Title: Anderson, J. Patton to Major P.W. White – Jul. 15, 1864 – Lake City, FL
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085684/00002
 Material Information
Title: Anderson, J. Patton to Major P.W. White – Jul. 15, 1864 – Lake City, FL
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Anderson, J. Patton
Baker, Christopher A. ( Transcriber )
Publication Date: 1864
Subject: Civil War
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Florida -- Lake City
North America -- United States of America -- Florida
North America -- United States of America -- Tennessee
North America -- United States of America
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085684
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: 58jc


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Lake City, Fla. July 15th 1864
Maj. P.W. White
Chf. Com. Sub [Chief Commissary Officer for Florida]
Quincy Fla.

Your communication of the 13th inst. inclosing a copy of Capt. Townsend's letter
to you on the subject of returning detailed men to their commands, is at hand. The same
mail brings me an order from the War Department directing that these detailed men
should be permitted to remain in your service till further orders. I had heretofore, on the
13th day of July 1864 renewed the detail of certain men represented by you to be
necessary for the efficient administration of your Department.
While, of course, I yield implicit obedience to the orders of the Secretary of War
on this as well as all other subjects connected with the discharge of my official duties, yet
I am not willing that you should suppose that the system as adopted by you in all its
particulars, meets the approval of my judgment. I assume that we are both actuated by
the same motives a desire to accomplish the greatest amount of good, to the cause in
which our country is engaged. If we differ as to the plan of accomplishing that good, it is
a difference of judgment, and not of ulterior purpose.
Before the authority was obtained by you to raise a Battalion of Cattle drivers, I
do not remember to have heard any complaint against your department in Florida on
account of want of energy of the Army. What your means were, in the way of detailed
men, for accomplishing that work I am not entirely prepared to say: for very soon after
assuming command of the District I addressed you a communication requesting a "list of
all officers and men in your employ that I might not interfere with them in the legitimate
discharge of their duties, and that I might know what force you were employing for the
purposes of your business within the District. To that communication you promptly
replied by sending me a partial list, which you remarked however was wholly unreliable,
but promised that you would at an early day send me a correct list embracing all the
officers and men in your employ in the State. This latter list I have not yet had the honor
of receiving, and am therefore ignorant as to the exact number of men in your employ,
and with whom you had, so far as I know, quite satisfactorily discharged the duties
devolved upon you of collecting and forwarding beef cattle for the supply of the troops in
the field. But from the partial list which you sent me, and from other sources of
information, I infer that your force was considerably less than three hundred men. Now
by the order of the Secty. of War, authorizing the raising of a battalion of cattle drivers,
for the special service heretofore performed by these detailed men, I learn that you now
have at your command five companies, fully organized and equipped, whose duty it is to
collect and drive up beef cattle for your department, and, incidentally to protect the
pastoral regions of the state. By law these five companies cannot consist of less than
three hundred and twenty men, and I learn from one of your agents that most if not all of
the companies have a number of men greater than the minimum. So that you now have
considerably over three hundred men, performing the duty which was heretofore
performed very satisfactorily by a much smaller number of detailed men. Not only this,
but you retain all of the detailed men beside. I thought the policy of the Secretary of War
- of organizing a special force from the class of Reserves for the purpose of driving cattle

was a wise one for several reasons, among which I will only now mention one viz. that it
would release a number of able bodied (detailed) men from that service and add them to
the active forces confronting the enemy, and substitute for them a class of men equally as
efficient as cattle drivers, but by reason of their ages, not so well qualified to bear arms in
the field. If this was one of the objects, the just expectations of the Sect. of War in this
respect, have been disappointed, for by your policy not a man has been added to the
active forces in the field, while your Department has acquired the additional services of
from three to four hundred men!! This would be justifiable if there were a corresponding
increase in the amount of efficient duty performed, but I do not suppose that you will
claim such to be the case.
I lay claim to some knowledge of the importance of supply in our armies in the
field with beef. Three years service with one of those armies fully enlightened me on that
subject. I hope that those armies may never again suffer the wants and privations in the
way of a supply of beef, which it has been my lot to witness: And I assure you Major,
that no effort shall be spared on my part to prevent the recurrence of such wants and
privations. Unfortunately, I have seen the want too, of more men in the ranks, to stand up
in the hour of trial to be shot at, or to pursue the flying for when victory had been
obtained, or to defend from rapine and plunder the homes and altars of some of our best
citizens: Therefore while I do not underestimate the importance of the beef supply, I
think at the same time, that now is the hour for every able-bodied man in the land to
march to the front, particularly those who have so long enjoyed, by detail, an exemption
from bullets and other casualties of the battlefield.
I see nothing in the copy of Capt. Townsend's letter which you send me, which
requires particular notice. It might do very well for interested parties to expatiate
extensively to those who have had no experience or knowledge of cattle driving, about
the special skill and all that necessary to accomplish anything with "wild" herds in
swamps, hammocks, etc. but I know what can be done by men who undertake that
business with a proper spirit, perhaps as well as Capt. Townsend does. While I am not a
professional cattle driver, I have had some experience in the matter, in the green hills of
southern Kentucky in the cane breaks and swamps of the Mississippi, and on the plains
of Oregon: and I can safely assert that any man of sound mind and limb who can ride a
horse can in a few days make a cattle driver even in the swamps of Florida, if he is so
disposed. I have not, then, as you and Capt. Townsend suppose, made opposition to the
retention by you of the detailed men because of my ignorance of the nature of their
duties, but because I knew they were not necessary while you had a whole Battalion of
cattle drivers at your command.
The guard on the last train from South Florida brought up four of these detailed
men who had been for two years on the returns of one of your agents, each of whom had
a parole in his pocket from a Yankee Lieutenant and who had been at home for some
time defying enrolling officers & everybody else, and swearing that he never intended to
serve the Confederate States again etc. unless he was permitted to drive cattle for them,
etc., etc. This is perhaps an extreme case, but it is not an uncommon one in that region of
the sate and is a sad commentary upon the policy of detailing men to "stay at home."
I have no doubt that much of what you charge, as to the insufficiency of the active
forces in West Florida is true. This however, is not the fault of the troops, but of the
officers who control them. I am not aware that they have ever remained at any place, or

gone to any other place without orders to do so. I hope hereafter to make them more
I am Major Very Respectfully
Yr. Obt. Svt.,
Patton Anderson
Maj. P.W. White
Quincy, Fla.

Transcribed by Christopher A. Baker, University of Florida, 2008.

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