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[20] works on the bluff. On first occupying the bluff, Capt. Steedman, with his gunboats, proceeded immediately to Jacksonville, for the purpose of destroying all boats and otherwise intercepting the passage of the rebel troops across the river. On the fifth, leaving the work of removing the guns from St. John's Bluff to Colonel T. H. Good, Forty-seventh regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, my second in command, I proceeded up the river as far as Jacksonville, in the Ben Deford, with 785 infantry.

I observed a large quantity of corn and other crops on the banks of the river, which it was at first my intention either to remove or destroy. This purpose I afterward abandoned as impracticable, not having either forces or transportation sufficient to remove it, and seeing from the communication of the Major-General Commanding that he did not desire the delay necessary to destroy it. The rebels had a light battery of eight pieces, and a position in readiness to receive seven heavy guns at a place called Yellow Bluff, which they appear to have lately evacuated. Jacksonville I found to be nearly deserted, there being but a small portion of its inhabitants left, chiefly old men, women and children. On our first arrival some few rebel cavalry were hovering around the town, but they immediately retired on my establishing a picket line. From the town and its neighborhood I bring with me several refugees and about two hundred and seventy-six contrabands, including men, women and children.

On the sixth, hearing that some rebel steamers were secreted in the creek up the river, I sent the Darlington, with one hundred men of the Forty-seventh regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, in charge of Captain Yard, with two twenty-four pound light howitzers and a crew of twenty-five men, under the command of Lieutenant Williams, United States Navy, and a convoy of gunboats, to cut them off. This party returned on the morning of the ninth with the rebel steamer Governor Milton, which they captured in a creek about two hundred and thirty miles up the river, and about twenty-seven miles from the town of Enterprise. Lieut. Bacon, my Aid-de-Camp, accompanied the expedition. Finding that the Cosmopolitan, which had been sent to Hilton Head for provisions, had so injured herself in returning across the bar as to be temporarily unfit for service, I sent the Seventh regiment Connecticut volunteers to Hilton Head by the steamer Boston, on the afternoon of the seventh instant, with the request that she might be returned to assist in the transportation to Hilton Head of the remaining portion of my command. On the return of the successful expedition after the rebel steamers, on the ninth, I proceeded with that portion of my command to St. John's Bluff, awaiting the return of the Boston. On the eleventh instant I embarked the section of First Connecticut light battery, with their guns, horses, etc., and one company of the Forty-seventh regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, on board the steamer Darlington, sending them to Hilton Head via Fernandina, Florida.

On the eleventh, the Boston having returned, I embarked myself, with the last remaining portion of my command, except one company of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania volunteers, left to assist and protect the Cosmopolitan, for Hilton Head, S. C., on the twelfth instant, and arrived at that place on the thirteenth instant. The captured steamer Governor Milton I left in charge of Capt. Steedman, United States Navy. It is evident that the troops in this portion of the country, from their being in separate and distinct companies, have not sufficient organization or determination, to attempt to sustain any one position, but seem rather to devote themselves to a system of guerrilla warfare, as was exemplified in our advance on St. John's Bluff, where, even after the evacuation of the fort, they continued to appear on our flank and in our front, but as they seemed to fear a too near approach, their fire was never effective. The gunboats rendered great and valuable assistance during this expedition, and high praise is due to their commander, Capt. Charles Steedman, United States Navy, for the prompt and energetic manner in which he entered into every scheme for the reduction of the enemy, and the destruction of their works; and the zeal and activity with which he personally super-intended every detail of his portion of the duties; and further for his generous assistance in relieving the transport Cosmopolitan.

I ascertained at Jacksonville that the enemy commenced evacuating the bluff immediately after the surprise of their picket near Mount Pleasant Creek on the third instant. It affords me pleasure to state that the most perfect harmony and good feeling existed between the two branches of the service, in every respect, doubtless owing to the gallant and gentlemanly conduct of the commander of the naval forces.

The troops under my command showed great energy, zeal and activity, and a desire to meet the enemy, but the latter were too fleet for them. I doubt not they will give a good account of themselves when the opportunity offers.

I am much indebted to my Staff, Captain L. J. Lambert, A. A.G., Capt. I. Coryell, A. Q.M., Lieutenants J. V. Germain and G. W. Bacon, Aidsde-Camp, for their zeal, energy and attention to their duties during the entire expedition, particularly the three latter officers, who were always ready at all times for any duty. To Capt. Coryell, A. Q.M., the Quartermaster Department owes much for his untiring energy and activity in giving his valuable assistance to the transport Cosmopolitan after her accident. I am also under obligation to Capt. A. P. Rockwell, First Connecticut light battery, who acted as additional Aidde-Camp, and to the officers of the signal corps, Lieutenants G. H. Hill and F. E. Town, who performed their duties with great satisfaction to me and to the expedition.

I have the honor to be, Colonel, most respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. M. Brannan, Brigadier-General Commanding.


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