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Disregarding his instructions, Seymour prepared to execute the advance which he had resolved to make, seemingly in complete ignorance of the enemy's force. Disaster and failure were inevitable. By letter on the 17th, he informed Gillmore that he would move to the Suwanee River to destroy the railroad. His letter closed with a postscript reflecting upon all his higher officers in these words: ‘Send me a general for the command of the advance troops, or I shall be in a state of constant apprehension.’ On the 18th Gillmore did send him a general in the person of General Turner, his chief of staff, not for the purpose requested, but to suspend the movement, bring Seymour back to Baldwin, and deliver letters expressing his surprise at the advance. When Turner, delayed many hours by stormy weather, reached Jacksonville, Seymour was engaged with the enemy.

In response to calls in every direction for help, General Finegan began to receive aid immediately after our retirement from Lake City. On the 13th, with a force numbering two thousand men, he moved forward toward Sanderson, taking post at Olustee, where he constructed strong works, to better defend his position. Reinforcements continued to join, so that on the 18th he had forty-six hundred infantry (largely veterans), about six hundred cavalry, and three batteries of twelve guns. The enemy's knowledge of our force was accurate, and of our plans considerable, for despatches from Gillmore to Terry at Folly Island were intercepted and deciphered. Beauregard therefore stripped his garrisons elsewhere to meet us in Florida.

A diversion made by General Schimmelfennig on John's Island, S. C., occurred too early, and another by Col. J. B.

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