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Doc. 76.-capture of Fernandina, Fla.


Commodore Du Pont's report.

Flag ship. Mohican, harbor of Fernandina, March 4, 1862.
sir: I had the honor to inform you in my last despatch, that the expedition for Fernandina was equipped, and waiting only for suitable weather to sail from Port Royal. I have now the pleasure to inform you that I am in full possession of Cumberland Island and Sound, of Fernandina and Amelia Island, and of the river and town of St. Mary's.

I sailed from Port Royal on the last day of February, in the Wabash, and on the second inst. entered Cumberland Sound, by St. Andrew's Inlet, in the Mohican, Com. S. W. Godon, on board of which ship I have hoisted my flag. The fleet comprised the following vessels, sailing in the order in which they are named:

Ottawa, Mohican, accompanied by the Ellen, Seminole, Pawnee, Pocahontas, Flag, Florida, James Adger, Bienville, Alabama, Keystone State, Seneca, Huron, Pembina, Isaac Smith, Penguin, Potomska, armed cutter Henrietta, armed transport McClellan, the latter having on board the battalion of marines, under the command of Maj. Reynolds, and the transports Empire City, Marion, Star of the South, Belvidere, Boston, George's Creek, containing a brigade, under the command of Brig.-Gen. Wright.

We came to anchor in Cumberland Sound at half-past 10, on the morning of the second, to make an examination of the channel, and wait for the tide.

Here I learned from a contraband, who had been picked up at sea by Com. Lanier, and from the neighboring residents on Cumberland Island, that the rebels had abandoned in haste the whole of the defences of Fernandina, and were even at that moment retreating from Amelia Island, carrying with them such of their munitions as their precipitate flight would allow.

The object of carrying the whole fleet through Cumberland Sound, was to turn the heavy works on the south end of Cumberland, and the north end of Amelia Islands; but on receiving this intelligence, I detached the gunboats and armed steamers of light draft from the main line, and placing them under the command of Commander P. Drayton, of the steam-sloop Pawnee, I ordered him to push through the Sound with the utmost speed, to save public and private property from threatened destruction; to prevent poisoning the wells, and to put a stop to all those outrages by the perpetration of which the leaders of this nefarious war hope to deceive and exasperate the Southern people. In the mean time I went out of the Sound, and came by sea to the main entrance of this harbor.

In consequence of bad weather, I was unable to cross the bar till this morning. Commander Drayton, accompanied by Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, with the armed launches and cutters, and the small-armed companies from the Wabash, had arrived several hours before me.

Immediately on his entering the harbor, Com. Drayton sent Lieut. White, of the Ottawa, to hoist the flag on Fort Clinch, the first of the National forts on which the ensign of the Union has resumed its proper place since the first proclamation of the President of the United States was issued.

A few scattering musket-shots were fired from the town by the flying enemy. When it was discovered that a railroad-train was about to start, Com. Drayton, on board the Ottawa, Lieut. Commanding Stevens, chased this train for two miles, and fired several shells at it, aiming at the locomotive, [230] some of which took effect. It was reported that the Hon. David Yulee, late a Senator of the United States, from the State of Florida, escaped from this train, and took to the bush. Corn. C. R. P. Rodgers, pushing ahead with the launches, captured the rebel steamer Darlington, containing military stores, army wagons, mules, forage, etc., and fortunately secured the draw-bridge, which was held during the night by the second launch of the Wabash.

There were passengers, women and children, in the Darlington, and the brutal captain suffered her to be fired upon, and refused to hoist a white flag, notwithstanding the entreaties of the women. No one was injured.

I send the captain of the steamer home, a prisoner. His name is Jacob Brock; he is a native of Vermont, but has been a resident of Florida for twenty-three years.

The same night, Corn. C. R. P. Rodgers ascended the St. Mary's with the Ottawa, and took possession of the town, driving out a picket of the enemy's cavalry.

Early in the morning the town of Fernandina was also occupied by a party of seamen and marines from Com. Drayton's command. In both places most of the inhabitants had fled, by order, it is said, of the rebel authorities.

A company of seamen and marines, under Lieut. Miller, was sent from the Mohican, to hold Fort Clinch.

It is reported to me by Lieut. Commanding Downes, of the Huron, that the whole structure of the railroad on the Fernandina side, including the swinging draw — bridge, is quite uninjured. The rebels have done some damage by fire to the trestle-work on the other side of the river; but I am not yet informed of its extent. Several locomotives, baggage-cars, tenders, freight-cars, and some other property, besides that found in the steamer Darlington, have been recovered.

