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started for Hilton Head on the fifteenth, leaving as, if possible, to get the bulk of it at sea before behind me Captain Reese of the Engineers, to give daybreak. Steamers that have tows should be the necessary instructions for the defences refer- started as soon as they are ready. The whole red to. I considered it well understood at that are to rendezvous at the mouth of St. John's time between General Seymour and myself that River by daybreak day after to-inorrow morning, no advance should be made without further in the seventh instant. I expect to be there in structions from me, nor until the defences were person at that time, but should I fail from any well advanced.
cause, you are expected to pass the bar on the On the eighteenth I was greatly surprised at Sunday morning's high-tide, ascend the river to receiving a letter from General Seymour, dated Jacksonville, effect a landing with your comthe seventeenth, stating that he intended to ad- mand, and push forward a mounted force as far vance without supplies, in order to destroy the as Baldwin at the junction of the two railroads. railroad near the Savannah River, one hundred The armed transport Harriet A. Weed has been miles from Jacksonville.
ordered forward to buoy out the St. John's chanI at once despatched General Turner to Jack-nel, and then await orders. It is not expected sonville to stop the movement. He was the bear that the enemy has any strong force to oppose er of a letter to General Seymour. Upon arriving your landing. I have sent instructions to Colat Jacksonville, after considerable delay, due to onel Goss, commanding at Fernandina, to have the inclemency of the weather, he learned that the railroad tracks on both roads torn up in sevGeneral Seymour was engaged with the enemy eral places after the train comes into Jacksonin front, near Olustee, forty-eight miles from ville to-morrow, and to keep the track obstructed Jacksonville by railroad.
throughout Saturday night. When I left Jacksonville on the fifteenth ult., The object of a prompt advance on Baldwin, I was entirely satisfied with the success of our and, if possible, beyond, is to get possession of a operations up to that time. I briefly communi- train if one has been brought up by the enemy. cated to you my plans with regard to Florida in The enemy are known to have a small force of my letter of February fifteenth, from which I infantry and a battery between Jacksonville and extract as follows:
Very respectfully, “General Seymour's advance has been within
Q. A. GILLIORE, four miles of Lake City, but as his instructions
Major-General Commanding. were not to risk a repulse or make an attack
P.S.-I have assigned to you a number of rey. when there was a prospect of incurring much ular officers with organized parties. loss, he has taken up a position at Baldwin, the
Q. A. GILLMORE, junction of the railroad from Jacksonville with
Major-General Commanding. the one from Fernandina. He holds also the
[B.] crossing of the St. Mary's South-Fork, about twelve miles west of Baldwin.
[Telegraphic Despatch.) “I intend to construct small works capable of
JACKSONVILLE, Feb. 11, 1861 resisting a coup-de-main at Jacksonville, Baldwin, General Seymour, beyond Baldwin: Pilatka, and perhaps one or two other important chusetts have been ordered to Baldwin.
Eight companies of the Fifty-fourth Massapoints, so strong that two hundred or three hun
Don't dred men will be sufficient at each point.
risk a repulse in advancing on Lake City, but “Twenty-five hundred men in addition to the hold Sanderson unless there are reasons for fall
Please inform me two regiments that have been perinanently sta- ing back which I don't know. tioned in this State (one at St. Augustine and how your coinmand is distributed between here one at Fernandina) ought to be ample in Florida." and the South-Fork of the St. Mary's. Please
The artillery captured here will suffice for such report by telegraph from Baldwin frequently. defensive works as may be deemed necessary.
GENERAL GILLMORE. I desire to see the lumber and turpentine trade on the St. John's River revived by loyal men,
[C.] and for that purpose, and to give assurance that
JACKSONVILLE, 10 p.m., Feb. 11, 1864. our occupation of this river is intended to be per- General Seymour : manent, I have written to the Secretary of the
[By Courier from Baldwin.] Treasury, recommending that the port of Jacksonville be declared open.
