Doc. 13.-capture of the steamer Columbine.
Report of rear-admiral Dahlgren.
flag-ship Philadelphia, Port Royal harbor, South Carolina, May 30, 1864.Sir: I have just received, by the courtesy of General Foster, the enclosed despatches to him from General Gordon, now commanding the troops at Jacksonville, from which it will be perceived that the Columbine has been captured. The loss will be much felt, because this is one of the few steamers that I have of such light draught. Captain Balch will, no doubt, report the details when he gets them. I have the honor to be, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Despatch of Brig.-Gen. G. H. Gordon.
headquarters District of Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, May 27, 1864.Captain: I have to report that on the night of the twentieth instant I received from Colonel Noble, commanding forces east of St. John's River, information that a force of about fifteen men and one officer had been captured by the enemy, who had crossed the river and surprised the post. On the morning of the twenty-first I advanced Colonel Noble a communication, in which I ordered him to withdraw his guards from the river opposite Volusia and Saunders. On the night of the twenty-first I received another communication from Colonel Noble stating that a force less in number than that at Welaka had been captured; that the enemy, reported to be four hundred (400) strong, were said to be pushing northward on the east side of the river. I received the last communication at about eleven at night. In an hour I started for the nearest point to that threatened. I carried with me in the steamer Charles Houghton two hundred (200) men from this garrison. At my request Captain Balch ordered two gunboats to accompany me, the Ottawa and little steam-tug Columbine. At Picolata I added to my force six (6) companies of Colonel Beecher's regiment, and all the available force of the One Hundred and Fifty-seventh New York regiment, numbering in all about six hundred and fifty (650) or seven hundred (700) men. I was obliged to use the naval boats, as well as the Houghton, to transport the troops. On Sunday, the twenty-second instant, I arrived at the landing opposite Pilatka. My movements had been slightly delayed by time expended at Picolata in filling sand bags (no cotton or hay bales, save one of the latter, being available) to render the little tug Columbine less vulnerable. I designed running the tug up the river to Volusia to protect that portion if threatened, which I could not doubt from the report of Colonel Noble. Although my march was lengthened by disembarking opposite Pilatka, I did not deem it prudent to convey troops farther up the St. John's. The Ottawa was to continue to the mouth of Dunn's Creek to afford all possible protection to the Columbine. The Columbine was ordered to proceed immediately to Volusia and afford all possible assistance to the force at Volusia. The Houghton was to await further orders, and was to keep near the Ottawa for her protection. I directed my march towards the road from St. Augustine to the crossing of the Haw Creek, thence to Volusia. I had sent on the evening of the twenty-first a despatch to Colonel Noble; saying that I should move for this position, and directing him to keep forward to the same point, and beyond if practicable, all his available infantry and cavalry. I have thus stated all the movements ordered and commenced from Saturday night at twelve o'clock until Sunday at four P. M. Before the Columbine started I placed on board of her, at the request of Commander Breese, of the Ottawa, a guard of twenty-five men and two officers of Colonel Beecher's regiment. I informed her commander that I should press forward with my troops in the direction in which she was going; that I would afford him all assistance as soon as I could reach him; that I should not consider the discharge of his artillery as an indication that he was in danger. This was assented to by the commander of the Columbine, who said he would throw up a rocket if he was in danger. My march was prolonged into night. I accomplished about nine miles, and encamped on the north side of Haw Creek. This creek is impassable but by boats. I heard a great deal of firing from artillery in the direction of the mouth of Dunn's Creek, but saw no rocket, and had no despatches. I presumed the firing to be the ordinary shelling of the woods by the gunboats. I pressed forward on Monday morning, making that day about thirty miles. I encamped at night at the crossing of Haw Creek. I found Colonel Noble had pushed his infantry four (4) miles farther, and that his cavalry was at Volusia. The