War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0061 OPERATIONS ABOUT SAINT MARK'S, FLA.

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command reluctantly returned. It had now been demonstrated that the enemy's position was too strong in numbers and strength to be carried, and as our position was in a low salient in the marshes, exposed to his cross-fire, of which he was not slow to avail himself, it was determined to withdraw to the open pien barrens about 300 yards distant, in a position previously selected. This was effected in perfect order, without molestation from the enemy. The enemy now imagining that we were in full retreat, emerged from his concealment in heavy columns of regular troops with artillery without skirmishers, in the hope of crushing an already defeated force. To his surprise he was received with a perfect line of infantry supported by artillery. He made two desperate charges, but was easily repulsed with heavy loss, leaving us masters of the field. We never saw him again except in a small force of cavalry sent to annoy us on our return march. After waiting for an hour, and there being no indications of the presence of the enemy, the troops began their return march to the light-house, which was reached at 4 a. m. on the 7th. The expedition returned because the navy was unable to co-operate in any manner, the ammunition was nearly expended, and our communications, owing to the failure to land a force of seamen at Port Leon, as agreed upon, would have been assuredly cut in less than eight hours. The whole force of the expedition was 893 enlisted men, two navy boat howitzers, and one light 12-pounder captured from the enemy. The artillery was drawn by hand the whole distance. Our wounded were all brought off with the exception of eight fatally wounded, left at a house two miles from the field of battle. Our loss was 148 killed, wounded, and missing, of which 35 are missing. This number will be further reduced, it is reasonable of anticipate. The force of the enemy is stated by a prisoner (an officer of militia) to have been from 1,500 to 2,000, and further re-enforcements were continually arriving. The enemy was liberally supplied with field artillery. The bridges over the Ocklockonee and the Aucilla were not damaged, nor the railroad obstructed, so far as known. Indeed, the party for the Ocklockonee returned without making a serious attempt to reach the bridge. The men sent were picket, and had a good knowledge of the country, and they would, with little risk to themselves, have obstructed for several days these railroads. A refugee is known to have left one of the blockading vessels and to have given the enemy two weeks' notice of the expedition; hence their large concentration of force, a part of which was said to have come from Georgia and from the vicinity of Pensacola. The expedition, though it did not effect all that was anticipated, was far from being unfruitful in its results. Two important bridges, one foundry, and two large mills were burnt; extensive salt-works partially destroyed and laid open for the future to raiding parties. It is proper to state that this expedition has likewise established the blockade vessels off the light-house instead of outside the bar as before. Saint Mark's is now thoroughly blockaded. The enemy has little to boast of in the military operations of this expedition. Though having two weeks' notice, he was obliged to burn the important bridge at Newport, so useful to him, and was finally driven off the field near the Natural Bridge, having allowed an inferior force to march twenty-five miles into his territory and return without losing an article of public property, but, on the contrary, carrying off one captured piece of artillery. It is unnecessary to state that we were in ignorance of the fact that information had been furnished the enemy until the expedition was over. We would otherwise not have landed. Saint Mark's and neighborhood presented the greatest, if not the sole, inducements for a