If your advance meets serious opposition, con. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
centrate at Sanderson and the South-Fork of the Q. A. GILLMORE,
St. Mary's, and if necessary, bring back Henry Major-General Commanding to the latter place. GENERAL GILLMORE.
[Telegrapbic Despatch.] [4.]
Baldwin, Feb. 11, 1364, 2.80 P. M.
Major-General Gillmore, St. Mary's:
Your telegram just received. Command left for Brigadier-General T. Seymour :
Sanderson. No news yet from Henry. Tilgh. GENERAL: You will start your command so man is at Baldwin. Two of his companies here.
Tribley is at pickets. No negroes come in, nor Barber's, and probably by the time you receive any one else. I will keep you advised promptly. this, I shall be in motion in advance of that
Brigadier-General. That a force may not be brought from Georgia [E.]
(Savannah) to interfere with my movements, it SANDERSON, 7 A.M., Feb. 12, 1864. is desirable that a display be made in the SavanGeneral Gillmore :
nah River; and I therefore urge that upon the re. I last night ordered Colonel IIenry to fall back ception of this, such naval force, transports, sail. to this point. I am destroying all public prop-ing vessels, etc., as can be so devoted, may renerty here, and shall go, back to South-Fork St. dezvous near Pulaski, and that the iron-clads in Mary's as soon as Henry returns. I have not Warsaw push up with as much activity as they heard from him since last night, when he was can exert. seven miles this side Lake City. I hope he will I look upon this as of great importance, and be in this morning. I am sending a regiment shall rely upon it as a demonstration in my favor. out to meet him. Sanderson cannot be fortified There is reason to believe that General Harto advantage. I would advise sending Tribley's dee is in Lake City, now possibly in command, regiment to Pilatka, and to make it a point to be and with some force at his disposal. held permanently.
T. SEYMOUR. But nothing is visible this side of Sanderson. [F.]
Saddles, etc., for mounting the Seventh New
Hampshire as rapidly as possible, are greatly [Telegraphic Despatch.)
needed, and I shall send a portion of that regiJACKSONVILLE, February 12. ment to this point as soon as it can be spared General Seymour :
subsequent to my advance. I want your command at and beyond Baldwin, I have sent for the Twenty-fourth Massachuconcentrated at Baldwin without delay. I have setts entire, to come to this point. The Tenth information of a mounted force that may trouble Connecticut (eight companies) is to remain at your right lank by fording the St. Mary's River. St. Augustine, two companies to go to Picolalia. When we landed here, they were eighty miles I shall not occupy Pilatka or Magnolia at this from Baldwin, on the Albany and Gulf Railroad. moment; when I do, portions of the TwentyYou should have scouts well out on your front fourth Massachusetts will be sent from Jacksonand right flank. I have sent word to Colonel ville. The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts will remain Tilghman to be on the alert. I think Tribley here for the present, or until the Twenty-fourth had better move forward and join you, but you relieves it. must judge. The locomotive has not yet ar- The Second South-Carolina and Third Southrived.
GENERAL GILLMORE. Carolina are at Camp Shaw, (late Finnigan,) for
instruction and organization. [G.]
The First North-Carolina will be left at BaldSANDERSON, February 13, 1864. win, detaching three companies to Barber's. GENERAL: To leave the South-Fork of the St. Colonel Barton will have the Forty-seventh, Mary's will make it impossible for us to advance Forty-eighth, and One Hundred and Fifteenth; again. I have no apprehension of the force you Colonel Hanlay will have the Seventh Connectimention. If you can push a part of Goss's force cut, Seventh New Hampshire, and Eighth United to Dug's Ferry, supported by gunboats, there States colored; Colonel Montgomery, the Third need be no danger from any thing but annoyance. United States and Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Henry will go where I have already mentioned. colored; Colonel Henry, the cavalry and Elder's I would like to see you at Baldwin if you can battery, and Captain Hamilton the artillery. As come up. All goes well here, and there are sev- soon as possible, Metcall's section will be sent al operations of importance that can be effected, back. At present, I should like to use it. upon which I should like to consult you.