garrison at Volusia was safe, no rebels this side of the river. The two small posts at Welaka and Saunders captured, shamefully surrendered, I hear — not a gun fired. I have ordered full reports to be made, which I will transmit when received. I found the country people quite excited, and quite confident that the enemy, seven hundred (700) strong, were at the crossing of Haw Creek. Indeed, from reports, I had reason to believe some truth in this. On Tuesday morning, the twenty-third, I directed Colonel Noble to send the cavalry down the country to drive in herds of beef cattle, which it is well known are going towards rebel armies. I also directed him to tell the Columbine to go down the river, that I had no further use of her. The infantry I ordered to concentrate at camp, nine miles south of St. Augustine, at that place, and at Picolata. The two hundred of the One Hundred and Forty-fourth were ordered to return to Jacksonville. My reasons for this disposition, and my views of the only mode of operating with infantry in this country of immense distances and illimitable pine deserts, I have given to the commanding General in a private letter. Having accomplished all I could, I did not deem it advisable to attempt to pursue the enemy across the river; and being totally unprepared to do it, if I had thought it advisable, as I had no boats, and having no rations, and no transportation for any with me, I made my way back to the landing at Picolata, to take the steamer Houghton to Jacksonville. I reached the river on Tuesday, the twenty-third, at about four o'clock P. M. A despatch from the Ottawa, at the mouth of Dunn's Creek, to whom I sent my Aid, gave me the first information that the enemy had opened with artillery on Sunday night on the Houghton and on the gunboat. The Houghton had got under way and proceeded down stream; she was struck three times with twelve-pound solid shot, once amidships and near walking beam. No great harm done. I proceeded to Orange Mills, and there found the Houghton. This morning a report  from Colonel Noble informed me of the loss of the tug Columbine, and capture of most of those on board. Colonel Noble writes me that some (he does not say how many) of the Thirty-fifth colored had made their way to Haw Creek, and had given this information. They say that on Monday night, the twenty-third, opposite Horse Landing, the Columbine was opened upon as she was coming down the river; that she was disabled by the enemy's artillery, and was captured by two hundred of the enemy. It was on Tuesday, the twenty-fourth, at four o'clock P. M., that I communicated with the Ottawa, then lying at the mouth of Dunn's Creek, and within five miles of Horse Landing. The Ottawa had been here since Sunday, and yet she knew nothing of the report. This morning my cavalry captured a prisoner, who says that Dickerson (rebel) says he has captured a “little boat and two small guns;” that he has “burned the boat.” It seems, therefore, that this firing on Sunday night was by the enemy's artillery. This fact was not communicated to me until Tuesday afternoon, too late to do anything for the Columbine, if, indeed, anything could have been done for her. I deem it fortunate that I did not attempt to run farther up the river than Picolata with my troops. I will submit further facts in relation to the loss of the Columbine and the capture of the two posts at Welaka and Saunders as soon as received. While regretting the losses, and condemning whatever there may have been reprehensible in the conduct of the commanders at Welaka and Saunders, I feel keenly the disaster to the Columbine and her gallant crew, resulting, as it did, in the attempt to relieve my command. My reconnoissance to the front, of the twenty-fifth, has developed the fact that there is no enemy at Camp Finnegan. I captured a prisoner this morning, who confirms the fact. The force in Florida is as follows: At Camp Milton, of the Second Florida cavalry, Colonel McCormick, (effective men,) six hundred (600;) artillery, two (2) small pieces. Camp Milton and McCurth's Creek strongly fortified. At Baldwin, no troops, strong fortification, two pieces of artillery. At Trestle, across the St. Mary's, being fortified at this time by negroes. State troops raised for state defence--three companies expected daily at Milton, and two thousand (2,000) in all looked for. Captain Dickerson's cavalry has two hundred (200) effective men stationed at Pilatka. Dunham's artillery of light pieces on St. John's River, near Welaka, Saunders. and Horse Landing. I am, Captain, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Report of rear-admiral Dahlgren.
