Jacksonville and Palatka, and Colonel Montgomery was moving into the interior when the order of recall from General Hunter was received. This was deemed necessary by him in view of his operations in the vicinity of Charleston.
As might be expected, the moral effect of the presence of these colored soldiers under arms was very greater, and caused a perfect panic among the rebels throughout the State.
The colored soldiers behaved bravely in all their various actions with the enemy, and in no case did they display any inferiority in point of courage to other soldiers.
I am glad to report that the hostility which at one time existed among the white troops in this department against the employment of colored troops has passed away,a nd they are now perfectly willing to go into action with them.
I shall urge upon the commanding officer of this department the importance of reoccupying Florida as soon as the Charleston expedition is over. It may require a somewhat larger force at first to regain that we have abandoned. Should the Charleston expedition be successful such force can be recruited there. With the Saint John's River for a base of operations the entire State can be readily occupied by our forces and restored to the Union. Has the expedition been allowed to remain in Florida I am confident that its success would have fully equaled your expectations.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
HELENA, ARK., April 6, 1863. (Received 12.20 p. m. 10th.)
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
I addressed some 7,000 troops to-day, and the policy respecting arming the blacks was most enthusiastically received. Generals Prentiss, Washburn, and Hovery made speeches in high commendation of it. Other officers, also the Honorable Mr. mitchell, addressed the troops. It has infused new life into the troops and they say now they see that the rebellion will be crushed. I am strongly appealed to by all officers of rank to stop all trade below Cairo and let nothing come down but supplies for the troops. it is the boast of the rebel prisoners that the capture of Memphis has been of great service to them, as they now obtain abundant supplies. Here all trade with the rebels is interdicted, but at Memphis the board of trade freely gives passes to individuals to take goods, many of them contraband, beyond the lines. Goods coasting millions of money have gone from Memphis beyond the lines and into Arkansas. Teais of wagons have entered Little Rock with goods smuggled from that place. I shall leave here to-morrow.
BOSTON, April 6, 1863.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON:
Will see Wild to-morrow. He will need little time here to select portion of officers if he accepts. If you will allow some discretion to arrange details subject to your revision you will be satisfied with