of infantry, three pieces of artillery and 20 cavalry, threatens the enemy at the Little Saint Mary's. The Seventy-fifth Ohio burns the bridges over New River, and then marches south. The Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, moving from Magnolia, make a junction with the Seventy-fifth at Starke to-night. When Colonel Noble has completed his part of the operations he will retire upon Magnolia. The cavalry will sweep the country as far as that lying immediately south of Orange Lake, and will come in to Palatka. I expect both commands to be in at the river on Friday. I will send a force to Palatka, covered by a gun-boat, the day before the troops are expected there. Baldwin I do not think it is best to attempt to hold. If the enemy occupy it we can turn them from Magnolia. It is a very unhealthy position, and as the road from there to the Little Saint Mary's is thoroughly destroyed, I see no importance in it as a military position.
We were very unfortunate here with our locomotives. The old one ran off the track the day I arrived here, and was so much injured that it has not yet been repaired. The one captured by General Birney was deficient in certain parts. We got from Fernandina pieces to replace them, but it has never worked well. As there was no means of bringing in the iron I directed it to be destroyed by burning and twisting. As soon as the locomotive was repaired I brought down all it could haul each day. I will send some up by the Cosmopolitan to-day, and the remainder as soon as possible. The iron is very heavy; I fear too heavy for your purpose. I think four bars make a ton. I suppose I can send up a couple of hundred bars; perhaps more.
The enemy in my front have not been re-enforced except by new levies made up of old men and boys. They undoubtedly expect us to advance, and are prepared to fall back to the Suwannee. The people believe we have 8,000 men at Baldwin, but their officers, of course, know letter. General Jackson, in command, has moved all his heavy artillery to the Suwannee except one piece at Lake City. I hope to remount my cavalry by this raid. The horses are very much broken down. Although the weather is so warm that campaigning comes very hard on the infantry it is necessary to move at once, as the people, alarmed, are sending their negroes and horses out of the country. There has been a kind of depot kept at Fernandina; it would be best to break it up, and make the depot either here or at Saint Augustine. This is the proper place, in my opinion.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. P. HATCH,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., August 15, 1864.
Brigadier General JOHN P. HATCH,
Commanding District of Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant. I am directed by the major-general commanding to state that he understood that the extent of your expedition would depend entirely on the number of troops you had, and what you thought you could do with them, and thought that it was generally understood that no more troops could be sent to Florida.