flag-steamer Philadelphia, Port Royal harbor, S. C., June 4, 1864.Sir: I enclose herewith a report from Commander Balch, senior officer present in the St. John's River, Florida, from which there seems to be little doubt of the capture of the Columbine. As the officers and crew are probably prisoners, it will be impossible to have any investigation at this time. There is always more or less risk in passing these light steamers through narrow streams, where they are liable to be fired on without any warning from the densely wooded banks, and cannot turn readily or manoeuvre, while their armament is too trifling to be of much account. Still, when the operations of the land forces require such aid, it is necessary to give it and do as well as we can. I have the honor to be, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Report of Commander G. B. Balch.
Admiral: I regret to have to report the capture of the Columbine by the rebels on Monday, the twenty-third instant, and under the following circumstances: By the enclosed communications you will perceive that two of our posts on the east side of the St. John's, left by General Birney, were captured by the enemy; and another, consisting of fifty men at Volusia, was in imminent danger of being captured. Information was received by General Gordon, at 11.40 P. M. of the twenty-first instant, who immediately asked my assistance in trying to save the post at Volusia. Upon consultation with the General, it was deemed by us advisable to send the Ottawa and Columbine up the St. John's — the former to go as far up the river as the depth of water would admit, and the latter to proceed to Volusia with all despatch, to assist the troops at that point, and also to prevent the enemy from recrossing to the west bank of the St. John's. General Gordon embarked his troops in the Charles Houghton, and without delay proceeded to Picolata, where he put aboard the Ottawa and Columbine an additional force, and, together, proceeded up the river to a point near Pilatka, where he disembarked his troops and marched at once for Volusia. The Ottawa and Columbine left for the purpose of carrying out the plan as agreed upon — the Ottawa anchoring at Brown's Landing, distant twelve miles, by the river, from Pilatka; the Houghton in company, for greater protection, by order of General Gordon; the Columbine proceeding without delay to Volusia bar, which she reached at eleven P. M. of the twenty-second instant. I herewith transmit the report of Lieutenant-Commander Breese, of the Ottawa, detailing an account of the attack made on his vessel and the Houghton by a rebel battery. You will be pleased to learn from the report of Lieutenant-Commander Breese that the battery was soon silenced, and much to the credit of the officers and crew of that  vessel. The engagement took place on Sunday night, the twenty-second instant, and the Ottawa remained at anchor off Brown's Landing till the afternoon of the twenty-fourth, when the messenger (referred to in Lieutenant-Commander Breese's report) arrived, bringing the information from General Gordon that all had been accomplished, and that the General had sent word to the Columbine to return. From Lieutenant Commander Breese I learn that the pilot of the Ottawa (one of the best on the river) declined to take the Ottawa farther up the river than Brown's Landing; not on account of the depth of water, but on account of the narrowness of the channel, and the impossibility of making the turns in it with a vessel of the Ottawa's length. It would, therefore, seem that Lieutenant-Commander Breese literally obeyed my orders, which were to go as far up the river as possible. By the report of Colonel W. H. Noble, commanding United States forces on the east side of the St. John's, you will learn that the Columbine was captured on Monday night by the enemy at Horse Landing. This landing is distant by the river some five miles above Brown's Landing, where the Ottawa was then at anchor. Lieutenant-Commander Breese, and his executive officer, Acting Master Gamble, state that they heard nothing which led them to believe that the Columbine was engaged with the enemy. This they account for by the dense woods intervening, and thus preventing the sound of the guns reaching them. General Gordon informed me to-day that he expected the men who had escaped from the Columbine, and who had arrived at St. Augustine, to reach Jacksonville this evening, and I regret that they have not, as I was anxious to see them, and get their statements in relation to the capture of the Columbine, that I might transmit them to you for your information. Colonel Noble has sent General Gordon statements from two of those who escaped from the Columbine, and they are to the effect that she was on her way down the river, and that when near Horse Landing she commenced shelling the woods in that vicinity; soon after opening fire, the enemy opened fire from four pieces of artillery, her rudder chains being shot away at the first discharge, and that she ran aground; that she fired on the enemy, and, from the account referred to, surrendered after being under fire from one hour to three hours; these men report several killed and some eight wounded and five men drowned. It will be more satisfactory to you to have the statements of those who have escaped, and at the earliest moment possible I will examine them, and transmit to you their statements. I regret exceedingly the loss of the Columbine, but I did not, under the pressure of the call made upon me, feel that I could do otherwise than to cooperate to. the utmost to save our forces, threatened as they were, and which we had reason to believe would be captured if vigorous and prompt assistance were not rendered. I have proposed to General Gordon to send out a flag of truce for the purpose of learning everything we can in relation to the capture of the Columbine, and this will be done at the earliest moment deemed advisable; but as the General intends to move against the enemy on the morning of the first of June, he seems to think it better to delay taking a step of this kind till he has accomplished his movement. The rebel force in front is said to be weak, and I trust he will succeed in inflicting a serious blow on the enemy. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Report of rear-admiral J. A. Dahlgren.
