My staff and the Ohio mounted infantry were of very great use in accomplishing the purposes of the expedition. Without their aid we should have been able to have done nothing beyond the immediate route of march.
On the second day's march Lieutenant Rice, acting commissary of subsistence, with some 10 cavalry and several scouts (mounted Floridians), went to visit some rebels and to bring in the family of the well-known scout, Livingston. This they successfully accomplished, and returned at nightfall with the scouts' family and a splendid 6-mule team and several contrabands. Had not Colonel harris preceded us on the same route over which we passed on the third day, we should have been enabled to secure a much larger amount of property and number of contrabands.
I take great pleasure in bringing to your noticed the very efficient aid I have received from Captain T. D. Hodges, acting assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant Marshall N. Rice, Thirty-fifth U. S. Colored Troops, acting commissary of subsistence, and Lieutenant Johnson, Third U. S. Colored Troops, acting assistant quartermaster, each of whom I have found very energetic and familiar with the duties they discharged on my staff. From the officers of the command generally I have had every aid and assistance possible. They were at all times ready and present with their commands for orders, and they were by them executed promptly.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. NOBLE,
Colonel, Commanding U. S. Forces, Magnolia, Fla.
Brigadier General JOHN P. HATCH,
Commanding District of Florida.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
Jacksonville, September 6, 1864.
I am sorry to have to state that Colonel Noble did not take the route he was instructed to take. His movement was intended to be a demonstration against Lake City, to be made on the west side of the railroad. He appears to have kept almost entirely on the east side of the road.
JNO. P. HATCH,
SEPTEMBER 13, 1864.
Colonel Noble's report is only valuable as a record of raiding and not of fighting. His mention of his personal staff for the above service is simply ridiculous. I desire the above remark to be sent to Colonel Noble, through General Hatch.
J. G. FOSTER,
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
East of Saint John's and Magnolia, Fla., September 23, 1864.
Captain W. L. M. BURGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of the South:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the following copy of an indorsement made by the major-general com