War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0096 COASTS OF S.C., GA., AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

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MARCH 4, 1862.-Occupation of Amelia Island, Fla., by the Union forces.

Reports of Brigadier General Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED'Y CORPS,

Fernandina, Fla., March 5, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that the combined nay and army expedition is in possession of Fernandina and the military defenses on Amelia Island, and also of the batteries on the south end of Cumberland Island.

Our occupation was a bloodless one, the rebels having evacuated on the first suspicion of our approach al the strong defenses on which they had lavished so much time and labor, removing, so far as time permitted, guns, stores, and troops. They, however, left behind no less than fourteen guns, all of large caliber.

The town is nearly deserted of inhabitants, many of whom left reluctantly, in obedience to the orders of the rebel authorities.

So far as I can gather from the conflicting statements of the citizens left behind, the rebel force here has exceeded 5,000 men. A detailed report will be submitted hereafter.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,

Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C>

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED'Y CORPS,

Fernandina, Fla., March 13, 1862.

GENERAL: Your letter of the 10th and 12th instant were received this evening, through Mr. Boutelle, U. S. Coast Survey, and I hasten to reply by the steamer Ben De Ford, which leaves early to-morrow morning. The Saint John's expedition is still absent, and I have received no official information in regard to it since the 11th, at which time the vessels had not succeeded in passing the bar of that river. I learn, however, through contrabands and others who have come in, that the enemy has deserted everything as high up as Jacksonville, and has burned a portion of that town; that there are no troops nearer than Baldwin, and but few there, the Mississippi regiment having been sent to Tennessee and most of the Florida troops to Tallahassee. I infer, therefore, that the capture of Saint Augustine will not require a formidable demonstration, but that the place will surrender on the approach of the gunboats. Should there be any indications of resistance there, which I do not expect, I will add to the land force already sent. As you will have learned by one of my late letters, it is doubtful whether the place is garrisoned even. The ordnance captured here amounts to sixteen pieces in all, two having been found in a battery beyond the railroad bridge, which had not, however, been mounted. The battery was nearly completed. No powder of any moment was left behind. Three large sling-carts were left in good condition and a fourth partly burned. We shall need the ammunition and other stores estimated for by Lieutenant Tardy. I shall retain the whole force now here until the result of the expedition now absent is accomplished, or until I hear further from you. I believe, from present information, that at least