Colonel Goss is ordered to keep six companies T. SEYMOUR. in motion from Fernandina constantly, and at [II.]
least five days out of seven (every seven) toward
and beyond Camp Cooper.
Nothing appears to have been done upon the GENERAL: The excessive and unexpected de- locomotive while at Fernandina. So it is reported lays experienced with regard to the locomotive, to me. which will not be ready for two days yet, if at The prompt use of a locomotive and a printingall, has compelled me to remain where my com. press with this movement were of the inost vital mand could be fed. Not enough supplies could importance, and will continue so to be. I trust be accumulated to permit me to execute my in- both will be economized. tention of moving to the Suwanee River.
And I am, very respectfully, your obedient But I now propose to go without supplies, even servant,
T. SEYMOUR, if compelled to retrace my steps to procure them,
Brigadier-General Commanding. and with the object of so destroying the railroad Brigadier-General S. W. Turner, Chief-of-Staff: near the Suwance, that there will be po danger Send me a General for the command of the ad. of carrying away any portion of the track. vanced troops, or I shall be in a state of constant All troops are therefore being moved up to uncertainty.
Hilton HEAD, SOUTH-CAROLINA,
} ready to return to the Union. They are heartily February 18, 1561.
tired of the war." Brigalier-General T. Seymour, Commanding As may be supposed, I am very much confuse: District of Florida :
by these conflicting views, and am thrown into I am just in receipt of your two letters of the doubt as to whether my intentions with regard sixteenth and one of the seventeenth, and am to Florida are fully understood by you. I will, very much surprised at the tone of the latter, therefore, reännounce them briefly. and the character of your plans as therein stated. 1st. I desire to bring Florida into the Union You
say that by the time your letter of the seven- under the President's proclamation of December teenth should reach these headquarters, your cighth, 1863, as accessory to the above. forces would be in motion beyond Barber's, 2d. To revive the trade on the St. John's moving toward the Suwanee River, and that you River. shall rely upon my making a display in the Sa- 3d. To recruit my colored regiments, and orvannah River “with naval force, transports and ganize a regiment of Florida white troops; and sailing vessels," and with iron-clads up from 4th. To cut off in part the enemy's supplies Warsaw, etc., as a demonstration in your favor, drawn from Florida. which you look upon as of "great importance. After you had withdrawn your advance, it was All this is upon the presumption that the demon- arranged between us, at a present interview, that stration can and will be made, although contin- the places to be permanently held for the present gent not only upon my power and disposition to would be the south prong of the St. Mary's, Balddo so, but upon the consent of Admiral Dahlgren, win, Jacksonville, Magnolia, and Pilatka, and with whom I cannot communicate in less than that Henry's mounted forces should be kept ten days. You must have forgotten my last in- moving as circumstances might justify or require. structions, which were for the present to hold This is my plan of present operations. A raid Baldwin and the St. Mary's south prong as your to tear up the railroad west of Lake City will be outposts to the westward of Jacksonville, and to of service, but I have no intention to occupy now occupy Pilatka and Magnolia on the St. John's.
that part of the State. Your prospect distinctly and avowedly ignores Very respectfully, etc., these operations, and substitutes a plan which
Q. A. GILLMORE, not only involves your command in a distant
Major-General Commanding. movement without provisions, far beyond a point HEADQUARTERS OF Tue Arur, WASHINGTON, from which you once withdrew on account of
March 16, 1861.
