evening. On the 2d inst., I reached Camp Milton, General Gardner's headquarters, in rear of McGirt's creek, 12 or 13 miles distant from Jacksonville, where I found our troops in position. The day preceding our advance pickets had been thrown forward to Cedar creek, within 6 or 7 miles of Jacksonville. On the 3d inst. Maj.-Gen. J. Patton Anderson also arrived at Camp Milton and assumed command on the 6th inst. of the forces, now about 8,000 effective of all arms. In the meantime it had been ascertained from reliable sources that the enemy occupied Jacksonville with at least 12,000 men; that the position, naturally strong, had been much strengthened since the battle of the 20th ult., and that four or five gunboats in the St. John's effectually commanded the approaches to the place. Under these circumstances it was determined not to attempt to carry the position by assault, as in effect instructed by your telegram of the 4th inst. Everything indicates that the rout of the enemy at Ocean Pond was complete; nevertheless the fruits of the victory were comparatively insignificant, mainly because of the inefficiency of the officer commanding the cavalry at the time, no serious attempt being made to pursue with his command, while the exhaustion of the infantry, so gallantly and effectively handled and engaged, and our want of subsistence supplies and ammunition, made an immediate pursuit by them impracticable. Unless our present forces should be considerably increased and amply supplied with means for a regular siege of Jacksonville, our operations in this quarter must be confined to the defensive — that is, to prevent the penetration of the enemy into the interior, on the line toward Lake City or into the lower portion of the State, to which end a position has been selected on the St. John's a few miles above Jacksonville for a battery of one rifled 32-pounder, three rifled 30-pounders, one 20-pounder and one 10-pounder (Parrotts) and two 8-inch siege howitzers, by which, with torpedoes in the river, it is expected transports at least can be obstructed from passing with troops beyond Jacksonville. Cavalry pickets have also been established for the protection of the railroad to Cedar Keys from injury by raiding parties set on foot from the west bank of the St. John's. I have for the present organized the forces under General
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