manding Department of the South on my report of the expedition from Baldwin to Magnolia (August 15 to 19), via Cedar Keys railroad, &x., viz:
Colonel Noble's report in only valuable as a record of raiding, not of fighting. The mention of his personal staff for the above service is simply ridiculous. I desire the above remarks to be sent to Colonel Noble, through General Hatch.
In reference to the above, I beg to say through you that the opinion of the general commanding Department of the South I receive with great respect. I very much regret that my praise of the officers alluded to should be regarded by him as "simply ridiculous."
By gathering and destroying rebel property within rules, rescuing Union men, and liberating slaves to a distance in many instances of 15 miles from the column, they visited upon the enemy all the injury which the distinct line of march ordered by Brigadier-General Hatch gave me scope to inflict. That order of march I have clearly named in my report. I might have marched along this route without raiding, but I thought this punishment of the enemy a duty, the faithful execution of which by the officers named warranted my commendation. Their work, at any rate, was most valuable and severe. I deem myself very unfortunate that by praising them therefor I should have incurred so pointed reproach from the general commanding the department.
Non one can regret so keenly as the officers and soldiers under me that because the enemy came not nigh our defined route we had no fighting to record. The general commanding could do neither myself nor the column which I had the honor to command a greater favor than to again put us in the field, with orders to seek the enemy and fight him where he might be found. I trust that in such a case neither the results from action nor the commendation of my officers (which, in the minor duties of the raid and the march, I deemed to foreshadow gallant conduct on the battle-field) would be other than to merit the approbation of the distinguished general commanding the Department of the South.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. NOBLE,
Colonel Seventeenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Commanding late Expedition from Baldwin.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Jacksonville, September 27, 1864.
JNO. P. HATCH,
Numbers 3. Report of Colonel Andrew L. Harris, Seventy-fifth Ohio Infantry.
HDQRS. SEVENTY-FIFTH OHIO VOL. INFANTRY,
Magnolia, Fla., August 23, 1864.
MAJOR: In obedience to instructions from headquarters District of Florida, dated August 13, 1864, I left Baldwin at daylight on the morning of the 15th instant, with 15 commissioned officers and 158