Fort Green, Florida Of April 1856
Fort Green, Florida Of April 1856|
Edited by Spessard Stone
This letter by Matthew P. Lyons was originally printed in the Florida Peninsular of April 26, 1856 and reprinted in The Herald-Advocate (Wauchula, Fla.) of February 18, 1993.
Fort Green, Fla.
Having addressed Col. Monroe several times by letter on the unprotected state of our post (Fort Green) and requesting protection for my fellow citizens at this place, and receiving no answer on the subject, I wish to make known to the public, at large, the manner in which Colonel Monroe has treated the men, composing Capt. Hooker's command, and, therefore, a portion of his (Monroe's) command, as regards their rations:
In the first place, Col. Monroe, in place of sending the rations for the detachment at Fort Green, to that place, he sent them to Fort Meade, and the men were obliged to master up what teams they could, and haul their provisions home to the fort.
If this management is taken from the regulations, drawn up by a wise and free government, I certainly am bound to believe that they are on the retrograde government, for I do not believe that if it ever was intended that men, volunteering to fight and protect the rights of their country, should be compelled to be soldiers, and, at the same time, to be their own teamsters.
As for Col. Monroe's reasons for acting so, I cannot tell, but I have my opinion, and the public must judge for themselves.
In the next place, where Col. Monroe, or the Quarter Master, acting, no doubt, according to his directions, sent rations to Fort Green, for that place, and Fort Hartsuff, purporting to be rations due from the 1st to the 20th of April, for fifty-one men- that being the number at both posts, he fell far short of the quantity allowed to each man, according to the regulations, unless there has a material change taken place, and if such change has taken place, I want Col. Monroe to make it known.
If a change has not taken place, I hold it that he is guilty of an error, in not furnishing the full amount. [Part of line unreadable] horse feed sufficient, that horses may be in proper plight to enter into active service, the consequence of this picayune policy, of his withholding the horse feed, is that one horse has actually perished to death; so according to an old proverb-there is one ship lost to save a cent's worth of tar-this is Monroe's system of economy.
As regards the orders issued by Colonel Monroe, for men to prepare to go into the nation, from each company, in the U.S. service, I think such an order is very improper, under the existing state of affairs (the Indians being scattered abroad this our country, which the occurrences that have just taken place, will fully corroborate) unless Col. Monroe will place a sufficient number of men to protect those Posts, let the public eye scrutinize into this affair, and they will, at once, see the impropriety of those orders, under the present state of things, the Company of which I speak, being composed of men, having families; and those families depending upon their head (the men) for protection and also to procure provisions from time to time for their support.
Now, if the Government will furnish these families with the necessary means of subsistence, and the necessary protection, then the men will willingly act their part, to rid their country of the savage.
If arrangements are not made to this effect, the matter will be reported to the General Government; as also to Colonel Monroe's conduct.
I am dear sir, yours &c,
Matthew P. Lyons
February 28, 2001& links = October 17, 2001 & midi = "Lovely Molly," arranged by Barry Taylor.