of commanding in a large area of country without anything approaching the adquate means of defending it. I make the suggestions because I think, if adopted, they will tend to promote the interest of our country and send this to you by a special messenger, and have to request that you will communicate with me on the subject with as little as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Respectfully forwarded direct to the Adjutant and Inspector-General, because I do not know when or where the copy forwarded to General Hardee will reach him.