flag-steamer Philadelphia, off Morris Island, June 18, 1864.Sir: I transmit herewith a report from Commander Balch, giving some particulars of the capture of the Columbine. There is always some satisfaction. in knowing that when a vessel is lost every effort has been made to prevent it by a stout defence. Of course it is impossible to be certain of all the facts until they are developed by a court of inquiry, which can only be instituted when a sufficient amount of evidence is obtained. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Additional report of Com. G. B. Balch.
United States steam-sloop Pawnee, off Mayport Mills, Florida, June 12, 1864.Admiral: I have the honor herewith to transmit the statement of Drover Edwards, (landsman,) lately attached to the Columbine. He escaped from that vessel after she surrendered, but before the rebels took possession. He is intelligent, and gives the subjoined statement clearly and with every appearance of truth. From his statement I rejoice to believe that the honor of the navy was fully and gloriously maintained; and though we have to regret the loss of a very useful vessel, still it is gratifying to know that she was in the performance of most important service, viz., the assistance of our troops, which were in imminent danger of being cut off by the enemy. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Statement of Drover Edwards, (landsman,) late attached to the Columbine, who escaped by swimming to the East side of the St. John's on the Twenty-Third day of May, 1864, the day of the engagement of the Columbine with the rebel battery at horse Landing, on the St. John's River, Florida.
the Columbine arrived at Volusia bar at half past 11 P. M., on Sunday night, the twenty-second instant. Next morning a boat was sent to communicate with our troops at that post; found all safe. At noon Monday, twenty-third  instant, the Columbine started on her return; she stopped at Wilatka, a landing place above Horse Landing, about half an hour, and then proceeded down the river. At four P. M., when near Horse Landing, called all hands to quarters, and commenced shelling the woods, and when opposite the landing fired two more rounds; the rebels opened fire from a battery distant not more than thirty yards, the forward gun being struck and knocked around, the carriage being injured, but not so as to render the gun useless; and the wheel-ropes being shot away, endeavors were made to repair the wheel-ropes, but before this could be done she was aground. We continued firing; Captain Sanborn had given orders to hook her on, with the object of endeavoring to run by the battery, but she was aground; directions were given by Captain Sanborn to shift the forward gun over to the starboard side, to bring it to bear on the battery; this was done, and fire opened again on the battery. The Captain (Sanborn) fired every gun, and this continued till about six P. M., steady firing. Many were killed by the rebel fire, as also many wounded; estimates the total killed and wounded at twenty, (20.) Captain Daniels, commanding detachment of thirty-fifth United States colored troops, was wounded; saw many lying in the gangway killed and wounded; I saw five drowned, four being soldiers, and the other belonged to the Columbine, William Moran, (landsman,) colored. At about six P. M. Captain Sanborn. showed a white flag, and surrendered. The rebels hailed and told him to send a boat ashore; boat was riddled with shot; did not send a boat. The rebels sent off three boats; when nearly alongside, I jumped overboard and swam to the east side of the river, and escaped to the woods. Here I met three soldiers of the Thirty-fifth United States colored troops, who had also jumped overboard; together we made our way to St. Augustine, which place we reached in five days. I hereby certify that the above statement is true and correct.