The whole number of guns discovered, up to this time, is thirteen, embracing heavy thirty-two-pounders, eight-inch guns, and one eighty and one one-hundred-and-twenty-pounder rifled guns.

The towns of St. Mary's and Fernandina are uninjured. I visited the town, Fort Clinch, and the earthworks on the sea-face of the island. It is impossible to look at these preparations for a vigorous defence, without being surprised that they should have been voluntarily deserted.

The batteries on the north and north-east shores are as complete as art can make them. Six are well concealed, and protected by ranges of sand-hills in front, contain perfect shelter for the men, and are so small, and thoroughly covered by the natural growth, and by the varied contours of the land, that to strike them from the water, would be the mere result of chance. A battery of six guns, though larger, and therefore affording a better mark, is equally well sheltered and masked.

The batteries and the heavy guns mounted on Fort Clinch, command all the turnings of the main ship-channel, and rake an approaching enemy. Besides these, there was another battery of four guns on the south end of Cumberland Island, the fire of which would cross the channel inside of the bar. The difficulties arising from the indirectness of the channel, and from the shoalness of the bar, would have added to the defences by keeping the approaching vessels a long time exposed to fire, under great disadvantages; and when the ships of an enemy had passed all their defences, they would have to encounter a well-constructed and naturally masked battery at the town, which commands the access to the inner anchorage. We are told that General Lee pronounced the place perfectly defensible; we are not surprised at this, if true. We captured Port Royal, but Fernandina and Fort Clinch have been given to us.

We had in the expedition Mr. W. H. Dennis, an assistant in the Coast Survey, who possessed accurate local knowledge of a part of the ground we passed over, of which indeed he had made the topographical map, under the direction of the Superintendent. He was zealous and active, and it gives me pleasure to mention it.

The Empire City, on board of which was Gen. Wright, grounded on the bar. As soon as he arrived, (in another steamer,) immediate steps were taken to transfer to him the forts and all authority and possession on the land.

I desire to speak here of the harmonious councils and cordial cooperation, which have marked, throughout, my intercourse with this able officer. Our plans of action have been matured by mutual consultation, and have been carried into execution by mutual help.

I take great pleasure in reminding the Department that one principal and ultimate object of the naval expedition, which I have the honor to command, was, in its first conception, to take and keep under control the whole line of the sea-coast of Georgia, knowing (to use the language of the original paper) “that the naval power that controls the sea-coast of Georgia controls the State of Georgia.”

The report that the fortifications at St. Simon's, armed with heavy columbiads, had been abandoned, which first reached me at Port Royal, is confirmed. This being the case, the entire sea-coast of Georgia is now either actually in my possession, or under my control, and thus the views of the Government have been accomplished.

Very respectfully your most obedient servant,

S. F. Du Pont, Flag-Officer Commanding South Atlantic Block. Squad. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington.


Commander Drayton's report.

U. S. Steamer Pawnee, Fernandina, March 4, 1862.
sir: In obedience to your order of the second of March, I left at daylight on the next morning, accompanied by the following gunboats and other light-draft vessels, namely: the Ottawa, Lieut. Commanding Y. H. Stevens; Seneca, Lieut. Commanding D. Ammen; Huron, Lieut. Commanding G. Downes; Pembina, Lieut Commanding [231] J. P. Bankhead; Isaac Smith, Lieut. Commanding J. W. A. Nicholson; Penguin, Lieut. Commanding T. A. Budd. There were also with us three armed launches of the Wabash, and a company of sailors, all under the command of Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, of that vessel, as well as the transports McClellan, Capt. Gray, on board of which was the battalion of marines of Major S. G. Reynolds; the Boston, with the Ninety--seventh Pennsylvania regiment, Col. Guss, and the armed cutter Henrietta, Capt. Bennett.

We proceeded at once down the Cumberland Sound. The navigation, however, proved to be quite intricate, and beside, the Pawnee, the Ottawa, and Huron (the latter the only one with a pilot except myself) were alone able to cross the flats at the dividing line between the tides that meet in the Sound from the north and south.

