General Gillmore Discusses Tactical Matters “Forts like “Sumter” & “Pulaski” cannot be breached by any iron clads that I have seen…”
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QUINCY A. GILLMORE.
Autograph Letter Signed, to George Cullum. Jacksonville, Florida, February 14, 1864. 3 pp.
Jacksonville Fla: Feb 14 1864
My dear General
I am in recpt: of your note of Jany. 30th & Feb. 4th I am very glad that more cavalry is to be sent to me. The case is this in regard to the status actual & prospective of my cavalry force. The Indt Batn Mass Cavry is all I have, but the govr of Mass has been authorized to raeiz [sic] said Batn to a regiment & it seemed hard that the other two battalions should be sent elsewhere. The value of Middle Florida to the rebels becomes daily more apparent to me.
I enclose to you a captured document, which please show the general in Chief. I desire to cut off the supply of beef cattle in a great measure.
Guy Henry’s affair of the 8th at midnight was bold & brilliant. I made my first brief report of it in a style to suit the cosmorant [?] reporters. Henry passed directly by Camp Finnigan, where the enemy had as many men in line of battle as he himself had, & rushed to the capture of a battery four miles in rear of <p.2> the camp. The poor devils, not knowing whether friend or foe was coming, & naturally presuming that it was the former did not fire a shot but scattered, as many & could get off, the Camp Finnigan command meanwhile, being mostly infantry was powerless to render any assistance, & learning that an infantry force was also advancing from Jacksonville, scattered in every direction. We captured all the artillery in East Florida (Eight pieces), which will be nearly all we require in our defensive works at Jacksonville & Pilalka [likely Palatka, Florida]
My report of which you speak will embrace those of my asst: Engr. the chief of artillery, together with Seymour’s, Terry’s, Vogel’s, [?] & Sharp’s reports, say 200 pages octavo with maps at the end and some small drawings interspersed in the text. It ought to appear as a paper on “Practical Engineering” I think, & can be so as appropriately as the report on Pulaski.
Forts like “Sumter” & “Pulaski” cannot be breached by any iron clads that I have seen. They can’t get near enough for accurate firing, without being speedily impaired in efficiency. The kind of Guns used on both sides have much to do with the question. <p.3>
Please try and have Gen: Hatch sent to me without delay. I am miserably off for general officers, & want one in particular (& a good one) whose commission dates prior to April 15th 1862, as Brig General, or, (if a Maj. Gnl.) junior to my own.
Q A. Gillmore
Brig Genl Geo Cullum
Chief of Staff
Adjutant of the Army
Quincy A. Gillmore (1825-1888) was born in Ohio and became an engineer for the military. During the Civil War he was well known for his victory at Fort Pulaski, achieved by incorporating new rifled cannon technology on naval vessels to break the fort’s stone fortifications. By the end of the war he was a Major General. Gillmore had seen extensive action in the Sumter area earlier in the war, taking part in the Port Royal expedition and the unsuccessful assaults on Charleston in 1863 and 1864. He was injured while fighting in the Shenandoah Valley campaign in 1864 and returned to the Department of the South in February 1865, where he was able to be present at the dramatic re-raising of the U.S. flag over Fort Sumter on April 14th.