ROBERT N. SCOTT, precisely the same necessity, but presupposes a simultaneous demonstration of “great import
Captain Fourth U. S. Infantry, a. D.O. ance" to you elsewhere, over which you have no control, and which requires the cooperation of
EXECUTIVE MASSION, WASHINGTON, the navy. It is impossible for me to determine
January 13, 1961. what your views are with respect to Florida mat- Major-General Gillmore: ters, and this is the reason why I have endeavor- I understand an effort is being made by some ed to make mine known to you so fully. From worthy gentlemen to reconstruct a legal State your letter of the eleventh instant, from Baldwin, government in Florida. Florida is in your de(a very singular letter by the way, and which partment, and it is not unlikely that you may be you did not modify or refer to at all when you there in person. I have given Mr. Hay a comafterward saw me,) I extract as follows:
mission of Major, and sent him to you with some “I am convinced that a movement upon Lake blank books and other blanks, to aid in the reCity is not in the present condition of transport- construction. He will explain as to the manner ation advisable, and indeed, that what has been of using the blanks, and also my general views said of the desire of Florida to come back now is on the subject. It is desirable for all to coopera delusion. This movement is in opposition to ate; but if irreconcilable differences of opinion sound strategy,” etc.
shall arise, you are master. I wish the thing And again : “The Union cause would have done in the most speedy way possible, so that been far more benefited by Jeff Davis having when done it may be within the range of the late removed this railroad to Virginia, than by any proclamation on the subject. The detail labor trivial or non-strategic success you may meet. will, of course, have to be done by others, but I By all means, therefore, fall back to Jackson- shall be greatly obliged if you will give it such ville."
general supervision as you can find consistent So much from your letters of the eleventh;
your more strictly military duties. and yet, five days later, you propose to push forward without instructions and without provisions, with a view to destroying the railroad
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, which you say it would have been better for Allton Head, South-CAROLINA, January 31, 1964 Jeff Davis to have got, and furthermore, you say In accordance with the provisions of the Presiin your letter of the sixteenth: “There is but dential proclamation of pardon and amnesty little doubt in my mind, (but) that the people
of given at Washington, on the eighth day of De this State, kindly treated by us, will soon be cember, in the year of our Lord one thousand
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S LETTER.
GENERAL GILLMORE'S ORDER.
A NATIONAL ACCOUNT,
eight hundred and sixty-three, and in pursuance ed a victory, it would have been as every body of instructions received from the President of the predicted, and his name would have been menUnited States, Major John Hay, Assistant Adju- tioned with praise. Now he has suffered a retant-General, will proceed to Fernandina, Florida, pulse, he will
, of course, be looked upon by some and other convenient points in that State, for the as having too much rashness to prosecute a campurpose of extending to the citizens of the State paign, and for that reason must bear whole loads of Flori la an opportunity to avail themselves of of censure. Although the result of the fight was the benefit of that proclamation, by offering for not favorable for us, it does not alter the fact their signature the oath of allegiance therein pre- that we have a man in the department of the scribed, and by issuing to all those subscribing South who has pluck enough to meet the enemy, to said oath, certificates entitling them to the regardless of his strength, more than half-way; benefits of the proclamation. Fugitive citizens give him battle, and take the legitimate chances of the State of Florida within the limits of this of success. department, will have an opportunity to sub- The place at which the fight occurred, is on the scribe to the same oath and secure certificates in line of the Florida Central Railroad, forty-five the office of the post commander at Hilton Head, miles from Jacksonville, and within fisteen miles South-Carolina.
of Lake City. The nearest station to the ground By command of Major-General Q. A. GILLMORE. is called Olustee, which is about three miles furE. W. SMITH,
ther up toward Lake City. The nearest station Assistant Adjutant-General.
