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[77] command to meet and defeat the enemy at Ocean Pond, some 13 miles in advance of Lake City.

In the meanwhile other troops had been dispatched to the theater of war from the works around Charleston and Savannah and the positions covering the Savannah railroad. This was done, indeed, to a hazardous degree, but as I informed the secretary of war by telegraph on the 9th ult., I regarded it as imperative to attempt to secure the subsistence resources of Florida. General Finegan was also apprised of these reinforcements on February 11th, and instructed to maneuver meantime to check or delay the enemy, but to avoid close quarters and unnecessary loss of men. While these reinforcements were en route the enemy again attempted to delay them by a movement against Whitemarsh island near Savannah, and it became a measure of proper precaution to halt at Savannah two of the regiments on their way to General Finegan for the development of the enemy's plans, one of which regiments I felt it prudent to detain there to the present.

The want of adequate rolling stock on the Georgia & Florida railroad and the existence of the gap of some 26 miles between the two roads, subjected the concentration of my forces to a delay which deprived my efforts to that end of full effect. The absence of General Hill making it injudicious for me to leave this State, I directed Brigadier-General Taliaferro to proceed to Florida and assume the command, not knowing at the time that Brigadier-General Gardner, commanding in middle Florida, his senior, had returned from sick leave and was fit for field service. Apprised of this, I directed General Gardner, on the 21st ult., to assume command and organize for a vigorous offensive movement preliminary to the arrival of General Taliaferro; but subsequently, the victory at Ocean Pond having taken place in which I supposed General Gardner, though not in immediate command, had taken an active part, I directed that officer to assume chief command and, dividing his forces into divisions, to assign General Taliaferro to one of them; soon after which I was advised by the war department of the assignment of Maj.-Gen. James Patton Anderson to the command of the forces in the State of Florida.

Gen. D. H. Hill having arrived at these headquarters on the 28th of February, I left for Florida the same

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