With these I continued on, until, at three o'clock, and when only three miles distant from Fort Clinch, all except the Ottawa grounded, and as the tide was falling, there was little hope of getting them off until its change. I determined, therefore, to push on in that vessel, with the three armed launches of the Wabash. On approaching Fort Clinch, it was so evidently deserted that I would not stop, but merely sent Lieut. G. M. White of the Ottawa on shore, with an armed boat, to hoist the American flag there, as a signal to yourself, at anchor outside in the Mohican. This he did, and returned to the vessel later.

On coming in sight of Old Fernandina, a white flag was displayed by some persons on shore. Shortly after, and when passing New-Fernandina, a few rifle — shots were fired from some bushes, and a railroad-train was perceived just starting. As it was naturally supposed to contain soldiers escaping, I directed Lieut. Commanding Stearns to try and stop it; and the road, passing for some distance near the river, and we were going at full speed, there was an opportunity of firing several shots at the two locomotives attached to the train, which, however, did not prevent its escape across the railroad-bridge, which is four miles from the town, and it was soon lost in the woods on the other side. We afterwards found on the track the bodies of two men who had been killed by our shot, one of whom was a soldier; and the report was that ex-Senator Yulee was on board one of the cars, and had also been struck, but this, I think, was a mistake.

In the mean time, a small steamer was discovered attempting to escape up the narrow creek over which the railroad-bridge passes, the draw of which she went through very soon after the train had crossed. Several shots were fired at her without effect, and as the Ottawa could not go up the creek, Commander Rodgers followed her with two of his armed boats, captured, and brought her alongside. She was found to be filled principally with women and children, but also had on board a surgeon in the confederate army, and a number of mules and wagons belonging to the quartermaster's department.

As everything had been done now that could be in this direction, and as it was quite dark, being near eight o'clock, we returned off the town of Fernandina, where I left the Ottawa and went on board of the steamer that we had captured to bring up the Pawnee and Huron. Soon after, Commander Rodgers, with the Ottawa, proceeded to occupy the town of St. Mary's, Ga., a small town on the St. Mary's River, distant ten miles from here, and where we supposed some of the guns removed from Fort Clinch had been taken.

Owing to various detentions, I was not able to reach the Pawnee until midnight, nor to bring her up till daylight, when, with the Huron, I anchored off this town.

During the night an aimed launch of the Wabash, under charge of Acting Master R. H. Lamson, had been left for the protection of the railroad bridge, the draw of which had been opened. Toward morning, however, a number of soldiers came down, and under cover of the bushes, set the farther end on fire. They here repeatedly fired on and driven off, but succeeded in very much injuring its western portion. On seeing the smoke I sent the Huron up to prevent the remaining part from being injured, in which Lieut. Commanding Downes was successful.

The batteries on and near Fort Clinch, on the southern part of Cumberland Island, and at New-Fernandina, although many guns had been removed, might have offered most serious obstacles to our approach, as will be seen by my detailed report of them. They were, however, being rapidly disarmed, in obedience to orders from the War Department, but it was determined to defend them from any attack by sea until the place could be regularly evacuated; and the bar being a very intricate one, and well under fire, they might have given us a great deal of trouble, had our advance been made from that side.

At eight o'clock of the night previous to my arrival, however, (the second,) a telegram came from Brunswick, mentioning that twenty-four of our armed vessels were in Cumberland Sound. This news seems to have produced a perfect panic, as, by twelve o'clock the next day, the garrison, which consisted of one thousand five hundred men, as well as almost all of the inhabitants, had gone off.

Shortly after bringing up the Pawnee, and at about seven o'clock this morning, I occupied the town with our marines and the Wabash's company of rifles, and endeavored, as much as possible, to quiet the few people left, and to prevent any injury to public or private property.

Midshipman M. L. Johnston pushed along the railroad with some of his men, and in the course of the day brought in two locomotives and three railroad-cars.

He also collected and put a guard over a quantity of rosin, turpentine, and cotton, to prevent it from being carried off or injured. At nine o'clock the Isaac Smith arrived, when I immediately sent her out to communicate with your vessel, which she met, however, on the way in.

