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[532]

Perceiving that in this movement the force under Brigadier-General Colquitt's command might become too heavily engaged to withdraw without a large supporting force, and intending that if the enemy should prove to be in not too great strength to engage them, I ordered in quick succession, within the space of an hour, the whole command to advance to the front as a supporting force, and myself went upon the field. These reinforcements were pushed rapidly forward, and, as I anticipated, reached the field at the moment when the line was most heavily pressed, and at a time when their presence gave confidence to our men and discouragement to the enemy. I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkins, commanding 1st Florida battalion, and Major Bonaud, commanding Bonaud's battalion, to fall into line on the left in the direction of the enemy's heaviest firing. After I had ordered these reinforcements and they were some distance on the way to the front, and while I was myself on the way to the front, I received from Brigadier-General Colquitt, commanding in the front, a request for the reinforcements which had already been ordered. The engagement became general very soon after its commencement. The enemy were found in heavy force, their infantry drawn up in three supporting lines, their artillery in position, cavalry on their flanks and rear. I ordered Brigadier-General Colquitt to press them with vigor, which he did with much judgment and gallantry. They contested the ground stubbornly, and the battle lasted for four and a half hours. At the end of this time, the enemy's lines having been broken and re-formed several times, and two fine Napoleons and three 10-pounder Parrott guns, and one set of colors captured from them, they gave way entirely, and were closely pressed for three miles until nightfall. I directed Brigadier-General Colquitt to continue the pursuit, intending to occupy Sanderson that night; but, in deference to his suggestion of the fatigue of the troops, the absence of rations, and the disadvantages of the pursuit in the dark, and in consequence of a report from an advance cavalry picket that the enemy had halted for the night and taken a position (which was subsequently ascertained to be incorrect), I withdrew the order. During the continuance of the battle, also, after the enemy had given way, I sent repeated orders to Colonel Smith, commanding cavalry, to press the enemy on his flank, and to continue in the pursuit; but, through some misapprehension, these orders failed to be executed by him, and only two small companies on the left, and these but for a short distance, followed the enemy.

The enemy retreated that night, hastily and in some confusion, to Sanderson, leaving a large number of their killed and wounded in our possession on the field. Their loss in killed, both officers and men, was large; 418 of their wounded were removed by us from the field, and 400, or near that number, of their killed were buried by us; also nearly 200 prisoners were captured; several officers of high rank were killed, and others severely wounded. Their loss cannot be less than 2000 or 2500 men, five superior guns, one set of colors captured, and 1600 stand of arms; also 130,000 rounds cartridges (damaged by having been thrown into water), as appears by the report of the ordnance officer herewith enclosed. The victory was complete, and the enemy retired in rapid retreat, evacuating in quick succession Barber's and Baldwin, and falling back on Jacksonville.


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A. H. Colquitt (4)
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1600 AD (1)
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