Certified to as the statement of Drover Edwards, (landsman,) late of the Columbine.
June 12, 1864.
George B. Balch, United States Navy.
List of officers and men captured.
flag-steamer Philadelphia, Port Royal harbor, June 27, 1864.Sir: I herewith enclose, for the information of the department, list of the officers and men of the United States steam-tug Columbine, captured by the enemy May twenty-third, 1864, and have the honor to be, Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Prisoners captured May 23, 1864.
F. Sanborn, acting ensign; J. H. Johnston and George Whitney, third assistant engineers; W. D. Spencer, master's mate; G. F. Allison, quarter-master's cook; John Smith and George Walsh, quartermasters; Nicholas Fierny, Robert Haddon, and J. H. Ellis, firemen; John McDonald, Michael Noe, Patrick Kelly, and Mike Drilly, coal-heavers; Wiley Bloom, A. Mills, J. Hastings, A. Lewis, George Hall, W. Austin, T. Wiggins, W. Wyatt, W. Hampton, J. Jenkins, W. Hart, and J. Harrison, sailors; H. Pearson, cook,--total, twenty-seven. I certify that the above is a correct abstract from the list furnished by Major-General Anderson, commanding Confederate forces in Florida.
Report of Acting Ensign Sanborn.
United States steamer Columbine, under my command, in the St. John's River, on May twenty-third, 1864. On the twenty-second of May, at four A. M., I received orders by the army transport Charles Houghton to report to Lieutenant-Commander L. L. Breese, commanding the United States steamer Ottawa. I reported to him at five A. M., and assisted her in reaching Pilatka. From this place I was by him ordered to proceed to Volusia, and convey such orders as I might receive from General Gordon, to whom he ordered me to report. Reporting to General Gordon at a landing opposite Pilatka, I received orders from General Gordon to receive on board a detachment of the Thirty-fifth United States infantry, (colored,) under command of Captain Daniels, as a guard, and verbal orders to be communicated to the commandant of the post of Volusia, fifty miles farther up the river. Leaving Pilatka and the Ottawa, with orders to return immediately, at six P. M. I reached Volusia bar, five miles from Volusia, at half past 11 P. M., when I dropped anchor. In the morning, owing to the low state of the tide, I found it impossible to safely cross the bar with the Columbine. I therefore despatched Acting Master's Mate W. B. Spencer with an armed boat's crew to convey General Gordon's orders to the commandant of the post at Volusia, and return immediately. He was successful in so doing, and returned to the vessel at half past 11 A. M. of the twenty-third. Immediately after his return, I weighed anchor and commenced my return. I stopped at Rembert's and Welaka on my return, at which latter place I obtained the particulars of the capture of a detachment of the Seventeenth Connecticut volunteer infantry, under command of one Captain Hovey. This was part of my orders.  Immediately after my departure from Welaka I beat to quarters, as I expected to be fired upon by infantry at Horse or Cannon's Landing. Upon rounding the point next above, I opened fire upon the landing and road above, leading to it, as soon as my guns could be brought to bear. Also giving the orders to slow down and lower the torpedo-catchers, which were immediately executed. I could discover nothing suspicious until directly abreast the landing, distant about one hundred yards, when two pieces of artillery, concealed by the shrubbery and undergrowth, almost simultaneously opened fire upon me. I instantly gave orders to hook on, but unfortunately the second shot of the enemy cut my wheel-chains, and at the same time the pilot abandoned the wheel and jumped over the bow. The vessel almost immediately went ashore upon a mud bank. Before she struck, one of the enemy's shot struck the main steam-pipe, knocking a hole in it, causing a great loss of steam. Her being ashore, and the injury to the wheel-chains, were reported to me at nearly the same moment. I left the hurricane deck, and took charge of the forward gun, sending Mr. Spencer aft on the quarter deck to ship the tiller and hook the relieving tackles, at the same time stopping and backing the engine. The engineer, Mr. Johnson, now reported the loss of steam, and at nearly the same moment Mr. Spencer reported the quarter deck swept by the enemy's sharpshooters and grape, and the after gun abandoned, and Mr. Davis killed. I now placed the forward gun in charge of Quartermaster James Smith, and repaired to the quarter deck. I saw