The report of Commander Rodgers accompanies this, as well as a description of the defences of the harbor and their armament [232]

In conclusion, I have only to express the great obligations I am under to Commander Rodgers and Lieut. Commanding Stevens. Except for the former and his boats, we should scarcely have been able to capture the steamer; and had it not been for the constant watchfulness and good management of the latter, his vessel would not have been able to follow the Pawnee so far as she did without a pilot, and thus at last enable us to act on the afternoon of the third, instead of waiting for the next morning, which would otherwise have been necessary.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. Drayton, Commander Commanding the Pawnee. To Flag-Officer S. F. Du Pont, Commanding South Atlantic Squadron, U. S. S. Mohican, Fernandina Harbor.


Baltimore American narrative.

Fernandina, Florida, March 10, 1862.
Another bloodless victory has been won. Another point occupied and another chapter of Gen. McClellan's plan has been unfolded. Fernandina is now occupied by the Union forces. The Stars and Stripes are once more unfolded to the breeze in that ancient city. Finding that it would not be prudent to attack the city of Savannah with the small force which Gen. Sherman had under his command, he determined to attack Fernandina, Florida, and Brunswick, Georgia. In conjunction with Commodore Du Pont he arranged the expedition, which left Hilton Head on the afternoon of February twenty-seventh and the morning of February twenty-eighth, and arrived at Warsaw Sound at twelve o'clock M. At evening they left Warsaw Sound in the following order: Wabash, Susquehanna, Florida, Flag, Ottawa, Seneca, Huron, Pembina, Isaac Smith, Penguin, Pawnee, James Adger, Potumska, Pocahontas, pilot-boat Hope, Seminole, Ellen, Alabama, Henrietta, Mohican, sailing ship Onward. Transports — Empire City, containing General Wright and staff, and the Fourth New-Hampshire regiment; Star of the South, Ninth Maine and towing schooner Sarah Cullen, having stores on board; Marion, towing schooner J. G. Steele, with army stores; Belvidere, having on board Hamilton's battery and towing schooner R. J. Mercer with army stores; Boston, having on board Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania, and towing schooner Susan F. Abbott, with army stores; George's Creek, towing schooner Blackbird, with army stores.

The fleet entered St. Andrew's Sound Sunday morning at ten o'clock, March second, and lay all evening until eight o'clock Monday morning. A portion of the light gunboats then went around Cumberland Island, whilst the balance of the fleet went by sea. The Wabash and Susquehanna having previously gone ahead of the gunboats, and arrived off Fernandina on Sunday morning at ten o'clock. As soon as it was known at Brunswick, Georgia, that the gunboats had left Warsaw Sound and entered St. Andrew's, it was telegraphed immediately to Fernandina, Florida. The garrison in Fort Clinch decided to remain when they saw the frigates, and to give them battle, but as soon as they heard of gunboats being in the expedition, they evacuated the Fort at two A. M., Monday morning, March third.

On Tuesday morning, March fourth, at half-past 9 A. M., the transports weighed anchor and followed the Mohican, and arrived at the bar off Fernandina at eleven o'clock. At half-past 12 o'clock P. M., Gen. Wright and staff were transferred from the Empire City to the Belvidere, and at two o'clock were landed at the wharf. In the mean time the gunboats arrived by the way of Cumberland Sound, and the Ottawa being fired upon from a railroad-train, returned the fire, killing two men, M. Savage and John M. Thompson, both clerks in stores in Fernandina. The Ottawa continued to fire at the train, but the conductor having cut off some of the rear cars and put on extra steam, managed to escape. The steamboat Darlington was not quite so fortunate.

The Ottawa pursued her, firing at her eleven-inch shells, but her captain did not surrender until he ran aground, although the boat was crowded with men, women, and children, and although he was appealed to by the women on their bended knees, for God's sake, to surrender. The cries of the women, the shrieks of the children, and the bursting of the shells around the boat, did not melt the obdurate heart of the unmerciful wretch. For the sake of the almighty dollar, he was perfectly willing that every soul on board should perish. His excuse for not surrendering at first was that he would be charged with cowardice by the rebels, had he acted differently; but the true reason was he owned the boat and a part of the negro crew. The captain's name, which deserves to be handed down to posterity with execration for his inhumanity and treason, is Brock, from Connecticut. He has been residing here for thirty years, and has accumulated a large fortune. He owns about one hundred negroes, besides plantations, etc. The Engineer's name is John Curry, from the North. Henry G. Limgrene, a surgeon in the confederate regular army, and J. S. Driggs, Esq., a citizen in Jacksonville, Florida, from Long Island, New-York, were among the prisoners taken. Mr. Driggs is a Union man and was obliged to go on board the steamboat, the order being given for all citizens to leave the town. He has taken the oath of allegiance, and intends going North by the first steamer. Ex-Senator D. L. Yulee, one of the most prominent men in Florida, escaped by a small boat to the main-land. He was among the last to leave and came near being caught.

