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were attached to only four pieces; the horses to quence compelled to leave the field. His horse the other two had been shot, consequently two was shot froin under hiin. Colonel Moore, of guns fell into possession of the enemy. On the the Forty-seventh New-York, was also wounded, right of Hamilton, the Seventh Connecticut and a ball striking his hand and passing out at the the Seventh New-Hampshire were doing fearful elbow. Colonel Barton had his coat pierced in execution. The Seventh Connecticut especially several places and his horse shot. Colonel Henwere standing their ground with marked valor. ry had three horses shot, but himself escaped in Every volley from their guns told splendidly on a most miraculous manner. Provost-Marshal the rebel line. But between the two forces a General Hall had a horse shot from under him, wide difference existed ; the rebels outnumbered and as for himself, no one would believe it would us five to one. This crushing superiority gave be possible for him to again pass through what the two regiments little chance for victory. After he did on that day, and come out unscathed. losing one fourth of their number, they were com- Lieutenant Jackson, of General Seymour's staff, pelled to retire to the rear. At the same moment had two horses shot. If space would permit, I Colonel Barton's brigade, the Forty-seventh, For- might fill a column of just such narrow escapes. ty-eighth, and One Hundred and Fifteenth New- General Seymour was not away from the York regiments, took the field, coming up in line ground for an instant. At first on the right and en echelon. On the right was Elder's battery, and then on the left, he seemed to be everywhere at on the left Langdon's and one section of the Third one and the same moment.
His aim was apparRhode Island. The enemy had four pieces of ar- ently to be in the thickest of the fight, and at tillery. On a railroad car he had mounted a the front of his troops. heavy gun, supposed to be a thirty-two pounder, At five P.m. the fire slackened on both sides ; and with this he kept up a regular fire, but not on ours, in consequence of the ammunition givdestructive, as the shells passed over the heads ing out, and on the enemy's, because we did not of our men. There can be no doubt concerning press him. A demonstration by the rebels to the fighting qualities of Barton's brigade. On capture Langdon's battery, at about the middle this occasion they fought like tigers; but the same stage of the fight, was prevented by Langdon, difficulty which opposed Hawley's brigade, pre- who poured into their line a quick and deally sented itself to them, namely, the mass of the fire. But in coming from the field he was enemy.
obliged to leave to the enemy three of his pieces, The last regiments to enter the field, were the not because the enemy charged upon thein, but First North-Carolina, and Fifty-fourth Massachu- for the reason that he did not have horses to setts, (colored,) of Montgomery's brigade. They draw them off. At half-past five o'clock the took a bold position at the front, and maintained heavy firing had ceased. The cessation was their ground with commendable pertinacity. For simultaneous on both sides. We held our three and a half successive hours did our brave ground till seven o'clock, and then the order regiments combat the enemy before them. The came from General Seymour to gradually retire. instances of personal daring that occurred in the The retreat was conducted leisurely and ormean time, are numerous. Never before did the derly. There was no confusion, no panic, nothtroops in this department have such an opportun- ing that indicated hurry. Colonel Henry, with ity for displaying their valor, and on no previous his cavalry, brought up the rear. At three occasion have they exhibited such a high degree o'clock Sunday morning, our troops were at Barof bravery. If the enemy had presented an equal ber's. The enemy followed closely, but did not force with our own, or even if it had been only press. A few of their cavalry only kept well up double, no doubt could have been felt as to the to the rear of IIenry's column. At Barber's, final result of the contest. As it was, the enemy our men rested till nine A.M., and then again resisted us with a force in point of numbers three took up the line of retreat, reaching Baldwin at times that of our own, which, taken together with about three P. v. They halted here a short time, the circumstances of the long and tedious march, and then went on toward Jacksonville, arriving and the ill condition of the men, it would be at the cainping-ground, six miles out, Monday hardly reasonable to suppose that success would afternoon. On the way down many of the poor be on our side. The effect of our fire, both of fellows could hardly drag one foot after the musketry and artillery, was fearful. At every other. discharge, down wenť a body of rebels. The To estimate our loss is indeed an unpleasant gallant Elder on the right, and the dashing Lang: task, but, nevertheless, one which must be perdon on the left, made an impression on the rebel formed in giving the record of the day's events. lines that will go far to offset the misfortune that In killed, wounded, and missing I give the num. ultimately overtook us. The fight was by no ber one thousand two hundred. All our killed means a trivial encounter ; it was a battle hotly and the severely wounded, that is, those who contested, fought at close range, face to face and were unable to walk from the field' unassisted, foot to foot. The commanding officers of the va- fell into the hands of the enemy. Last night, at rious regiments are entitled to unlimited credit twelve o'clock, about five hundred of the woundfor the heroic manner in which they led their cd had been conveyed to Jacksonville. Their
At the acme of the battle, Colonel Sam- names are embraced in the list of casualties mons, of the One Hundred and Fifteenth New. which I present in another portion of this letter. York, was struck in the foot, and was in conse- At that time about two hundred wounded wero
LIEUTENANT EDDY'S ACCOUNT.
