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[189] the Secretary of War had always opposed the adoption of such a system, and was only induced to take a step in the matter on or about the day of the battle of Ocean Pond. At that time Lieutenant-General D. H. Hill was ordered to Charleston, where he arrived on the 28th of February, eight days after the battle; and Major-General J. Patton Anderson was sent to Florida, but did not reach Camp Milton until the 3d of March—in other words, fourteen days after the battle. General Gilmer, who had been in the Department for several months, but whose services, when he arrived, had not been requested (General Beauregard needed no additional chief-engineer at the time), had been assigned to the District of Georgia, where the Commanding General thought he might be useful, and was already there when the battle of Ocean Pond was fought. The consequence of this tardy action of the War Department was, that General Beauregard, who would have gone to Florida with the first troops sent thither to the assistance of General Finegan, could only do so after the arrival of General Hill; for the enemy, who had made serious demonstrations in General Wise's subdistrict, might at any time renew them at other points, then necessarily denuded of troops for the relief of Florida. He reached Camp Milton on the 2d of March, after travelling two days and nights, with hardly any rest. General Anderson had not yet assumed command.

Immediately after his arrival General Beauregard carefully reconnoitred the locality and its vicinity, and soon obtained all necessary information as to our resources and those of the enemy. The next day (3d) he telegraphed to the War Department the conclusion he had reached, stating, in substance, that he would endeavor by strategy to bring the enemy out of his stronghold— Jacksonville—and would then give him battle, notwithstanding his superior numbers, reported to be 12,000, whereas ours amounted to but 8000. He stated that he had selected a good defensive line, a few miles in rear of the position our troops then occupied, where he hoped to be able to defeat the enemy, without much loss on our side. In answer came a despatch from Richmond, dated March 4th (received on the 5th), telling General Beauregard that he had been misinformed as to the strength of the enemy and of Jacksonville, and that he should attack at once. The reply sent was courteous but firm, and to the following effect: ‘Have been ’

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