immediately the utter impossibility of saving the vessel unless the enemy could be dislodged. I now returned to the forward gun, of which I took charge, at the same time ordering Mr. Spencer to try and rally the infantry, which was now jumping overboard on all sides and swimming ashore. By our united exertions we finally stopped them. The engineer in charge, Mr. Johnson, at this time informed me the engine was useless, as one of the frame timbers had been shot away and locked the wheel. The officer in charge of the infantry having been wounded, the second in command and myself seeing all hopes of escape cut off, and the riflemen on the port bank of the river shooting the men down at the forward gun, I called a council of my remaining officers, in which it was decided to surrender. I was spared the mortification of hauling down the flag, it having been shot away in the early part of the action. It now became any humiliating duty to hoist a white flag to prevent the further useless expenditure of human life. A boat from the enemy immediately boarded me, demanding the surrender of the vessel. I refused to surrender to the officer in the boat, but having my own boat, went on shore and asked to see the commanding officer. I was immediately presented to Captain Dickerson, Confederate States army, from whom I demanded, in case of an unconditional surrender, personal safety to the officers and colored men on board; which was immediately guaranteed; whereupon I surrendered myself, officers, and crew as prisoners of war, and my vessel a prize to the (so-called) Confederate States of America. The loss in killed, wounded, and missing is as follows, viz.: Acting Master's Mate John Davis, while nobly performing his duty, killed; privates, five (5) wounded, sixteen killed and missing. I take great pleasure in recommending to your favorable notice the conduct of Acting Third Assistant Engineer Henry J. Johnson, who coolly performed his duty until the engine became disabled, when he rendered me the most valuable assistance on deck; also that of Acting Master's Mate W. B. Spencer. I have the pleasure to inform you that immediately after the removal of the wounded the enemy set her on fire, burning her to the water's edge, without removing an article of value. She also formed the funeral pyre for those who fell while nobly defending her and the flag from dishonor. The remains of Mr. Davis were decently interred, covered by the flag he loved so well, and which he died bravely defending. I have the honor to remain, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Additional report of F. W. Sanborn.
Captain Dickerson, by whom I was very kindly treated, together with my officers and crew. On the morning of the twenty-fourth, at eleven A. M., he gave to the officers a wagon, and to the wounded a. wagon, to transport them to Gainsville. The privates were compelled to march, but the officer in command made frequent halts, in order that the men might not become too fatigued. We reached Gainsville on the morning of the twenty-sixth, and remained until that of the twenth-seventh, when we were placed in passenger cars and conveyed to Lake City, at which place we arrived at twelve P. M. We remained here until the following morning, when we took passage in a box-car for Madison, (all the negroes and Captain Daniels remaining behind,.) which place we reached at about nine A. M. Transportation was procured for our baggage, and we commenced a wearisome march for Quitman, which place we reached on the evening of the ensuing day. On the following morning we were placed in box-cars and taken to Savannah, which place we reached at five P. M., and were marched to Oglethorpe barracks, where we remained all night; this being the first time since our capture a roof  of any kind covered us, or we had been directly insulted by the officer in command. The next morning we were again placed in boxcars, and on the same evening arrived in Macon. From the depot a guard of Georgians took us in charge, and marched us to Oglethrope barracks, about a mile distant from the depot. Here, I regret to say, myself and officers were separated from the white portion of the crew, who were taken to Andersonville. I regret to say my officers and myself were here compelled to submit to a most humiliating search of our persons and baggage, the Confederate authorities taking any and all money from each officer, giving him therefor a receipt. In many cases the officers never saw their money again, or were compelled to draw it from the Confederate authorities at the rate of four