on the way, but did not reach Jacksonville in Jacksonville when the news of the battle was
We also left on the field five guns, and not a
pated in the late battle in Florida. It is dated At a station on the railroad between Barber's on board the hospital steamer Cosmopolitan, in and Baldwin we burnt a building containing two Port Royal harbor, February twenty-second: thousand barrels of turpentine. This we might “On Thursday morning, the eighteenth, we have got away several days previous had trans- left our camps at Jacksonville in light-marching portation been accessible. We also burnt a order, with ten days' rations. We marched all trestle-bridge on the railroad not far from Bar- day, and, as the roads were bad, we made only ber's. At Baldwin we burnt a large supply of sixteen miles, when we halted for the night. commissary stores, knapsacks, and officers' bag- On Friday morning, the nineteenth, we started gage. The wagons used to transport these early, and marching all day, made seventeen things to the army were filled on the retreat miles, stopping over night at a small place called with the wounded.
Barber's. On Saturday morning, the twentieth, It is customary to make the enemy's list of at seven o'clock, we started once more for a place casualties equal to that of our own. In this in- called Lake City, thirty-six miles distant, which, stance I believe I can follow the rule, and be not if we had succeeded in occupying, we should very far from the truth. When we consider that have stopped supplies being sent to the Western the enemy had but four or five and we sixteen armies of the enemy. We marched eighteen pieces of artillery, in position, it is not difficult miles, when we met the enemy, and skirmished to believe we inflicted upon him quite as much with them for the next four miles, when we injury as he upon us. The fact that he did not found that they were in force, and had formed follow rapidly is significant of the immense their line of battle. damage he sustained.
“The columns were at once deployed, and our Our wounded, that is, those of them who were advance was soon sharply engaged. Hamilton's not left on the field, were all taken to Jackson- battery was ordered forward. Four pieces of the ville Sunday and Monday morning. We had battery, including my section, were placed in seven cars running on the railroad. During Sun- position within a hundred and fifty yards of the day morning and afternoon, these cars were rebel lines, under a severe fire of musketry. drawn by horses. At night, a locomotive that We went in with four pieces, fisty horses, eightythe engineers had been trying to get in order for two men, and four officers, namely, Captain llam, some days was at last got in running condition, ilton, Lieutenant Myrick, Lieutenant Do Ige, and at just the time its use was no longer required. myself. In twenty minutes we lost forty-five I do not consider the engineer at fault that the men, forty horses, two guns, and four officers, locomotive was not ready before, for it was an when we managed to get off with what little old concern, made up of half a dozen similar old there was left. It was our misfortune to have refuse picked up at Fernandina when our troops for support a negro regiment, which, by running, arrived there two years ago. It was out of order, caused us to lose our pieces. The fight lasted and the engineers did not have the requisite ma- three hours, when, finding his small army so terial to repair it. Monday morning two hun- much cut up, the General ordered a retreat. dred and sixty-four of the wounded left on the “We returned to Jacksonville, fifty-eight miles steamer Cosmopolitan for Beaufort. Among the distant, and reached there last night at twelve number was Lieutenant-Colonel Reed, of the o'clock. We had five thousand men engaged on First North-Carolina (colored) regiment, who was our side, and lost one thousand two hundred, as in a critical condition. In the absence of Colonel near as I can learn.
