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[221] of the coast of Georgia, formed by alluvia, are then succeeded by extensive sand-banks, caused by the deposits of the Atlantic, sometimes separated from the main land, sometimes joined to the continent and intersected by numerous inlets. The most important of these openings, from north to south, are: St. John's River, situated a little south of the Bay of Nassau, at the extremity of which stands the village of Jacksonville; the port of St. Augustine, on which is situated the city of the same name; then Mosquito Inlet, near which stands the little town of New Smyrna; and finally, the two neighboring passes, called Indian River and Gilbert's Bar, by which Hutchinson Island is bounded. Still farther south, the influence of a tropical climate is gradually manifested along this inhospitable coast, by coral reefs which rise among the sand-banks; then these disappear by degrees; the alluvial deposits formed in rear of the coral chain sink lower and lower, and this chain finally terminates in a succession of islets and rocks, which extend far into the sea in the direction of Havana.

Dupont weighed anchor on the 28th of February to take possession of the principal points along this coast. The Wabash, bearing his pennant, was followed by eighteen gun-boats, a cutter, a transport fitted out as a man-of-war, and six transports with General Wright's brigade on board. General Sherman accompanied the expedition. On the 2d of March, the fleet came to anchor in the Bay of St. Andrews, whence it was to attack the inlets of St. Mary's Bay, which were defended by Fort Clinch, a work of considerable strength, built near Fernandina, at the same period and on the same model as Fort Pulaski. But at the news of the approach of the Federals, the Confederate troops had abandoned this part of the coast, Cumberland Island, Fernandina, and even Fort Clinch, whose solid masonry could, however, have enabled its garrison of fifteen hundred men to sustain a long siege. Dupont had only to send a few vessels of light draught to St. Mary's through the inland canals, which took possession of the town and fort without opposition. This operation was marked by an incident unexampled of its kind up to the present moment. The railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Keys, after skirting for some distance, on Amelia Island, the sheet of water which separates it from the continent, crosses this sheet of

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