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[622] and which affords the safest refuge on the western coast of Florida, is commanded by the heights called St. John's Bluff, which the Federals had abandoned at the same time as the village of Jacksonville, a little higher up. The Confederates had established themselves there and erected batteries, which were a source of great annoyance to vessels anchored in the bay. Admiral Dupont determined to dislodge them; and on the very day of his arrival at Beaufort, Mitchell sent a few troops, under General Brannan, to assist the naval force in this operation. It was an easy and complete success. While the Federal gun-boats were bombarding the enemy's batteries, the soldiers quickly landed and took possession of these works, where they found nine guns. Some ships subsequently penetrated into the St. John's river, appeared before Jacksonville, and proceeded for a distance of three hundred and seventy-five kilometres up this large sheet of still water, which not far from the coast forms rather an extended lake than a real river.

Before resuming the siege of Charleston, Mitchell had determined to break up, at least for a time, the railroad which connects that city with Savannah. This line, in fact, enabled the garrisons of the two cities mutually to support each other, and to concentrate on all the points which the Federals might attack. It passed through a fertile country, whence the inhabitants of Charleston derived a portion of their supplies, and formed one of the branches of the great artery running parallel to the coast which Foster was to strike at Goldsboroa a few weeks later, and the preservation of which was essential to the system of Confederate defences. An expeditionary corps was formed of detachments from the two brigades of Brannan and Terry, stationed at Beaufort and Hilton Head, and two regiments taken from the garrison of Fort Pulaski. The total force of this corps numbered forty-five hundred men, about three hundred of whom were cavalry, and two sections of artillery comprising six field-pieces. The fleet furnished a battery of field-howitzers, drawn by hand. The expeditionary corps embarked at Hilton Head on the evening of October 21st, on board of fifteen vessels of light draught. Every preparation had been made to take it by water as near as possible to the point it was intended to strike. Information had been collected, not without

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