abused and insulted the women just as they pleased. They encamped that night on the blanks of the river in Mr. Baza's field.
On Friday morning the propeller started and proceeded slowly over to Palatka and went up to the wharf, landed a number of men on the wharf, and was in the act of landing some artillery, when Captain J. J. Dickison and his company, who had been patiently waiting, fired into them. The propeller then, as fast as steam could carry her, backed out from the wharf, firing shell, grape, canister, and small-arms. After they fired for a while she proceeded over the river to Mr. Baza's point, and communicated with a company of negroes that had been left over there. The company of negroes then proceeded back by land to Orange Mill, and the propeller went back down the river and took them on board. Every vestige of furniture was taken by the negroes from the residences of Dr. R. G. Mays, Major E. C. Simkins [quartermaster], and Major A. H. Cole [quartermaster]. Mr. Antonio Baza was taken prisoner by the negroes, but succeeded in making his escape. The Yankees on the way down the river again stopped at the residence of Mr. C. Dupont and Demanded the negroes who were hid, stating if the negroes were not immediately delivered they would burn the houses. Mrs. Dupont, who was much alarmed, accordingly delivered up the negroes, against the wishes and urgent appeals.
In a conversation with Colonel Montgomery, of the negro regiment (I having been surrounded and taken prisoner, but afterward released), he informed me that he had come up for the purpose of permanently occupying Palatka, and that they intended restoring Florida to the Union at all hazards; that he would have a force of some 5,000 men at Palatka in a few days; that they had been acting in a mild way all along, but that they intended now to let us feel what war actually was; that the United States marshal for Florida was along and pointed him out to me; that all the negroes were declared free and he intended to take all he could find.
Thus you will perceive, general, what we are to expect, and had it not been for the brave and gallant conduct of Captain Dickison, his officers and men, Palatka would this day have been in possession of the negro enemy. Captain Diskison has been one of the most untiring and energetic officers I have ever met with. He is always on the alert, and had he sufficient force would never let the enemy land on either side of the river up here. I visited Palatka since the propeller left, and from the great quantity of blood about on the wharf and pieces of bones picked up many of the enemy evidently were killed. Every bullet fired by Captain Dickinson's men must have took effect. This company deserves the thanks of the people of Florida and the Government, for I think they have well merited the same.
Allow me, general, to suggest to you the propriety of taking some action in regard to the vast quantity of cattle on the east side of the Saint John's, as the enemy are continually butchering for the use of their troops, and as the citizens are entirely helpless to defend themselves.
All of which is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,
THOS. T. RUSSELL.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., April 2, 1863.
Brigadier General JOSEPH FINEGAN, Commanding District of East Florida:
GENERAL: Your indorsement upon the communication of Colonel Clinch has been duly considered.