possession of Saint Mark's and this place. All have been frustrated with but little loss to us and in a manner creditable, I think, to those of our troops engaged. The first was made from Cedar Keys, by a party of from 600 to 800 men on the 9th ultimo. It was thought they intended to penetrate by way of Newnansville to the railroad bridge over the Suwannee. I sent a party of the Reserves and Second Cavalry to Newnansville under Brigadier-General Miller, and directed Captain J. J. Dickinson with his command to endeavor to get in rear of the enemy. Finding, I suppose, that they would encounter more opposition than they expected, they did not advance as far as Newnansville, but fell back to a position (Numbers 4.) on the Florida Railroad, near Cedar Keys. Captain Dickinson attacked them early on the morning of the 13th ultimo, and through his numerical strength was scarcely a sixth of that of the enemy, in a sharp fight of two or three hour's duration, he punished them so severely that they retired hastily to Cedar Keys, leaving a portion of their dead on the field, with the loss on our part of five men wounded. Our men inflicted on the enemy a loss of about seventy in killed and wounded and captured, and recaptured a quantity of cattle, wagons, and other property which the enemy had taken on the march. Captain Dickinson and his men started on this service the day after they had returned from the east of the Saint John's River, where, without the loss of a man, they killed 4 of the enemy, including the adjutant, and captured 88 prisoners, including a lieutenant-colonel, and 3 captains, an ambulance, and 10 wagons with their teams, a number of small-arms and horses, and several thousand pounds of cotton. The lieutenant-colonel (Wilcoxson) captured wa mortally wounded, and has since died in hospital at this place.
On the 4th instant a fleet of fourteen vessels, most of them transports, appeared off Saint Mark's Light-House and landed a force estimated at from 1,500 to 2,000 men, Brigadier General John Newton commanding. On the 5th they moved inland, retarded in their march by a port of the Fifth Battalion Florida Cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott commanding. They reached Newport in the afternoon, after capturing a piece of artillery, the horses of which became unmanageable, shelled the village, and burned a house or two on the left bank. We burned the bridge at that point. I went to Newport early in the night of the 5th, where I found Brigadier-General Miller, who had promptly gone there with a company of cadets and small body of militia. On the first information that the enemy had landed, the militia were called out and all the valuable troops within the district within reach were ordered to Tallahassee. During the night of the 5th the enemy left a detachment opposite Newport and moved the principal force up to cross the Saint Mark's at the Natural Bridge. Brigadier-General Miller, anticipating the movement, sent Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, with a small body of cavalry, to beet them there. I ordered the Reserves, militia, and two sections of artillery, immediately on their arrival by railroad, and the small force at Newport under General Miller, to the same point, and went there myself. The Reserves, a few cavalrymen, and a section of artillery arrived at the Natural Bridge a little before 4 o'clock in the morning just in time to meet and repel two attacks. The enemy then formed under cover of thick hammock and kept up an obstinate fight at intervals for ten or twelve hours. Early in the afternoon a part of the Second Florida Cavalry under Colonel Caraway Smith arrived. Our artillery (four pieces) opened a brisk fire which our men followed up by a charge and the enemy fled to their boats, leaving many of their dead on the field. Our numbers were scarcely a third that of the enemy. Their loss is estimated at not