Yellow Bluff, which they appear to have lately evacuated Jacksonville I found to be nearly deserted, there being but a small portion of its inhabitants left-chiefly old men, women, and children. On our first arrival some few rebel cavalry were hovering around the town, but they immediately retired on my establishing a picket line. From this town and its neighborhood I bring with me several refugees and about 176 contrabands, including men, women, and children.
On the 6th, hearing that some rebel steamers were secreted in the creeks up the river, I sent the Darlington, with 100 men of the Forty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, inc hare of Captain yard, with two 24-pounder light howitzers and a crew of 25 men, all under the command of Lieutenant Williams, U. S. Navy, and a convoy of gunboats, to cut them out. This party returned on the morning of the 9th with a rebel steamer, Governor Milton, which they captured in a creek about 230 miles up the river and about 27 miles from the town of Enterprise. Lieutenant Bacon, my aide-de-camp, accompanied the expedition. Finding that the Cosmopolitan, which had been sent to Hilton Head for provisions, had so injured herself in returning across the bar as to be temporarily unfit for service, I sent the Seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers to Hilton Head by the steamer Boston on the afternoon of the 7th instant, with the request that she might be returned, to assist in the transportation to Hilton Head of the remaining portion of my command.
On the return of the successful expedition after the rebel steamers, on the 9th I proceeded with that portion of my command to Saint John's Bluff, awaiting the return of the Boston.
On the 11th instant I embarked the section of the First Connecticut Light Battery, with their guns, horses, &c., and one company of the Forty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, on board the steamer Darlington, sending them to Hilton Head via Fernandina, Fla. On the 11th, the Boston having returned, I embarked myself, with the last remaining portion of my command, except one company of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, left to assist and protect the Cosmopolitan, for Hilton Head, S. C., on the 12th instant, and arrived at that place on the 13th instant. The captured steamer Governor Milton I left in charge of Captain Steedman, U. S. Navy.
It is evident that the troops in this portion of the country, from their being in separate and distinct companies, have not sufficient organization or determination to attempt to sustain any one position; but seem rather to devote themselves to a system of guerrilla warfare, a was exemplified in our advance on Saint John's Bluff, where, even after the evacuation of the fort, they continued to pear on our flank and in our front; but, as they seemed to fear a too near approach, their fire was never effective.
The gunboats rendered great and valuable assistance during this expedition, and high praise is due to their commander, Captain Charles Steedman, U. S. Navy, for the prompt and energetic manner in which he entered into every scheme for the reduction of the enemy and the destruction of the their works and the zeal and activity with which he personally superintended every detail of his portion of the duties; and, further, for his generous assistance in relieving the transport Cosmopolitan.
I ascertain at Jacksonville that the enemy commenced evacuating the Bluff immediately after the surprise of their pickets near Mount Pleasant Creek, on the 3rd instant.
It affords me pleasure to state that the most perfect harmony and