Today in History:

66 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements

Page 66 S. C., S. GA., MID. & E. FLA., & WEST. N. C. Chapter LXV.

for a certain distance from Tallahassee east about twenty miles. The country on the line of the road is thickly wooded and has few inhabitants. A road of such length (154 miles), in an obscure and inhospitable district, may be easily rendered impassable. Fort Clinch is not thought to be defensible in its present condition, and the sand batteries on the shore can probably be easily turned.

The water is so smooth in ordinary times on the outer shore of Amelia Island that a landing can be effected there with facility, and will, in our opinion, be advisable at more than one point. This landing cannot be covered by large ships, especially such as the screw frigates. Vessels of small draft must be selected for this duty, and when the points of landing are fixed upon, the line of approach for the covering vessels must be distinctly traced out.

The Florida Railroad, from the west shore of Amelia Island across the river, is built on piles for the distance of about one miles, similar to the long bridge across the Bush and Gunpowder. When the attack is made one or more small gun-boats might take the back entrance, through Nassau Inlet and Sound, and prevent the destruction of this bridge by the rebels. Nassau entrance is no doubt unguarded. Nassau Bar has only five feet of water on it, and even this depth is not to be relied upon. Launches may therefore by employed. A rapid survey, immediately preceding the attack, will correct any misapprehension on this point. The preservation of this trestle-bridge is worth an effort. The remainder of the road can be replaced with less cost, because it runs through a naturally level country. It is estimated that 3,000 men would take and hold the place, with the assistance of such force as could be furnished by the fleet. After the place was taken a portion of the defensive force would be found on board the vessels in port. Thus the number of troops to be added to the marines and seamen employed in the attack and subsequent defense would not probably at any time exceed the number of 3,000.

The details of the expedition to Fernandina, if decided upon, will fall under the several bureaus of the War and Navy Departments and the chiefs of the expedition, to whom the conference will be always raedy to offer such information and make such suggestions as may result from their careful study of the ground. The sailing directions for the port of Fernandina, the instructions for the disposition of the buoys and beacons, the outer and inner anchorages, the pilotage and the meterology of this section of the coast will hereafter be furnished by the conference from the archives of the Coast Survey. It is known that Fernandina is healthy, and that it can supply wood and water in abundance. Its market supplies remain to be developed. Finally, we will repeat the remark made in the begining of this report, that we think the expedition to Fernandina should be undertaken simultaneously with a similar expedition having a purely military character. We are preparing a brief report on the latter, which we shall have the honor to submit in a few days.

We have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, U. S. Navy President.


Major, U. S. Engineers, Member.


Superintendent U. S. Coast Surbey, Member.


Commander, U. S. Navy, Member and Secretary.


Page 66 S. C., S. GA., MID. & E. FLA., & WEST. N. C. Chapter LXV.