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[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


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