Return to Department of the South
General David Hunter - Troop Disbursments -
April 3, 1862
War of the Rebellion Records
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., April 3, 1862.
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to report my arrival here on the 30th ultimo. I address you by the first
opportunity since my arrival.

I find about 17,000 troops scattered along the coast from Saint Augustine, Fla., to North Edisto Inlet,
South Carolina, distributed as follows:

At Saint Augustine, Fla. 200
At Jacksonville, Fla. 1,400
At mouth of Saint John’s River, Fla. 70
At Fernandina, Fla. 900
At Tybee Island, Ga. 2,200
At Daufuskie Island, S. C. 1,600
At Bird Island, S. C. 300
At Jones Island, S. C. 300
At Hilton Head, S. C. 4,500
At Bay Point, S. C. 80
At Beaufort, S. C. 3,600
At Otter Island, S. C. 450
At North Edisto River, S. C. 1,400

It is my opinion that this force is entirely too much scattered and is subject to be cut off in detail.

I shall order an abandonment of Jacksonville, Fla., and the re-enforcement of Forts Marion and
Clinch. From later accounts I may add the Union feeling in Florida is not so strong as we were first
induced to believe.

The batteries for opening on Fort Pulaski have been retarded by the non-arrival of the necessary
guns, ammunition, &c. But Captain Gillmore, who deserves great credit for his untiring and scientific
exertions, is now nearly ready, and by the next steamer I hope to be able to announce to you the fall
of Pulaski. We then shall be able to hold the Savannah River with a small force and to concentrate on

General Sherman made a requisition in December for five steamers drawing not more than 6 feet
each. He informs me that they were purchased for him and sent from New York, but put into Hatteras
in a storm, and are there detained by General Burnside. We are still very much in want of these light-
draught boats, and, as we have but three wagons to a regiment, they are absolutely essential.

On my leaving Washington you had the kindness to promise me whatever force I might ask. We shall
do all that men can do with the small force we have; but it distresses me to be in such a beautiful
situation for striking strong blows without the arms to strike. I beg that you will send us at once as
many men as you think we can use to advantage, as all the officers in command report the re-
enforcement of the enemy on their respective fronts.

I most earnestly request that 50,000 muskets, with all the necessary accouterments, and 200 rounds
for each piece, may be sent to me at once, with authority to arm such loyal men as I can find in the
country, whenever, in my opinion, they can be used advantageously against the enemy.

It is important that I should be able to know and distinguish these men at once, and for this purpose I
respectfully request that 50,000 pairs of scarlet pantaloons may be sent me; and this is all the
clothing I shall require for these people.

I believe the rebel regiments as they retreat from the Army of the Potomac come directly to their
respective States, and that in this way the force opposed to us here is becoming considerably

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major-General, Commanding.
Editor: 50,000 muskets for loyal men???? How about ex-slaves?
Secretary of War - Edward Stanton
General David Hunter