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[529] Rebellion; all civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the Rebel Government; all officers in the Confederate army, above the rank of Colonel; and of all who had been engaged in treating our colored soldiers or their officers “otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war.” This proffer was accepted by very few, and seemed to be regarded with even more contempt than indignation by the Rebel oracles. Where all who are prominently, responsibly engaged in a rebellion are excepted from a proffer of amnesty, those not thus exempted are apt to resent the discrimination as implying an inadequate appreciation of their consequence.

Operations against Charleston having been but languidly prosecuted since the complete conquest of Morris island, the failure of Dahlgren's boat attack on Sumter, and his refusal to attempt to pass its ruins with his iron-clads and fight his way up to the city, Gen. Gillmore decided to employ a part of his force in a fresh expedition to Florida. The President, apprised of this design, commissioned John Hay, one of his private secretaries, as major, and sent1 him down to Hilton Head to accompany the proposed expedition, under expectations, founded on the assurances of refugees, that Florida was ripe for amnesty and restoration to the Union.

Gillmore's force, under the immediate command of Gen. Truman Seymour, embarked2 on 20 steamers and 8 schooners, and was off the northern mouth of the St. John's next forenoon; occupying Jacksonville unresisted at 5 P. M. The few Rebel soldiers fired and ran as our troops debarked, to find the place in ruins, and very few residents remaining. A railroad train from Tallahassee had arrived and departed that day; but the rails were to have been taken up that week for use elsewhere.

At 3 P. M. next day,3 our troops moved westward parallel with the railroad--Col. Guy V. Henry, with the cavalry, leading: the intent being to surprise the Rebel Gen. Finnegan at Camp Finnegan, 8 miles west. The advance was skillfully and bravely made; but only 150 men were at the camp — Finnegan, with the residue, having hurriedly fallen back. Henry evaded a Rebel cavalry force covering the front, and dashed into the camp unannounced; capturing 4 guns, with a large amount of camp equipage and commissary stores, and a few prisoners — but not till the telegraph had had time to give the alarm to Baldwin, beyond. Henry pushed on at 4 A. M., and was in Baldwin at 7; capturing another gun, three cars, and $500,000 worth of provisions and munitions. He had a skirmish at the south fork of St. Mary's, 5 miles farther on, and drove the enemy, but lost 17 men. At (P. M., he was in Sanderson, 40 miles from Jacksonville; where he captured and destroyed much property; pushing on, at 2 A. M., very nearly to Lake City, almost half way from the coast to Tallahassee; but here, at 11 A. M., he found Finnegan in position, very stubborn, and too strong to be moved: so he fell back 5 miles, bivouacked in a drenching rain, and telegraphed to Seymour, now at Sanderson with part of his infantry, for orders and food. It was reported that Finnegan,

1 Jan. 13. 1864.

2 Feb. 6.

3 Feb. 8.

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