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[22] lumber-mill, and one of his negroes, but Parsons was so thoroughly a rebel, that no threats could induce him to give information.

Just as the landing was finished, and the troops were about to move to the attack, word came from the gunboats, which had gone on a second reconnoissance of the batteries, that the rebels had vacated. The soldiers were pushed forward, however, and soon reached the works, finding them already in possession of Lieut. Snell, commanding the Hale. As I have before mentioned, there were eight guns mounted — all heavy columbiads, and two rifled pieces — in perfect condition, loaded and ready for use. Another columbiad was not yet upon its carriage. Besides the guns were a quantity of good ammunition, small arms, etc.

It is conjectured that the rebels were twelve hundred strong, and they held the fort, expecting reenforcements, until, finding our troops getting in their rear, they fled at the last moment.

The Paul Jones and Hale at once steamed without opposition up to Jacksonville, where they anchored, remaining all night. The citizens mostly continued at their houses, but no intercourse was had with them. After destroying the ferry at the town and taking the ferryman prisoner, the Paul Jones returned, leaving the Water Witch , which had come up later, and the Hale to intercept the rebel escape in that direction.

I send this to Hilton Head by the steamer Cosmopolitan, whose departure hence is unexpected, and leaves me with only time to send you a hurried letter. I may have to inform you in my next of the capture of an entire Georgia regiment and many guerrillas, who still remain, we suppose, on the south side of the river, and cannot cross, as our gunboats command every ferry, and have destroyed all the boats, excepting those we require ourselves.

The rebels were commanded by Finegan, of Fernandina, owner of considerable property there, and very jealous of the more prosperous town of Jacksonville. It is thought by the people of Jacksonville that he “got up” the batteries and made show of fighting in order to provoke the destruction of the town, and thus increase the value of his own village lots. Such patriotism is the growth of rebellion.

Signal-Officers G. H. Hill and F. E. Town accompanied Gen. Brannan, and the usefulness of Myer's admirable system of telegraphing was again demonstrated by prompt communication between the naval and military commandants.

X. L. T.

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