The enemy had fisteen Beecher, who had gone North with despatches, thousand men opposed to us, and, of course, Licutenant-Colonel Reed took command of the whipped us badly. Captain Hamilton is woundregiment, and well and nobly did he act his part. ed in his left arm severely, and in the hip. The wounded at Jacksonville receive the best of Lieutenant Myrick is badly wounded in the left attention from the surgeons in charge. Dr. Wil- foot, and will probably lose some of his toes. liam A. Smith, of the Forty-seventh New-York, Lieutenant Dodge is wounded in the left arın, is Post Director, assisted by Dr. Weeks. Some but not badly. I am wounded in the right les of the surgeons remained on the field of battle about three inches above the ankle-joint, but to treat our wounded there. Mr. Day, of the not badly. All of us officers had our hurses Sanitary Commission, and Rev. Mr. Taylor, of shot under us. We are now on board of this the Christian Commission, also remained behind steamer, .bound for Beaufort, where all the on the field. These two gentlemen were at l wounded will be landed except us four officers
We return to Hilton Head to-inorrow. The bat- near Olustee, and every thing put in a state of tery remained at Jacksonville, which I think our readiness to crush at the same time our army forces will find it difficult to hold, as the enemy and all our visionary hopes. Had no other were following us closely. Taking every thing thought been entertained than that we were in together, we have done pretty sharp work. In an enemy's country, and had our commanders ninety hours we have marched one hundred and taken and improved all the advantages which ten miles, fought a battle of three hours' dura- the laws of war had put into their hands, the tion, got badly whipped, and what there is left issues of the Olustee struggle might have been of our little army is back again to where we reversed, our army safely intrenched in Lake started from."
City, and Florida wrested from the hands of the rebels.
The battle of Olustee will take rank among
,} JACKSONVILLE, March 12, 1864. the bloodiest and most fruitless slaughters of the Our landing in Jacksonville was a complete war. When General Seymour left Jacksonville, surprise to the rebels, and they were in no con- the eighteenth February, he expected to fight a dition to receive us. Our march was, conse- battle near Lake City, the twenty-first
, and not quently, one continual triumph, with small loss, before. This impression seems to have seized until our cavalry had advanced within two miles his mind, and clung to it with the force of fatalof Lake City, the first objective point of the cam- ity. When he left Barber's early on the ninepaign. It was at this time our first great mis- teenth, he was told that he would meet a large take occurred. Major-General Gillmore supposed force which would drive himn back again. Nathe rebels had really no force of any importance tive Floridians insisted that, near Olustee, Finin the State, and that they were quite indifferent nigan and Gardner had collected an army much to its fate. Reconciliation and reconstruction larger than our own. All these statements seeinwere the leading ideas that occupied the atten- ed to make no impression whatever upon his tion of our commanders. Their talk and man- mind. And when, about six miles beyond Sanners indicated the presence of civil magistrates derson, the rebel pickets were driven in, no premore than of army officers. “We came here,” paration was made to ascertain the position of said, General Gillmore, “not so much to fight as the enemy, or for a general engagement. Onto conciliate the inhabitants, and accept their ward, with all possible speed, onward was the homages of loyalty.” No raiding was to be spirit which ruled the hour. Much of the artilallowed ir the Stau. The new converts to the lery, and the guns of whole companies were empty, Federal Government were permitted to go and but, as if this were a matter of little or no im. come as suited their convenience. Privileges portance, onward was the order. It is the were guaranteed to them which were denied to strangest thing in the world that this was so. our ever-loyal Northern people. Whilst we The enemy's advanced-guard, retreating precipiwere thus resting upon a bed of roses, enjoying tately on the approach of our force, was but a sweet dreams of peaceful and easy conquests, repetition of what we had witnessed all the way the vipers we had warmed to life in our bosoms from Jacksonville to near Lake City. This had were in alliance with our deadly foes, and aiding been done so frequently that it appeared to be them in their preparations to sting us to death. the established order things with the Florida
