learned, making a reconnaissance, which it was his plan to follow up by an attack in force after night-fall. He expected to make the attack so close as to render our gunboats unavailable from the danger or their shells falling among our own men. Everything remained quite during the night. The fact that our pickets had previously been drawn in at night to the edge of town encouraged this plan, which was frustrated by the arrival of the Eighth Maine Regiment and placing a night picket afterward at a distance. On Tuesday night the locomotive battery again approached and threw several 68-pounder rifled shells, striking several buildings, but injuring no one.
On Wednesday a reconnaissance in force, commanded by Colonel Higginson, and consisting of five companies of the Eighth Maine, under Lieutenant-Colonel Twitchell; four companies of Sixth Connecticut; under Major Meeker, and a portion of Colonel Higginson's colored regiment advanced along the railroad upward of 4 miles, driving in General Finegan's pickets, but were not able to overtake the enemy.
After proceeding as far as was deemed advisable, and the enemy showing no disposition to accept battle, our forces commenced to return. Soon after the locomotive battery appeared and threw several shells, but was careful to keep out of reach of our rifles. One of its shells killed privates T. G. Hoole and Joseph Goodwin and severely wounded William Willis, all of Captain McArthur's company (I), Eighth Maine Volunteers, who were the only persons killed or wounded after my arrival. On this occasion all the troops behaved exceedingly well.
Colonel Montgomery, with about 120 men of his regiment, accompanied by Captain Steedman, of the gunboat Paul Jones, made a successful expedition to Palatka, 75 miles up the river, taking prisoners a lieutenant and 14 men, with all their arms. The lieutenant violated his parole of honor and escaped. A quantity of cotton, rifles, horses, and other property, amounting to several thousand dollars, has been captured.
In accordance with Special Orders, Numbers 162, received from Headquarters Department of the South, I withdrew all the Union forces from Jacksonville, Fla., March 31, and embarked them on board transports, a part of which had just arrived for that purpose.
While the evacuation was taking place several fires were lit, a portion of them undoubtedly by secessionists; these fires were not confined to the lines of any regiment. Perhaps twenty-fire buildings were destroyed. On my arrival I had found that many buildings had previously been destroyed, some by rebels, others by Union forces from military necessity.
Many Union families came away with us, our soldiers freely making all possible room for them on the transports.
The expedition has all returned safely.
Much credit is due to Captain H. Boynton, of Eighth Regiment Maine Volunteers, for the careful and prudent manner in which he had administered the affairs of provost-marshal during our brief stay at Jacksonville.
Captain Cannon, of the Delaware, and his gentlemanly officers deserve mention for their kind treatment of officers and men.
JOHN D. RUST,
Colonel Eighth Regiment Maine Vols., Commanding Forces.
Lieutenant Colonel CHARLES G. HALPINE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South.