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[68] After a dozen shots on each side, the Ellen returned with such information as was thus obtainable. Contrabands informed Captain Drayton that torpedoes had been laid in the river above. He adds in his report, that ‘even were this not the case, I do not think the gunboats could go beyond where I had been, and not stick in the mud. To sum up, we are in as complete possession of the river as of Port Royal, and can land and protect the army whenever it wishes. Beyond the reach of our guns I cannot, of course, be responsible, for it must, to a certain extent, then look out for itself.’ With a good map, the military student will note an opening here for successful operations through information which the admiral justly styled of ‘the utmost importance.’

The battery of the enemy was near Wappoo Cut, and consisted of a heavy rifled gun and seven heavy columbiads. The vessels above mentioned remained for some time in the river.

The Upper St. John's River, running nearly north and south, important for the transportation of small arms, that for some time had been obtained through some of the many insignificant inlets of the peninsula, was patrolled by several gunboats. There were many men in that region who had been actually driven into the Confederate ranks, and who had escaped into the wilds of Florida. To hound them, a set of men known as ‘Regulators’ were permitted to remain at home. One of these, known as George Huston, commanded a squad and resided near Black Creek. He boasted of having hung the negro pilot when Captain Budd was shot near New Smyrna. It was supposed that ‘his capture would secure the general tranquillity of persons along the river, most of whom would gladly acknowledge the authority of the Government of the United States were they not in fear of violence from men of this character.’ To capture him 40

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