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[134] march in that direction. While near Silver Springs a courier reached me with a dispatch, stating that the enemy had burned the Ocklawaha bridge and were retreating toward the St. John's river. I then ordered my command to march back in the direction of Palatka, and sent an advance guard to have the flatboat in readiness for us to cross the river. On arriving at the river the wind blew very strong, which delayed our crossing about ten hours. After much difficulty, hard labor and great peril, we succeeded in crossing 50 of my command, leaving the remainder with one piece of artillery to guard and picket other points on the river. Hearing, on my arrival at Palatka, that the enemy had gone up the river in barges, I marched all night and at times at half speed and reached Fort Peaton, 7 miles from St. Augustine, where I overtook four negroes. We continued at fast speed toward the city and within a mile of their picket line, and captured twenty more, also a wagon and six ponies. Three of these ponies have since been claimed by citizens and delivered to them. . The enemy, on hearing we were in pursuit of them, left wagons, mules and provisions at the river, where they had crossed near Fort Gates.

The march was truly a hard one. We marched four days and nights with but little forage or provisions. My men were resolved, and showed a determination to pursue the enemy to the very gates of the city. The negroes, twenty-four in number, with the wagons and mules captured, belonged to Mrs. Marshall, of Marion county. The raiding party on reaching her plantation destroyed 200 hogsheads of sugar. Some of our militia met them, and in an engagement two of our men were killed. Had information reached me earlier they would have been overtaken with their rich spoils before reaching the river. All praise is due these noble, gallant men for their unflinching spirit and resignation, having endured every hardship without a murmur.

On April 5th Captain Dickison reported: ‘I have the ’

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