But this was not our worst mistake. The soldiers. Our policy had been to dash after policy of conciliation, adopted here, did not them, and capture and scatter as many as possiallow our officers to levy any contributions upon ble. We had met with no repulse and few casuthe country for the support of the army. The alties. Our successes had unfortunately inspired most stringent orders were issued in regard to us with a contempt for our foes. A battle comtouching, under any circumstance, private prap- menced unexpectedly and without preparation, erty. A captain was put in arrest for permitting must be fought to great disadvantage. his
were doing duty on an extreme out- Just as we encounter the rebel pickets, let post, to kill a pig for their supper. Thousands of the reader fancy our army moving along to the these animals are running half-wild in the woods, west in three columns, in close order, on the and no one in particular pretends to own them. south side of a railroad, then turning squarely to I learn that this officer's name has been sent to the right, crossing to the other side, and making a the President with a recommendation that he be north-westerly direction. The dirt road makes this summarily dismissed from the service. As liv- detour to the right to avoid a long cypress swamp ing off from the country was out of the question, through which the said road passes. Leaving and as it was impossible to transport supplies to the army behind for a few moments, let us pass meet the wants of an advancing army over sand on and examine the ground on which the bloody roads, nothing
was left for us to do but call in engagement is about to take place. Soon after qur advance, and stand still till an engine could crossing the railroad, we come to a series of be procured, put in repair, and transportation swamps
, which, with ocean pond, stretches from by rail effected. This delay afforded precious the railroad track in a direction a little west of
and was fatal to us. Finni- north-west, on which the enemy's left wing rests, can calls in his outposts ; generals and armies and by which it is amply protected. From this are sent from
Georgia and South-Carolina ; a point the rebel line extends south to the railroad. strategic importance is selected A right-angled triangle, with the rebel line as the
time to the en
point of great
hase, only covered, the railroad embankment as haved remarkably well. The reports that it got the perpendicular line, and the series of swamps into confusion and ran from the field are certainly as the hypothenuse, will give a clear and remark- false. I cannot account for its good conduct, conably correct outline of the field. The rebel right sidering that the men were raw recruits, only on and left flanks were amply protected by the the ground that they were under the command swamps. There was also a strip of low marsh of superior officers. As the Eighth fell back, land in the enemy's front, and perhaps creation having been under fire an hour and a half, Colaffords but few positions that an enemy could onel Barton brought his brigade into action. occupy to greater advantage. Our army passed The Forty-seventh New-York was posted on the into this triangle through the upper part of the left, a part of the Forty-eighth New-York to the hypothenuse, and occupied a position a little lest of Hamilton's battery, the other part on the below the apex. This dirt road, which was our right, and the One Hundred and Fifteenth Newline of march, passed between two swamps, and York formed the right of our line. This brigade was so narrow that many of our men had to wade did nobly. The enemy's left pressed hard upon the swamps knee-deep in mud and water to get the One Hundred and Fifteenth, but every man into action.
stood his ground like a veteran. The FortyAs stated above, the skirmishing commenced seventh and Forty-eighth held the centre firmly. at the time our advance-guard crossed the rail- The battle has now raged furiously for two road. The Fortieth Massachusetts cavalry, Col- hours, and our losses in officers and men have onel Henry, the Independent battalion, Major been terrible. Stevens, and the Seventh Connecticut infantry Colonel Montgomery, with the Fifty-fourth participated in this preliminary action. Our Massachusetts and the First North-Carolina skirmishers were halted till Captains Hamilton (colored) regiments, was left back at the crossing and Elder, with their batteries, came up. As of the railroad with the train. Ilearing the conthey move on together, two guns are brought stant roar of artillery and musketry in front, he into battery and throw a few shells into the sent forward his aid for orders, but, without woods (pine barrens) in our front, but no re- waiting for him to return, he moved forward with sponse is elicited. The skirmishers we have the Fifty-fourth, and, as he passed the swamps, driven in have disappeared, and they were, in received orders to take position on our left, as fact, nothing but decoy ducks to lure us on and the enemy was pressing us hard in that quarter. show the way to the ambuscade.