in the opposite direction is Sanderson, six miles distant from the battle-field. On the march from
Barber's, our troops passed through Sanderson at JACKSONVILLE, FLA., Monday, Feb. 22, 1864. about noon. At this place they did not halt, but The entire column, numbering a little less than pushed forward toward Olustee, the point at five thousand men, left Barber's at seven o'clock which General Seymour beliered he should meet Saturday morning, and proceeded on the main the enemy. But instead of coming in contact road toward Lake City. I am confident the force with the enemy at Olustee, the meeting took did not exceed the number stated, for I am as- place three miles this side, so our troops were sured by an aid-de-camp to General Seymour, not so well prepared for battle as they would have that rations were drawn that morning for not been if Olustee had been the battle-field. Our quite five thousand. The forward movement column moved forward in regular order, the cavwas made suddenly. On Friday it was not sup- alry in the advance, and the artillery distributed posed by the cominanding officers--not includ- along the line of infantry. It may be offered as ing General Seymour--that an advance would be an objection that the column was without flank made for some days thence. With that convic-ers. The only source through which any intiin tion, the officers and men had built themselves ation of the enemy's presence could be received, log huts, and provided such conveniences avail. was the advance cavalry-guard. It would cerable in that section as would insure a fair share tainly be called a military failing to move a colof comfort. Some time during the night General umn of troops without the proper flankers Seymour received information of the enemy's through any portion of the enemy's country, even whereabouts and plans, which led him to believe if positive information had been obtained that that by pushing rapidly forward his column, he the enemy himself was a long distance off. The would be able to defeat the enemy's designs, and road from Barber's to Lake City lies parallel with secure important military advantages. What- the railroad, crossing it at intervals on an average ever that information may have been, the events of five miles. It was at one of these crossingof Saturday would indicate that it was by no points that the fight was commenced. The head means reliable, or that General Seymour acted of the column reached this point at two P. M. The upon it with too much haste. We all know that men had not rested from the time they left Bar. General Seymour is not a man to hesitate in his ber's, at seven A.M. The usual halt of a few minactions when an opportunity offers for a possible utes every hour was, of course, observed, but we
He is one of the class that believes he cannot say the troops fairly rested. Neither had has a chance of winning and a chance of losing, they tasted of a mouthful of food. Thus, after and that success would never be obtained if he a tedious march of sixteen miles, over a road of rested quietly on the bend of the little South-, loose sand, or boggy turf, or covered knce-deep Fork. He means it shall never be said of the with muddy water, the troops, weary, exhausted, army that he commands, that it is all quiet on faint, hungry, and ill conditioned, were suddenly the line of some river. General Seymour de- attacked by a large force of the enemy, who had serves credit for his ambition and dash. If he concealed himself behind a thick wood, waiting had allowed himself to rest his command at Bar- with complacent satisfaction the entry of our ber's for a month or six weeks, without making men into his ambush, very much after the mina single effort to engage the enemy and gain ad- ner that the spider would have the tly walk into vantage, he would have been the butt for cen- his parlor. Before reaching the battle-ground, sure, not only from the army here, but the peo- Colonel Henry, with his cavalry of the Indople at home. We take the ground that General pendent Massachusetts battalion, and the Fortieth Seymour did what nearly every one, before the Massachusetts mounted infantry, came upon a engageinent, said he should do. If he had achiev- party of five mounted rebels who were stationed
behind an old deserted mill, a little to the left of a bend, and behind this bend the rebels had taken the wood. A few shots were exchanged and then their position. In the woods at the rear were the rebels fied in the direction of their main force. their supporters and reserves. We had not a inoCaptain Langdon's battery of regular artillery, ment to lose. Our men were within one hundred was with Henry's cavalry. At the mill, Colonel yards of the enemy, and the only thing that could Henry halted until Hawley's brigade of infantry be done was to fight. To retreat at that time and Hamilton's regular battery had come up. I was impossible, for the road was filled with troops will now attempt to give some idea of the order coming up, and the woods on either side would in which our troops came into line, and the char- not admit of passage on the flank. By dint of acter and progress of the battle.
