infantry on the Florida expedition did, without doubt. The men were constantly murmuring because the rebels would not come out and meet them. The fact is, the rebels, having an approximate idea of our force, knew it would be useless for them to make a defence. We have every reason to believe that the enemy, if he fights at all, will choose his ground on the bank of the Suwanee River. We have information that such is his design. Lake City is not fortified, and, as I remarked before, the government property has of been sent to a point further back. The bridge over the Suwanee will, of course, be destroyed, should our troops advance, and the river is not fordable. To cross it, we must throw over a pontoon or construct a regular bridge. If we have a battle there, it will, in all probability, take place at Suwanee River, which is between Lake City and Tallahassee. The section of country through which we have passed offers superior advantages for guerrilla warfare. A number of this despicable class of people has been seen lurking in the woods. Two of them were captured last Friday while following a negro soldier from Sanderson. A courier, going from Camp Finnigan to Jacksonville, was fired upon not far from the former place. We believe the guerrillas will soon tire of their hateful practice, as measures will be instituted showing them, if caught, no mercy whatever. Perhaps it will be an enigma to many, how we managed to go through the country with such celerity and certainty. At the head of each column we have a guide, a man who is thoroughly versed with the country, and is acquainted with every road and by-path. The guides are, according to my best belief, loyal to the very end of their toes. It is said of one who was with our advance, that he had better military judgment than half of the generals in the field. The same guide did, in my presence, predict when the rebels would be found, and about the force they would be likely to have, which in every instance proved as he said. The guides are the most valuable auxiliaries we have in the command. I heard a woman tell one, at Sanderson, that he would be surely hung if the rebels ever got hold of him. He took it all as a joke, and replied, in a quiet way, that the rebels would find it exceedingly difficult to be assured of his company. On Friday afternoon, a party of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, (colored,) under Captain Webster, proceeded ten miles east of Barber's, and destroyed a bridge over the St. Mary's River. The bridge was about thirty feet in length, and by its destruction the rebels will not be able to get on our right without going to considerable trouble either in the way of rebuilding the bridge or travelling a long roundabout road. On his march to the bridge, Captain Webster stopped at a farm-house, and learned from a woman that a rebel officer was in the habit of coming there frequently, and desired to get into our lines. He was expected at the house that night, and if Captain Webster would take the trouble to visit them after dark, he would confer a favor. Captain Webster complied with the request, and, sure enough, there was the rebel officer waiting to be conducted into our lines. He was taken before Colonel Barton, and, having taken the oath of allegiance, permitted to go at large. On the march Monday night, we discerned a bright illumination of the sky at our left. I learned the next day it was occasioned by the burning of two hundred and seventy-five bales cotton taken by the rebels from the steamer St. Mary, which lay in the river St. Mary, two miles from Camp Finnigan. The steamer herself was scuttled and sunk in deep water. The captain had been in for six weeks, waiting an opportunity to run the blockade. On the advance of our troops he gave up in despair, and to prevent the cargo and vessel from coming into our possession, fired the one and sank the other. A gun which was planted to protect the stream was captured by us the next day. Most of the crew have given themselves up as deserters. Yesterday morning the gunboat John Adams came in from Fernandina with a locomotive and several cars to be used on the Florida Central Railroad. The rails on this road are in good condition, and have been little used. The track at the Jacksonville end, and that portion which Colonel Henry destroyed, also a half-mile which General Seymour ordered to be burned just above Sanderson, are the only breaks between Jacksonville and Lake City. In a day or two we shall have a train running to our front with supplies. The telegraph is in operation from Jacksonville to Sanderson. The President's amnesty proclamation will be extensively circulated through Florida. A large supply has just arrived from Washington, and packages have already been sent to the front. I doubt not we shall see a most favorable effect produced by its distribution. On Thursday the steamer Nelly Baker proceeded up St. John's River, a distance of thirty-five miles from Jacksonville, to a place called Green Cove Spring. Two companies of infantry were on board. Medical Director Swift was in command of the force. After landing, the party went to one of the principal hotels of the place, and discovered therein eighteen barrels of sugar and three barrels of resin, which was brought away in the vessel the same day. Three families of refugees, with their furniture, were also taken off. They had been expecting our forces would go there for some days. The location has been famous in its day as a watering-place. A large sulphur-spring is in the vicinity, around which are bath-houses. The place also has three hotels, each of which is capable of accommodating two hundred guests. The principal hotel is hardly finished, and has never been used. None of the enemy were seen. The rebel Major Phillips had a camp of men near by not long since. The property brought away was marked “Baldwin.” The hospital transport Cosmopolitan on the following day went up the same river to a place called Picolata. The troops did not land.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 3 .-attack on the defences of Mobile .
Surrender of Fort Powell .
Battle of Olustee .
Battle of Pleasant Hill .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.