The Ottawa, after the capture of the Darlington, steamed up the St. Mary's River to Albertis' plantation, this side of King's Ferry, and fifty-two miles from Fernandina, for the purpose of reconnoissance. On returning, as they were approaching a bend in the river, (the water being shallow, they were obliged to keep close to the bank,) they were fired upon by the Twenty-ninth Mississippi. A perfect hail-storm of bullets fell upon the deck. All the guns were immediately brought to bear upon the bushes behind which [233] the rebels were concealed. The guns being heavily charged with grape, were fired, and the effect was truly appalling. The shrieks of the wounded, and the groans of the dying, could be distinctly heard, while the sailors at the mast-head could see the men falling. The loss of the enemy must have been very heavy, as they were in large squads together. Only five sailors on the Ottawa were wounded and a number of others had their clothes torn by bullets.

On Sunday, March second, prior to the evacuation, the sailing ship Onward, which was blockading the coast, approached towards the harbor of Fernandina. She set up a Jack and French colors. Lieut.-Colonel Holland, an Irishman by birth, with a boat's crew of six men, moved from the wharf at Fort Clinch, and approached within short musket-range of the ship Onward, when she lowered her French colors, and raised the Stars and Stripes. Lieut.-Colonel Holland seeing this, raised a flag of truce which had been lying in the boat, but the ruse did not succeed. He and his men were taken prisoners of war. His design was to pilot the ship in, your correspondent fully believes. A ship was expected about this time with arms and ammunition. He and his men have since been released by order of Gen. Wright, and sent into the enemy's lines under a flag of truce, an act of leniency which your correspondent does not think the circumstances will justify. Had Lieut.-Col. Holland raised his flag of truce the moment he left the wharf, and kept it up until he reached the ship and then have been detained a prisoner of war, the circumstances would have been different. Possibly Gen. Wright's design may be to conciliate the enemy as much as possible.

On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning the troops were landed, and on entering the Fort and town they found both deserted. The latter has about two hundred persons, men, women, and children, both white and black, who were left behind by the rebels.

On Tuesday evening, Capt. Goodrich, of the Quartermaster's Department, with one hundred men, went out on a reconnoitring expedition. About a mile from the depot he found a locomotive and two cars. With Yankee ingenuity he had the engine fired up, and ran her as far as the bridge, about five miles from Fernandina, and which was burnt by the rebels. He then returned to the depot. Four more locomotives, a lot of cars, car-wheels, rosin, spirits of turpentine, and a lot of cotton were captured, the cotton was taken by the schooner McClellan to Hilton Head.

The schooner Surtt, laden with coffee and medicines, etc., was taken, together with her crew, by the gunboat Bienville. A Nova Scotian schooner from Halifax, which had run the blockade several times, was captured a short distance up Pell's River. She had on board a few bales of cotton, and a few barrels of rosin. She ran the blockade a short time since with two hundred barrels salt, fifty barrels pork, fifty barrels potatoes, and a general assortment of dry-goods and groceries, and was to return with a cargo of cotton, rosin and turpentine. A small lighter was also captured.

New-Fernandina is built on Amelia Island, about a mile and a half from Old Fernandina. It has been built within the last five years. Its great increase has been owing to the fact of its being the terminus of the Florida Railroad. It contains about one thousand five hundred white inhabitants, and about three hundred negroes. It has a Baptist, an Episcopal, a Catholic, a Methodist, and a Presbyterian church. The climate is healthy and not very warm for this latitude, as there is a fine breeze constantly flowing from the ocean.

The defences of Fernandina consist of Fort Clinch, which is of pentagonal shape, built of brick and concrete. It has detached towers and bastions, and detached scarps, which are loopholed for musketry. The work is flanked by musketry, not completed; the water-front is nearly finished, and the land-front is not quite up to the top of the loopholes for musketry. The water-front has two thirty-two-pounders in the bastion. On the north side it has one rifled gun and two thirty-two-pounders on the curtain beyond. There was on the beach one rifled gun — a one-hundred-and-twenty-eight-pounder — on a sling-cart, and three thirty-two pounders on the wharf. All the guns were spiked. The Fort had originally twenty-seven guns, but when the rebels evacuated it they carried away eighteen guns to Savannah. There were four thirty-two-pounders and one rifled gun in a masked battery near the wharf at Fernandina. The gun-carriages were burned and the guns spiked. There was also a battery on Cumberland Island, but the guns were removed.