This was done, and, as General Seymour said Occasionally a squad of a dozen or so are to afterward, to his entire satisfaction. The Fortybe seen in the roads and other exposed points seventh and Forty-eighth New-York are nearly to encourage us in the pursuit of our prey, and out of ammunition, and have been in action about on we go, cavalry, infantry, and artillery as near two hours and a half. The colonel of each regitogether as possible. No enemy of any import- ment and many other officers are badly woundance, nor signs of a camp are to be seen any- ed. Some are killed. Colonel Montgomery brings where. No sound is to be heard but the solemn the First North-Carolina, Lieutenant Reed comtramp of our army, and the trembling murmur manding, into action. It passes between the of the winds among the huge and lofty pines. Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth on the doubleWe move on, the Seventh Connecticut in the ad- quick, and is cheered by those retiring regiments vance; we pass the swamps, and emerge into the as it goes into battle. The coming of these rresh open space beyond, when suddenly a concentric troops upon the field, and the manner in which fire from the enemy's curved line is poured upon it was done, rather staggered the enemy for a mo
Colonel Hawley, sceing the hot work in ment. But the cars came thundering in, bring. which his advance is engaged, orders up the ing him reënforcements. These North-Carolina Seventh New-Hampshire; by the way, one of the colored soldiers and the Fifty-fourth Massachubest regiments in the service. On this occasion, setts now held our left, aided by the artillery, however, it was not possible for it to appear to and even pressed the enemy back. The battle the best advantage. Arms had been taken away rages furiously all along the line, and the slaughand bad ones given to the men. In the terrible ter is terrible. Every man seems determined to roar of battle, orders were not understood, and do his whole duty. No regiment went into acin deploying it got into inextricable confusion. tion more gillantly, fought more desperately, or It did but little execution, lost heavily, and did did better execution than the First North-Carowell to get out of the way as soon as possible. lina (colored) troops. Their white comrades Hamilton's battery was posted in the centre, generally take pleasure in awarding to them this Elder's upon our right, and Langdon's on the honor. Men were dropping constantly all along left. When the Seventh New-IIampshire regi- the line, but the living fought all the more bravement became confused, Colonel Hawley brought ly. These freedmen evidently preferred falling forward the Eighth U. S. colored, Colonel Charles on the field of battle to falling into the hands of W. Fribley. A part of this regiment came into their barbarous foes. This regiment was not in action with empty guns, and being under a terri. action over two hours and a half, and yet its loss ble fire, and cramped for room, it was found im- in officers and enlisted men was very nearly as possible to form a line of battle to the best ad- heavy as that of any other regiment. vantage. Considering that this was the first! The battle having now rayed for four hours, time the regiment had been under fire, it be- from two to six P.M., it appears the god of war
became satisfied with the slaughter on both sides, buscade, he did all in his power to bring out, by and, as if by mutual consent of parties, the fight- desperate fighting, a favorable issue. fle may ing ceased. We were allowed quietly to with be censurable for some things, but cowardice or draw from the field. The five pieces of artillery excessive prudence should not be put into the we lost were not taken from us, but left on the list.
