up the rendezvous of the deserters, &c., in Taylor County and La Fayette, and in restoring quiet, and establishing a sense of security along the borders of Madison and Jefferson, the threatened settlements. As yet I have received no detailed report of these operations and am therefore unable to speak of them, except in general terms.
South Florida, though being more distant and very difficult of access by our troops, was still infested by bands of deserters, skulkers, and Yankees, whose numbers and depredations were daily increasing. Threatened by such a force as the enemy then had at Jacksonville, it would have been extremely imprudent, if not criminally rash, to have made any detachment from our main force in front of Jacksonville, for the purpose of operating in a field so distant as that which comprises the haunts of these outlaws.
On the 12th of April, the enemy withdrew his garrison from Palatka. One regiment of negro troops (Kansas), under Montgomery, was transferred to the opposite (east) side of the Saint John's, at the village, Picolata, where it still remains, partially fortified, and having a few pieces of light artillery in the works. The other four regiments composing the garrison at Palatka were either sent across to Saint Augustine and then took shipping for the north, or they marched down the Saint John's on the east side to Jacksonville. As the peninsula embraced between the lower Saint John's and the Atlantic, forming the parallelogram on the map, Saint Augustine, Picolata, Jacksonville, and mouth of Saint John's is wholly within the enemy's possession and very difficult of access by our scouts, it was impossible to keep ourselves well advised of all his movements on that side of the river; hence I am uncertain as to the movements of the four regiments above referred to, after they left Palatka.
On the 8th day of April, the enemy commenced sending troops away from Jacksonville by sea, and has continued to do so up to the 11th may, as per reports of scouts on the banks of the river below Jacksonville, of which the following are extracts:
April 8.-One transport, 300 to 500 troops.
April 9.-Two transports, one with 200 or 300, one with 300 or 400 troops.
April 13.-Three transports loaded with troops; and the Charles Houghton made three trips to some point just below Jacksonville, loaded each trip with troops.
April 15.-One transport loaded with troops.
April 16.-Four transports loaded with from 1,500 to 2,000 troops.
April 17.-Two transports loaded with 800 troops.
April 20.-One transport loaded with 600 troops.
April 21.-Two transports (one had about 600 troops).
April 22.-Two transports loaded with troops and horses.
April 23.-One transport loaded with troops and horses.
April 24.-One transport loaded with 500 or 600 troops.
April 25.-Two large steamers loaded with troops.
April 27.-Two transports, some troops on board.
April 28.-One steamer loaded with wagons and artillery.
April 29.-One large steamer loaded with troops.
May 9.-One transport loaded with troops. The Mary Benton, horses and many troops.
I have estimated that the troops sent off from Jacksonville as above reported amount in all to about 9,200. Other vessels have