The rebel forces consisted of the Fourth Florida, Colonel Hopkins; one company Third regiment, Colonel Dilworth; one company cavalry — the Marion dragoons--Capt. Owens; one battalion of artillery, six companies, Col. McBlair, garrisoning Fort Clinch and batteries, and one company light artillery, Capt. Martin. Colonel Dilworth commanded the Fort. The Twenty-fourth Mississippi, Colonel Dodd, were stationed on the railroad, about nine miles from Fernandina; the whole under command of Gen. Trappier. The entire force did not number two thousand men, a great number of whom were not effective. They were dying from eight to ten daily. The diseases were principally the measles, the pneumonia, and the small-pox, and superinduced by the troops being badly clothed, badly fed, and badly paid. Bad whisky and exposure to heavy dews at night carried off a great many. The troops were very disorderly, and when the confederates entered the town, a great many citizens left with their families. Those that remained were obliged to endure unnumbered insults, and submit to their provisions being taken from them without a murmur. They could well say: “Deliver me from my friends, I pray you.”

When the Federal troops landed, they expected to be treated more harshly than before, but to [234] their great surprise, they have not been in the least molested. Provisions were very high, and very scarce at that. Flour was selling from eighteen to twenty-five dollars per barrel; tea, two dollars and fifty cents to three dollars per pound; coffee, seventy-five cents to one dollar per pound; common shoes, six to eight dollars per pair, and everything else in proportion. The inhabitants are rather in a bad fix. They have no Federal money, and their stock of provisions and merchandise is running short. There was a chance of getting some provisions from the interior, but that is now prevented by the rebels. If the Government at Washington will only allow vessels from the North to come here, the inhabitants will be relieved, otherwise they will either starve, or the army will have to feed them. It is to be hoped that the Government will act promptly in this matter.

The following extract of a letter was found in an old wallet in Fort Clinch, Fernandina, Fla.:

(Copy.)

Nashville, Tenn., February 26, 1862.
dear son: I had not much time to write to you, for we are retreating from Nashville. The d — d Yankees have driven us out of our old quarters, and they will soon drive us out of this place. They are about thirty thousand strong, and fight like devils. I am afraid they will take Stephens, for he only left here yesterday. I don't think the South can hold out much longer, for the people are starving to death, and so are the soldiers up this way. I think they will rebel against themselves. Won't it be awful for us now to give up to the d — d Yankees?


Cumberland Island, opposite Amelia Island, was once the property of General Nat. Greene, of Revolutionary fame, and is now in the hands of his descendants. It was donated by the State of Georgia to the General, for his distinguished services in the cause of human freedom. The plantation and houses are at present deserted, except by a few old negroes. The property is in good order; the walls and gardens are beautiful and well laid. To prevent plundering this Mecca of the South, Gen. Wright has issued the following order:

headquarters Third brigade, E. C., Fernandina, Fla., March 9, 1862.
New-Deugeness, once the property of General Greene, of Revolutionary memory, and now the residence of a descendant, is represented without protection, and liable to plunder by evil-disposed persons of all parties.

I have therefore ordered a guard, composed of one non-commissioned officer and six men, to be stationed at the place, not for its military occupation, but for its protection from marauders, with instructions not to permit any person to enter the premises without a written permission from the headquarters of the senior officer of the naval forces; and that such person shall not be permitted to enter the buildings unless accompanied by a member of the guard, whose duty it shall be to see that nothing is injured or removed.

I have further directed that a white flag be displayed from the premises, to indicate that the place is not occupied for military purposes, and that the guard there stationed is entitled to the immunities which are accorded to the flag by all civilized nations.

H. G. Wright, Brig.-Gen. Commanding.

The following additional order was also issued:

Douglas House, March 6, 1862.
This property, belonging originally to Gen. Nathaniel Greene, a Revolutionary hero and a native of Rhode Island, is now,the property of his grandson, Mr. Nightingale. It is hereby ordered and enjoined upon all who may visit this place to hold everything about the place sacred, and in no case disturb or take away any article without a special order from Flag-Officer Du Pont or Gen. Wright.

