Savannah, April 5, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded, for the information of the commanding general.
The strength of the enemy at present is probably not sufficient for them to make a lodgment on the mainland.
J. F. GILMER,
APRIL 1, 1864.-Destruction of U. S. transport Maple Leaf in Saint John's River, Fla.
No. 1.-Brigadier General John P. Hatch, U. S. Army, commanding District of Florida.
No. 2.-Captain E. Pliny Bryan, Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army.
No. 1. Report of Brigadier General John P. Hatch, U. S. Army, commanding District of Florida.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Jacksonville, Fla., April 1, 1864.
GENERAL: Since the departure of General Gillmore from the district there has nothing of interest occurred with the unfortunate exception of the loss of the steamer Maple Leaf, which was destroyed by a torpedo at 4 a.m. this morning. I had found it necessary to send the Maple Leaf to Palatka with troops. She arrived there safely, in company with the Weed and Hunter. The last two remained at that post in accordance with your instructions. On her return the Maple Leaf struck a torpedo at a point 12 miles above this place and sunk in about seven minutes. Her upper works are out of water. A gun-boat has gone up to lie by her and make a report as to the amount of injury she has received. Two firemen and 2 servants are supposed to have been drowned. The baggage and camp equipage of the One hundred and twelfth and One hundred and sixty-ninth New York and Thirteenth Indiana Regiments was on board, not having been removed from the steamer on its arrival from Hilton Head.
Colonel Barton reports skirmishing at his pickets. The rumors are that a large force of the enemy are concentrating in front of him. He does not attach much importance to the rumor, but remains well on his guard. I have sent him thus far one additional regiment of infantry and two small companies of cavalry. Will send the other troops as soon as possible. I am now organizing a boat battalion to scout the river, and hope that it, under the cover of a cavalry force, will be able to keep the river open hereafter.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. P. HATCH,
Brigadier General J. W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff.
*See also Beauregard's report, p.115, and Anderson's report, p.370.