2 miles from the enemy's works on Saint John's Bluff. Here the statements of those belonging to the locality, though conflicting and unreliable in the extreme, appeared to agree in placing the strength of the rebels at 1,200 cavalry and infantry, in addition to the heavy batteries, which they represented a s containing nine heavy pieces, two of them being columbiads. Under these circumstances I deemed it expedient, on consultation with Captain Steedman, U. S. Navy, commanding naval forces, to call upon the garrison of Fernandina for re-enforcements. To this call Colonel Rich, Ninth Regiment Maine Volunteers, commanding that garrison, responded promptly by sending 30 men early on the following morning. Later on that day, from further information received, Captain Steedman, at my request, sent three gunboats to feel the position of the rebels, shelling them as they advanced, when the batteries were found to be evacuated; after which Lieutenant Snell, U. S. Navy, sent a boat ashore and raised the American flag, finding the rebel flag in the battery. The U. S. steamer Water Witch retaining possession of the batteries until the arrival of the land forces, the command immediately advanced form the position on Mount Pleasant Creek and occupied the batteries and late camp of the enemy. At about 8 o'clock on the evening of the 3rd the cavalry, not having landed with the portion of the troops, were here disembarked. I found the late position of the enemy on Saint John's Bluff to be on of great strength, and possessing a heavy and effective armament, with a good supply of ammunition, as will be seen by the accompanying investor of ordnance captured-the works being most skillfully and carefully constructed and the position greatly enhanced by the natural advantages of the ground, it being approachable from the land by but one route, which would lead the attacking party though a winding ravine immediately under the guns of the position, and from the narrowness of the channel at this point and the elevation of the bluff rendering the fighting of the gunboats most difficult and dangerous. Most of the guns were mounted on a complete transverse circle, and indeed, taking everything into consideration, I have no doubt but that a small party of determined men could have maintain this position for a considerable time against even a larger force than was at my disposal.
On the day following my occupation of these works (October 4) I proceeded to dismount the guns and to remove them and the ammunition and board the transport Neptune, which work was completed on the 7th, when I forwarded them to Hilton Head, and caused the magazines to be lawn up, and otherwise destroyed the entire works on the bluff. On first occupying the bluff Captain Stedman, with his gunboat, proceeded immediately to Jacksonville ot Jacksonville, for the purpose of destroying all boats and otherwise intercepting the passage of the rebel troops across the river.
On the 5th, leaving the work of removing the guns from Saint John's Bluff to Colonel T. H. Good, Forty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, my second in command, I proceeded up the river as far as Jacksonville in the transport Ben De Ford with 785 infantry. I observed a large quantity of corn and other crops on the banks of the river, which it was at first my intention either to remove or destroy. This purpose I afterward abandoned as impracticable, not having either forces or transportation sufficient to remove it and seeing from the communication of the major-general commanding that he did not desire the delay necessary to destroy it. The rebels had a light battery of eight pieces and a position in readiness to receive seven heavy guns at a place called