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:
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,---- 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.
B. M. B.