Number of employes, consisting of clerks, agents, superintendents, mechanics, laborers, engineers, firemen, brakemen, track hands, construction corps, &c., 10,805.
The machine and other shops are conducted entirely to my satisfaction, considering the force engaged, and although we suffer great loss in our machinery and cars by constant exposure to the enemy, I feel fully prepared to meet any emergency that may occur. On the 1st of May I was relieved of the transportation department by Captain S. B. Brown, assistant quartermaster. A statement of the number of troops and the amount of freight transported, as well as the amount paid for transportation, you find in my report hereto annexed.*
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
John C. CRANE,
Colonel, Inspector of Quartermaster's Department,
and Quartermaster of Military Railroads.
[32, 38, 39.]
FORT MYERS, FLA., September 4, 1864.
Captain H. W. BOWERS,
SIR: Since my last, I regret to communicate the death of three men by the rebels. On the 27th instant a signal of distress was discovered across the river at 12 m. and a boat and party dispatched under Corporal Thompson, of my company, with seven men. On nearing the beach a negro well known to him was standing awaiting the boat. Having a small boat in tow, Corporal T. and a colored soldier instead of adopting the usual course of making all wade out ran up to the shore. Instantly a heavy volley of musketry was poured into them, killing both, who fell into the water. The firing was then turned on the sloops and succeeded in mortally wounding a young man, Griner (refugee, since dead), and slightly one of the colored men. Assistance was sent at once, but the rebels were off. There were sixty-five of them, all mounted as we have ascertained. If A and B Companies were here I would rid Southern Florida of them quickly. From refugees arrived here last week from Tampa I learn that all the Confederate soldiers are preparing to leave for Georgia. They report a severe loss in Georgia, which must be admitted with much allowance. Our refugee list now amounts to 416, with much sickness among them. Our last expedition to Fort Thompson resulted in getting 350 head of cattle, with the loss of several horses (given out). I return now forty-eight horses and mules, all unfit for service, out of eighty-six in May last. I am anxiously waiting the return of our companies, as it is almost impossible to get along with the colored troops. I am fully satisfied that each should be separate to accomplish anything. The ignorance of the one and the sensitiveness of the other tends to make every duty unpleasant. In fact the efficiency of the Second Cavalry has been seriously injured by this connection. I do hope you will impress the general commanding with this matter. Our recruiting has been killed off almost entirely, and desertions have commenced, to end I do not know when. The small force now here (40 men) apparently adds to their impudence and insubordination. We have not heard from Cedar Keys since troops left.
In haste, I am, captain, your obedient servant,
H. A. CRANE,