Report from Brigadier General
Commanding Officer, U.S. Forces, District of Florida,
On Progress into Florida [first report of that date?]
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
February 17, 1864
GENERAL: The excessive and unexpected delays experienced with the locomotive, which will not be ready for two days yet, if at all, have compelled me to remain where my command could be fed; not enough supplies could be accumulated to permit me to execute my intentions of moving to Suwannee River. But now I propose to go without supplies, even if compelled to retrace my steps to procure them, and with the object of destroying the railroad near the Suwannee that there will be no danger of carrying away any portion of the track. All troops are therefore being moved up to Barber's, and probably by the time you receive this I shall be in motion in advance of that point. That a force may not be brought from Savannah, Ga., to interfere with my movements, it is desirable that a display be made in the Savannah River, and I therefore urge that upon the reception of this such naval forces, transports, sailing vessels, &c., as can be so devoted may rendezvous near Pulaski, and that the iron-clads in Wassaw push up with as much activity as they can exert. I look upon this as of great importance, and shall rely upon it as a demonstration in my favor. There is reason to believe that General Hardee is in Lake City now, possibly in command, and with some force at his disposal, but nothing is visible this side of Sanderson. Saddles. &c., for mounting the Seventh New Hampshire as rapidly as possible are needed here, and I shall send a portion of that regiment to this point as soon as it can be spared subsequent to my advance. I have sent for the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts entire to come to this point; the Tenth Connecticut (eight companies) to remain at Saint Augustine, two companies to go to Picolata. I shall not occupy Palatka or Magnolia at this moment; when I do portions of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts will be sent from Jacksonville. The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts will remain here for the present or until the Twenty-fourth relieves it. The Second South Carolina and Third U.S. Colored Troops are at Camp Shaw (late Finegan) for instruction and organization. The First North Carolina will be left at Baldwin, detaching three companies to Barber's. Colonel Barton will have the Forty-seventh, Forty-eighth, and One hundred and fifteenth; Colonel Hawley will have the Seventh Connecticut, Seventh New Hampshire, and Eighth U.S. Colored Troops; Colonel Montgomery the Third United States (Editor's Note: Did Seymour mean the 35th USCT?) and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts; Colonel Henry the cavalry and Elder's battery; Captain Hamilton the artillery. As soon as possible Metcalf's section will be sent back; at present I should like to use it. Colonel Guss is ordered to keep six companies in motion from Fernandina constantly, and at least five days out of seven (every seven) toward and beyond Camp Cooper. Nothing appears to have been done upon the locomotive while at Fernandina, so it is reported to me. The prompt use of a locomotive and of a printing press with this movement were of the most vital importance, and will continue so to be. I trust both will soon be economized.
And I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Copied from The Official Records of the War of Rebellion.
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