[Signed]

John Rodgers, Charles Stedman, Commanders United States Navy. [Approved] S. F. Du Pont, H. G. Wright.

The following order was published for the benefit of the inhabitants of Fernandina:

Order:

The inhabitants of Fernandina, wishing to communicate with their friends beyond the lines, can do so by means of unsealed letters left at this office to-day, March twelfth, 1862.


An order was also issued ordering all persons on Amelia Island, not connected with the rebel army or navy, to immediately present themselves at the office of the Provost-Marshal, in order that their names might be registered and their property protected. Any person failing to comply with the above, will be treated as an enemy of the Government of the United States.

From the inhabitants we learn that the rebels intend to desert all their seaport towns, and then retire into the interior, where they will make a grand fight. It is reported that fifty thousand men can be thrown either into Savannah or Charleston at four hours notice. Brunswick is evacuated. At the high bluff on the St. John's River, about twelve miles from Jacksonville, there was a heavy battery planted, and some five thousand men stationed.

By the contrabands we learn that Jacksonville is evacuated, and that our fleet passed the high bluff without firing a shot. St. John's River is twenty-five miles from Fernandina. It is on the mainland. The fleet was composed of the following vessels, namely:

Ottawa,Co. A,80menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Ottawa,Co. B,70menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Ottawa,Co. C,80menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Ottawa,Band,33menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Seneca,Co. D,69menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Huron,Co. I,76menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Pembina,Co. H,79menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Isaac Smith,Co. K,76menFourthN.-Hamp'e
Ellen,Co. G,80menFourthN.-Hamp'e
     
  643menFourthN.-Hamp'e

[235]

By special express, March eighth, we learn that the battery, consisting of four thirty-two-pounders, at Nassau, Fort Georgia Island, was deserted.

Jacksonville is quite a flourishing town. It has two thousand five hundred inhabitants, who are chiefly engaged in the lumber trade. In busy seasons there were generally from eight to twenty schooners loading lumber, which was shipped to New-York and the West-Indies. There is ten feet of water on the bar at high tide. The men of wealth, and the most enterprising portion of Jacksonville, are for the Union, but they have been obliged to keep quiet. St. Mary's, a town of about one thousand five hundred inhabitants, is also in our possession.

On Tuesday morning, March twelfth, a deserter from the Twenty-fourth Mississippi, arrived within our lines, and was at once taken to General Wright's headquarters. He gave his name as David Hodgdon. He is from Clifton, Maine, and has been working in the lumber business on White River, Arkansas. On going into the State of Mississippi, on some private business, he was impressed. When the Federals arrived at Fernandina, the Twenty-fourth Mississippi retreated twelve miles, and then encamped. On breaking up their camp he found an opportunity to desert, which he heartily embraced. He brought with him a fine Enfield rifle with sabre-bayonet. He was rather coarsely clothed.

On Thursday, March thirteenth, the flag of truce in charge of Capt. Sears, of Serrell's engineers, left Fernandina on board the Darlington with Lieut.-Col. Holland and six men. When the Darlington arrived at St. Mary's they found the gunboat Penguin guarding the town. There Capt. Sears obtained a boat and crew and was rowed four miles, when they arrived at the residence of widow De Bow. The whole party went up to the house, where they found six ladies, and Capt. Sears had the pleasure of recognising one of the ladies as the wife of one of his most intimate friends. After some fifteen minutes conversation, Lieut.-Col. Holland notified Capt. Sears that he desired to be left there with his six men. He gave the following receipt:

---- Township, March 13, 1862.
I was delivered here, at my own request, under the Federal flag of truce, by Capt. Sears, United States Army, and the naval boat, by the order of Gen. Wright and Commodore Du Pont, with the same men I brought.

D. P. Holland, Lieut.-Col. Commanding First Florida Battalion.

A deserter named John Farles, a native of Florida, came in to-day, March thirteenth, at noon. He lived at Callahan, on the Florida Railroad, twenty seven miles from Fernandina. He reports that drafting commenced throughout the State on March eighth, and that the last rebel picket left Callahan on yesterday, March twelfth. Lofton Creek bridge, on the railroad, and all small bridges between it and Fernandina, are burned.

Capt. Towles, of the New-Hampshire Fourth, company F, is appointed Provost-Marshal for Fernandina.

Yours truly,

B. M. B.

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