and a half Confederate for one United States national currency, while, at the same time, the rates of exchange by private parties were from eight to ten (8 to 10) for one of the same. After having been subjected to the searching process, we were shown into a yard, containing about three and one-half (3 1/2) acres or less, in which were already confined over eleven hundred (1100) prisoners, with no instructions as to the rules and regulations, nor what to do or how to act. We finally, as it was now dark, bivouacked in the open air. The next morning showed us here we would have to remain for some time. Mustering together our blankets, we formed them into a sort of a tent, which, though open at both ends, protected us from the hot, scorching rays of a noonday sun. During the morning a ration was served out to us, which consisted of about a pint of corn meal and a table-spoonful of salt each. I remained in Macon, together with my other officers, until the latter part of July, when I was among the first six hundred sent to Charleston. At the time of our leaving, it was stated one thousand remained, of which I have no doubt. Our rations in Macon were of the poorest kind — the bacon frequently decayed, and always full of maggots; the rice full of weevils; the beans full of worms and musty, and the meal sometimes musty; our supply of salt very insufficient, and no vegetables. At the time of my leaving Macon many were prostrated by the scurvy, and some. had died of it. Among my immediate acquaintances was and is a Mr. Ellis, of the navy, who was suffering severely from its effects in Macon; his body being covered with huge sores, which, since his removal to Charleston, have become somewhat better, but far from well. During the first few days we were in Charleston we (the six hundred) were confined in the jail-yard, with no protection from the weather but what is known in the army as a shelter tent, into each of which six were obliged to crowd, and in one case eight. We were here nearly starved; compelled to mix with deserters, murderers, house-breakers, and felons of every description; add to this the brackish water, and the filth, dirt, refuse, which was allowed to collect in piles, and which created a stench sufficient to breed the most loathsome diseases, and the meagre food, our position was far from pleasant. For several days a table-spoonful of lard and a cup of meal was the only ration, but then again, on some days, our ration would consist of a loaf of wheat or rice bread and a pound of fresh meat. From the jail-yard I was removed to the work-house, together with a number of others; here the rations were better a little, but we only remained a few days, when we were taken to Roper Hospital. Here we were required to give our parole not to attempt to escape or hold any communication with any person outside the prison limits. The building is large, airy, and commodious, has a fine yard and balcony in front, good yard and accommodations in the rear for cooking and washing, and is altogether far superior to any former accommodations. The rations are also of a better quality, and I am inclined to think have been increased in quantity, but still are very poor rrtions indeed. There is a great scarcity of the proper medicines in the Confederacy, and many of our officers are now suffering in the hospitals for the want of proper medicine. I am sorry to say, sir, that at the time of my capture my officers and myself were robbed of much clothing and valuables, and find it a common practice of the Confeds to rob men of boots, hats, pants, coats, or anything they may choose to fancy. During the time I have been confined in Charleston I have been unwell, and have repeatedly gone to the Confederate surgeon, Doctor Rett, for medicine, which he has given me, but uniformly without success. My case now became quite bad, and on my reporting to him on Tuesday last for medicine, he frankly informed me he could do nothing for me, and said, furthermore, I would not live in the South, offering at the same time, if I would make application, to give his certificate and influence in my behalf. I accepted his kind offer, and made application, which was granted. I signed my parole September first, was placed inside of our lines, off Charleston, on the second; came here on the Wyoming last night at nine P. M., and now have the honor to report to you. The person for whom I am to try and effect an exchange is Captain Henry Boneau, captured in the blockade runner Ella Annie. I have the honor to remain, Very respectfully, your obedient servant,