Georgia. If I had them for a few days it might save the Saint John's River and perhaps East Florida.
Honorable JAMES S. BAKER,
Honorable A. E. MAXWELL,
Honorable JAMES B. DAWKINS,
Honorable R. B. HILTON.
HDQRS. PROV. FORCES, DEPT. EAST AND MIDDLE FLA.,
Jacksonville, Fla., October 3, 1862.
On my arrival on the river last night I found that the post at Saint John's Bluff had been evacuated. The enemy made a landing some 5 miles in the rear of the battery, but in what force I am unable to say. As at present advised I think we had sufficient force to hold the place, and that its abandonment by Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkins, the commanding officer, was a gross military blunder, that may require investigation.
General S. COOPER.
Numbers 7. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel C. F. Hopkins, C. S. Army, and resulting correspondence.
CAMP DUNHAM, FLA., October 8, 1862.
GENERAL: Below I have the honor to submit such a statement as the circumstances will permit of my proceedings at the post of Saint John's Bluff from September 26 to October 3:
On taking command of the post I proceed to examine the condition of the magazines, batteries, &c., and set at work fatigue details to strengthen and put them in thorough repair. When i arrived there were five gunboats in the river; on September 29 another came over the bar, and on the 30th another, making in all seven gunboats. They made no movement toward attacking the batteries. From this fact, together with reports from our pickets that heavy work was being done on board the boats, I became apprehensive that forces would be landed and the batteries attacked by land troops in reverse. Acting upon this suspicion I immediately dispatched you a communication, from which I copy the following expressions:
I deem it necessary that at least one regiment of infantry should be sent to this point without delay to protect our rear. * * * The force of infantry now here is not sufficient to repel an attack made in force, and in addition to the limited number for rear defense we have not ammunition sufficient for small-arms for more than one hour's fight closely contested.
Later on the same day I wrote you a communication, in which the following expressions occur:
I am fully impressed with the belief that the enemy contemplate a land attack, as they will and have found it impracticable to succeed by water. I cannot urge upon you too strongly, general, the necessity for sending as soon as practicable re-enforcements of infantry.