VIDE. ground because the horses and gunners had either fied or been killed. All but one of our
ON BOARD COSMOPOLITAN, HOSPITAL SMP, batteries were within musket-range of the rebel
IN TRANSIT FRON JACKSONVILLE, FLA., TO lines, and some artillerymen were killed with
IIILTON HEAD, S. C., February 22, 1564. buckshot. We withdrew slowly, but the regi- On Thursday, February eighteenth, General ments were broken into a large number of fray. Seymour and his staff left Jacksonville, and ments, and badly mixed up. It was a painful reached Baldwin, twenty-two miles distant, the sight to see so many brave wounded men writh- same evening. Here he had established an iming in agony; but when we were compelled to portant dépôt of supplies for the army he was leave them there—they not being recognized by leading into the field. At this point the two the enemy as soldiers, especially the negroes- railroads of Florida cross each other. Cars had! no language can describe our sorrow and regret. been placed on the track, and a locomotive was
The statement made in the Providence Journal in a forward state of reconstruction for service on by Lieutenant Eddy, of the Third Rhode Island the road from Jacksonville. Lurge amounts of battery, that it was the running of their supports, food, ordnance, and clothing had been hauled up the Eighth United States colored regiment, which to Baldwin by horse-power. Here, too, the caused them to lose their guns, can be proved to thrice-blessed Sanitary Commission had a store be a base slander by more than five hundred of comforts and necessaries for wounded men. witnesses. The fact is, the negroes held their It was a place of no natural strength. Important ground and kept the battery from falling into the only as the junction of railroads, it had been hands of the enemy for two hours after this seized and rudely fortified. Slight cheraux de Eddy had left it with his slight wound. These frise of fir branches had been made, and a few brave but slandered men were the last to aban-block-houses and rifle-pits were hastily prepared. don the battery. The enemy never drove them From Baldwin, on the morning of the ninefrom it or took it from them. But the cause of teenth of February, the General and his staff the loss of these guns is under investigation, and moved forward to Barber's Station, twelve miles a report no doubt will be made fixing the respon- further, near the railroad. Here were encamped sibility where it properly belongs. Did we not the brigade commanded by Colonels Barton, know Lieutenant Eddy, and his feelings toward Hawley, and Montgomery. In the immediate colored troops, we might hope that when he re- neighborhood, also, were the Fortieth regiment covers from his fright he would take pleasure in Massachusetts mounted infantry, Colonel Henry; correcting his false statements.
the Independent battalion of Massachusetts cavThe battle of Olustee was fought with all the alry, under Major Stevens; and the artillery, odds on the enemy's side. Our men were wea- consisting of Captain Hamilton's, Captain Langried and foot sore with long marching; they had don's, and Captain Elder's batteries, as well as a taken but very little refreshments--some not section of the Third Rhode Island artillery. In any—since early breakfast; they had no expec- all, the force amounted to about twenty cannon, tations of a fight till actually drawn into it; they four hundred cavalry, and four thousand five fought on ground where the room was not sufti- hundred infantry. This was intended to operate cient to form a line of battle or deploy to the against an enemy whose strength was reported best advantage; the enemy was at least three to be thirteen thousand men, under General Garthousand more numerous than our force; we diner, (or Gardner,) who was said to have reknew nothing of the ground and position of the cently arrived from Georgia in order to defend enemy, except as we learned them by dear expe- the pasture-yard and shambles of the Confederarience, and, under such an array of unfavorable cy from the invasion of the Union army. circumstances, no bravery or skill could save the On the morning of the twentieth, at about nine day.
o'clock, the troops set out to find the enemy, Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing is moving in three lines, almost parallel to the road. strangely great, being not less than one thousand It was intended to reach Lake City the following nine hundred. Previous to the battle we cap- day, unless the enemy should dispute the way. tured property that is worth to the Government The route was through the unvarying pine fora half-million of dollars; and in that battle, to-ests of the country, over immense levels where gether with the retrcat, lost not less than a mil- only the pines and the sandy soil could be seen, lion dollars, besides the precious lives that were or through swamps impenetrable to the eye or sacrificed.
the foot of man. On Monday, the army arrived The enemy's loss in killed and wounded is re- at Sanderson, a railroad station surrounded by a ported by numerous deserters, and in the rebel few houses, inhabited by turpentine farmers. press, to be not far from eight hundred. Here the most positive statements were madle as
General Seymour was in the hottest of the to the large force which awaited the Unionists battle, and seemed to be oblivious to all thoughts not more than ten miles beyond. or feelings of danger. After getting into the am- The residents predicted that our men would re