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Hilton head, South-Carolina, February 18, 1864.
Brigadier-General T. Seymour, Commanding District of Florida:
I am just in receipt of your two letters of the sixteenth and one of the seventeenth, and am very much surprised at the tone of the latter, and the character of your plans as therein stated. You say that by the time your letter of the seventeenth should reach these headquarters, your forces would be in motion beyond Barber's, moving toward the Suwanee River; and that you shall rely upon my making a display in the Savannah River “with naval force, transports and sailing vessels,” and with iron-clads up from Warsaw, etc., as a demonstration in your favor, which you look upon as of “great importance.” All this is upon the presumption that the demonstration can and will be made, although contingent not only upon my power and disposition to do so, but upon the consent of Admiral Dahlgren, with whom I cannot communicate in less than ten days. You must have forgotten my last instructions, which were for the present to hold Baldwin and the St. Mary's south prong as your outposts to the westward of Jacksonville, and to occupy Pilatka and Magnolia on the St. John's.

Your prospect distinctly and avowedly ignores these operations, and substitutes a plan which not only involves your command in a distant movement without provisions, far beyond a point from which you once withdrew on account of precisely the same necessity, but presupposes a simultaneous demonstration of “great importance” to you elsewhere, over which you have no control, and which requires the cooperation of the navy. It is impossible for me to determine what your views are with respect to Florida matters, and this is the reason why I have endeavored to make mine known to you so fully. From your letter of the eleventh instant, from Baldwin, (a very singular letter by the way, and which you did not modify or refer to at all when you afterward saw me,) I extract as follows:

I am convinced that a movement upon Lake City is not, in the present condition of transportation advisable, and indeed, that what has been said of the desire of Florida to come back now is a delusion. This movement is in opposition to sound strategy,


And again: “The Union cause would have been far more benefited by Jeff Davis having removed this railroad to Virginia, than by any trivial or non-strategic success you may meet. By all means, therefore, fall back to Jacksonville.”

So much from your letters of the eleventh; and yet, five days later, you propose to push forward without instructions and without provisions, with a view to destroying the railroad which you say it would have been better for Jeff Davis to have got, and furthermore, you say in your letter of the sixteenth: “There is but little doubt in my mind, (but) that the people of this State, kindly treated by us, will soon be ready to return to the Union. They are heartily tired of the war.”

As may be supposed, I am very much confused by these conflicting views, and am thrown into doubt as to whether my intentions with regard to Florida are fully understood by you. I will, therefore, reannounce them briefly.

1st. I desire to bring Florida into the Union under the President's proclamation of December eighth, 1863, as accessory to the above.

2d. To revive the trade on the St. John's River.

3d. To recruit my colored regiments, and organize a regiment of Florida white troops; and

4th. To cut off in part the enemy's supplies drawn from Florida.

After you had withdrawn your advance, it was arranged between us, at a present interview, that the places to be permanently held for the present would be the south prong of the St. Mary's, Baldwin, Jacksonville, Magnolia, and Pilatka, and that Henry's mounted forces should be kept moving as circumstances might justify or require. This is my plan of present operations. A raid to tear up the railroad west of Lake City will be of service, but I have no intention to occupy now that part of the State.

Very respectfully, etc.,

Q. A. Gillmore, Major-General Commanding.

Headquarters of the army, Washington, March 16, 1864.
Robert N. Scott, Captain Fourth U. S. Infantry, A. D. C.

President Lincoln's letter.

Executive mansion, Washington, January 13, 1864.
Major-General Gillmore:
I understand an effort is being made by some worthy gentlemen to reconstruct a legal State government in Florida. Florida is in your department, and it is not unlikely that you may be there in person. I have given Mr. Hay a commission of Major, and sent him to you with some blank books and other blanks, to aid in the reconstruction. He will explain as to the manner of using the blanks, and also my general views on the subject. It is desirable for all to cooperate; but if irreconcilable differences of opinion shall arise, you are master. I wish the thing done in the most speedy way possible, so that when done it may be within the range of the late proclamation on the subject. The detail labor will, of course, have to be done by others, but I shall be greatly obliged if you will give it such general supervision as you can find consistent with your more strictly military duties.

General Gillmore's order.

headquarters Department of the South, Hilton head, South-Carolina, January 31, 1864.
In accordance with the provisions of the Presidential proclamation of pardon and amnesty, given at Washington, on the eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand

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