quite as many, dead or dying, to the mercy of the Rebels
and the vultures.1
The enemy admitted a loss of but 80 killed and 650 wounded. Seymour
retreated nearly or quite to Jacksonville
, burning provisions, &c., worth at least $1,000,000. And that virtually ended all hope of the recovery of Florida
to the Union
before the entire collapse of the Rebellion
Few disasters were encountered during the War
so utterly inexcusable.
It was Braddock
's defeat repeated, after the lapse of a century.
Our soldiers fought as well as ever men ought to fight; they were abundantly able to have routed the enemy; they were simply sacrificed by a leader brave to rashness, and possessing every soldierly quality but the ability to plan and direct the movements of an independent force.
Left to himself, he was fit only to afford fresh verification of the old axiom, that, against stupidity, even the gods are impotent.
And now, President Lincoln
--who had never dreamed of such a folly — was assailed and held up to execration as having fooled away 2,000 men in a sordid attempt to manufacture for himself three additional votes in the approaching Presidential election.
During this Winter, extensive salt-works in West Bay
, near St. Andrew's sound
, belonging to the Confederate Government, and making, 400 bushels per day, were destroyed by order of Rear-Admiral Bailey
, with certain private salt-works in that vicinity; also, salt-works on Lake Ocola: the whole being valued at $3,000,000.
Next Summer,2 Gen. Birney
, under orders from Gen. Foster
, moved out from Jacksonville
to Callahan station, on the Fernandina
railroad, burning bridges, two cars, &c.; and a number of petty raids were made from Jacksonville
, and to the south fork of the St. Mary
's; while, ultimately, Baldwin
and Camp Milton were occupied for a season by detachments of our forces; and several skirmishes took place, but with no decided advantage to either party.
A meeting at Jacksonville
, May 20th, had assumed the style and title of a State Convention of the Unionists of Florida
, and deputed six delegates to represent her in the Union National Convention at Baltimore
— which some of them did, to their own undoubted satisfaction.
But, to all practical intents, the battle of Olustee
was the first and last event of consequence that happened in Florida
during the year 1864, and thence to the close of the war.
In South Carolina
, while the long-range range firing at Charleston
from Morris island
and the surrounding forts was lazily and irregularly kept up through most of the year, eliciting fitful responses from Rebel forts and batteries, there was no movement of importance; save that, in July, four brigades (Birney
's, and Schimmelfennig
's) were quietly assembled from the sea islands held by us and from Florida
, pushed 3
over to Seabrook island
, and thence, attended by two gunboats on the North Edisto
, to John's island, and so to a place called Deckerville,4
two miles west of Legareville
The weather wounded, of course;) with 5 guns and 2,000