to Picolata. I am now removing them to this place under convoy of the gun-boats. I regret to have to report in this communication that the steamer Hunter, on a return trip from Picolata, having on board quartermaster's property, was destroyed by a torpedo near the wreck of the Maple Leaf. The Cosmopolitan and Hunter, convoyed by the gun-boat Norwich, were together at the time of the accident. The gun-boat and the Cosmopolitan both passed over the torpedo safely without perceiving it. The Hunter followed immediately in the wake of the Cosmopolitan, struck it, and sank immediately. One man, a hand of the boat, was drowned. The steward of the boat had his leg broken. No other person injured.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. P. HATCH,
Brigadier General J. W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff.
APRIL 26-MAY 6, 1864.-Expedition from Jacksonville to Lake Monroe, Fla.
Report of Brigadier General William Birney, U. S. Army, commanding District of Florida.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
May 6, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I returned this evening from Lake Monroe via Saint Augustine, having made a successful expedition through the counties on the east side of the Saint John's.
We did not meet the enemy, having reached Saunders' Landing, the point at which they were expected, before they began their embarkation. A lighter, repaired by them and lying at that point, fell into our hands. Between 50 and 100 of the rebel force had crossed at Palatka, and concealed the lighter used for the purpose. They recrossed the evening of the day on which we passed up the river.
Several rebel soldiers at home on furlough were captured by us; among them was young Brock, son of the former owner of the Hattie Brock. We captured also the enemy's 2 sentinels opposite Volusia, and 1 of their sub-beef commissaries, with about 400 head of cattle. The whole number of cattle now on the road to this point will not fall below 1,500. The cotton captured will exceed 100 bales.
At Smyrna we took two schooners, loaded with cotton and ready to run the blockade, the Fannie, of about 7 tons, and the Shell, of about 9. These were taken possession of by Mr. A. G. Browne, the Treasury agent, who proposes to bring them into Saint Augustine or Hilton Head as soon as the winds are favorable.
The best disposition exists toward us among the people. Many of these were hiding in the swamps to escape the conscription, but came to us and welcomed us as deliverers. Some of them accompanies us on the expedition, and to their local knowledge and zeal I am indebted for much of our success in capturing property. The knowledge of the country acquired on this expedition will enable me to act hereafter with decision and promptness in meeting any raid of the rebels upon the eastern shore.