indications which gave promise of an advance of the Federals
, and every preparation was made to meet them at McGirt's creek
in the first place, or in the event they should turn that position, then at Baldwin
, where it was believed a successful defense might be made against a superior force.
Our effective force operating near Jacksonville
was, infantry 6,290, cavalry 1,568, artillery 487.
, by vigorous measures with the limited force at his command, assisted by civilians, had by this time succeeded to a great extent in suppressing the lawlessness of the bands of deserters and disloyal persons, restoring quiet and establishing a sense of security within the threatened settlements.
Preparations were also made for similar measures against such bands in south Florida
, whenever a sufficient force could be safely detached from our main force, then confronting superior numbers at Jacksonville
To prevent the enemy's gunboats from so defiantly navigating the St. John
's a number of torpedoes were planted in the channel of the river, 15 miles above Jacksonville
, through the skill and energy of Capt. E. Pliny Bryan
, of General Beauregard
's staff, and the enemy's communication with the garrison at Palatka
was rendered precarious.
Therefore, another advance not being probable, it was deemed practicable to make a vigorous assault upon Palatka
, the movement being greatly encouraged by the fact that one of the largest transports, while descending the river from Palatka
, exploded a torpedo and sunk in three fathoms of water.
A section of artillery, under Lieutenant Gamble
, supported by infantry under Captain Grieve
, First Georgia regulars, was sent to complete the wreck, and firing a few rounds at that portion above water, Captain Bryan
with two men boarded her and set fire to her upper works.
She proved to be the steamer Maple Leaf
with the camp and garrison equipage of three regiments, recently arrived at Jacksonville
and hurried up to