I will submit further facts in relation to the loss of the Columbine and the capture of the two posts at Welaka and Saunders as soon as received.
While regretting the losses and condemning whatever there may have been reprehensible in the conduct of the commanders at Welaka and Saunders, I feel keenly the disaster to the Columbine and her gallant crew, resulting as it did from an attempt to relieve my command.
My reconnaissance of the 25th has developed the fact that there is no enemy at Camp Finegan. I captured a prisoner this morning, who confirms the fact.
The enemy's force in Florida is as follows: At Camp Milton, of the Second Florida Cavalry, Colonel McCormick, effective men, 600; artillery, two small pieces. Camp Milton and McGirt's Creek strongly fortified. At Baldwin, no troops, strong fortifications, two pieces of artillery. At the trestle bridge across the Saint Mary's fortifications are being erected by negroes. Of State troops raised for State defense, three companies are expected daily at Camp Milton; 2,000 in all are looked for. Captain Dickinson's cavalry (200 effective men) is stationed at Palatka. Dunham's artillery of light pieces is on the Saint John's River near Welaka, Saunders, and Horse Landing.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. GORDON,
Captain W. L. M. BURGER,
No. 2. Report of Major General Samuel Jones, C. S. Army,
CHARLESTON, May 27, 1864.
On the night of the 19th instant, Captain J. J. Dickinson, Second Florida Cavalry, crossed the upper Saint John's with a detachment of 50 men; captured 56 of the enemy's pickets, with their arms and accouterments, including 2 commissioned officers. On the 23rd instant, the same officer, after engagement near Palatka, Fla., captured the steamer Columbine, carrying two heavy Dahlgren guns, killed 20, captured 65 of the enemy, and 65 stand of arms. Among the prisoners are 8 commissioned officers. The boat was burned to prevent recapture by the gun-boat Ottawa, close by.
Yesterday the enemy made demonstrations along the Ashepoo and South Edisto Rivers, and came up the Ashepoo with a few gun-boats and transports carrying cavalry, but was met at Chapman's Fort by a part of General Robertson's command, under Captain Earle, who forced them to retire with the loss of one transport, riddled by artillery and burned.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.