of the enemy had made their appearance in the St. John's within 5 miles of Jacksonville; and on the next ay announced the arrival of eighteen vessels (gunboats and transports), the landing of the enemy in large force, and an immediate advance on the night of February 7th. General Gilmer was at once directed to put in motion and to report to General Finegan all the troops he had been previously ordered to hold in readiness for such an emergency. General Gardner, commanding in middle Florida, was telegraphed to send to the imperiled quarter, with all possible celerity, every soldier he could spare. Colquitt's brigade was ordered from James island to Savannah with a light battery. General Finegan was advised of what was done and instructed to do what he could with his means to hold the enemy at bay and to prevent the capture of slaves; and at the same time I reported to you this hostile movement and my intention to repel it as far as practicable with infantry to be withdrawn from Charleston and Savannah, but requested in consequence of the very recent discharge of some 5,000 South Carolina militia, that other troops should be sent to take their place and avoid danger to Charleston and Savannah. Scarcely had Colquitt's brigade begun to move when the enemy, in anticipation, doubtless, of my attempt to reinforce Finegan, made a strong demonstration on St. John's island. Though assured of the purpose of this movement it assumed, however, so serious a form as to compel me to divert temporarily General Colquitt and three and a half regiments of his brigade to reinforce General Wise, then confronted by at least two brigades of the enemy, about 4,500 strong, pushed forward in advance of the bridge-way between St. John's and Seabrook islands, and in addition several regiments of infantry were detached from Sullivan's and James islands to be in readiness for the development of the enemy's purposes. On the night of the 11th of February I ordered all our batteries bearing on Morris island to open a heavy simultaneous fire on that position, as if a cover for an assault, and with the hope of forcing the enemy to withdraw from St. John's island to the protection of his own works. This strategem seemed to have produced the desired effect, or assisted to make him abandon the movement on St. John's island and withdraw hastily before daybreak, thus releasing and enabling Colquitt's
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