effort, Captain Langdon succeeded in getting his With the view of meeting the enemy's pickets, four guns in battery on the extreme left, but not three miles in advance of the mill, two compa- until he had lost five or six men and about the nies of the Seventh Connecticut regiment were de- same number of horses. It must be borne in ployed on the left of the railroad, while three mind, our batteries were within one hundred companies were left at the mill, for the purpose yards of the enemy's front. This short distance of supporting the artillery. A small force of cav- rendered it a very easy task for the rebels to pick alry was sent to skirmish on the right of the rail- off a man or horse at every discharge of their road. Our skirmishers had not advanced a hun- rifles. At the commencement of the fight, the dred yards when they discovered those of the Eighth United States colored troops were supenemy directly in their front. The result was a porting Hamilton's battery; but when their asbrisk fire on both sides, which ended by the ene-sistance was really indispensable, by some strange my's falling back on a second line of skirmishers. order they filed to the right in rear of the battery, Our men continued to drive the rebels back, some for the purpose of joining their right on the left times on the right and sometimes on the left of of the Seventh Connecticut. At that particular the railroad, but principally on the left. While time the movement was decidedly an error, for, this was going on, two companies of the Fortieth by carrying it out, it left Hamilton's battery unMassachusetts were ordered to the left, with a supported. In an attempt to enfilarle the enemy view of outfianking the enemy's skirmishers. In on his right, Hamilton moved forward four pieces; endeavoring to carry out that order, the Fortieth but before he got into position, the rebels on that Massachusetts came upon a heavy line of skir- portion of their line had concentrated all their mishers, and were compelled to withdraw to their lire upon him and the Eighth United States, who original position.
had again come up to his support. In tirenty Captain Elder, of the First artillery, in order minutes' time, IIamilton lost forty-four men, killto ascertain the enemy's force and position, od and wounded, and forty horses. The Eighth brought one of his pieces into battery on the also suffered severely. At no one juncture of right and fired one shot, but it did not draw a re- the engagement has the fire of the enemy bean ply. The Seventh New-Hampshire regiment, in more severe than at the time Hamilton attempt. connection with the Seventh Connecticut, was ed his enfilade movement. Hamilton knew very then sent forward to the right, and, if possible, to well his pieces were in great danger of being capbreak through the enemy's line. This movement tured, and he also had sense enough to know that brought on hot firing, and it was evident that an by taking them to the rear, it would instantly engagement was near at hand At this time our cause a panic among the infantry, and so ineviforce on the field consisted of the Seventh New- tably lose the day for us. The behavior of CapHampshire, the Seventh Connecticut, the Inde- tain Hamilton at this critical period of the battle pendent battalion of Massachusetts cavalry, the is worthy of special note, and I sincerely believe Fortieth Massachusetts mounted infantry, the that it was owing mainly to his persistent efforts Eighth United States colored, Elder's battery of that the portion of our line at his battery was not four, and Hamilton's of six pieces. The remain- broken and scattered in confusion. Ile had not der of the column was halted on the road. While only his pieces to command, but bis infantry supour men were at work on the right, Colonel Hen- ports to keep from leaving the field.
It was in ry in person went over to the left to reconnoitre, the midst of this destructive fire of the enemy, and, much to his astonishment, discovered that and while Captain Hamilton was urging the inthe enemy's right lapped on our left. This was fantry to maintain their line, and at the same reported to General Seymour, who immediately time giving orders to his battery, he was struck gave orders for the advance troops and batteries in the arm by a musket-ball, and shortly after to come into position. The enemy watched the was again hit in the thigh. To add to the mismovement with an eager eye, and the inoment fortune, all of his officers --four in number—rere Hamilton commenced unlimbering his pieces, his wounded. Colonel Charles W. Fribley, of the battery was subjected to a galling fire of mus- Eighth United States, was also mortally woundketry. A number of men and several horses ed on this portion of the field. He did not cease were shot before he could get ready to fire one for a moment to encourage and rally his men, round. The fact that the enemy had a force far and by his gallant behavior proved himself to superior in point of numbers to our own, was he an officer of no ordinary merit. Captain llanow beyond all dispute. The firing became hea- milton kept his pieces at work until it was erivier and more destructive as each moment ad. dent it would be sure loss to fire another round, vanced. The railroad as it nears Olustee, takes i and then gave orders to withdraw them. Horses