communication with the Federal forces at the Gulf ports. With such co-operation the whole State would be occupied by the Federal army.
Before reaching Fort Meade Colonel Brevard was ordered to return with his troops, in anticipation of the battle of Olustee. After a march day and night of 575 miles with little rest, they were too late by twelve hours to take part in the battle.
A frightful disaster which signalized the spring of 1863 in west Florida was the explosion of the boilers of the gunboat Chattahoochee. This vessel, carrying six guns, had been built for the protection of the river whose name she bore, and at the time of the accident was lying at anchor 25 miles above Apalachicola. On May 30th Commander John J. Guthrie was informed that nine Federal launches had come up the river and captured the schooner Fashion, loading with cotton, and he immediately ordered steam up to go to the assistance of the schooner. In a few moments the boilers of the gunboat exploded, sinking the vessel, killing 16 persons and severely scalding many others. Among those who lost their lives was Midshipman Mallory, who had distinguished himself by pushing his way first aboard the frigate Congress at Hampton Roads, after she had struck her colors to the Virginia. The guns of the Chattahoochee were taken off and mounted in battery on the shore, and reinforcements being sent down by General Cobb, then in command in that district, the enemy was prevented from taking advantage of the disaster. In a short time the gun boat was raised and repaired so that she was of service thereafter in defending the river,