or district of Middle
and East Florida
The coast of Florida
was from the beginning of the war at the mercy of the Federal fleet, and within the limits of the State
were only a few scattered Confederate troops.
Early in 1864, when it had been found that Charleston
was too strong for the Federal
army and fleet combined, General Gilmore
, who commanded the department of the South, decided to make an effort to overrun Florida
and annex it to the Union
It was considered desirable by the United States
authorities that some of the Southern States
should be brought so completely under the control of the Union
army as to enable such of the inhabitants, white
, as might desire to do so, to form what they called ‘loyal’ State governments and be readmitted to the Union
seemed to offer good prospect of success in such an undertaking.
An army under Gen. Truman Seymour
and the fleet of Admiral Dahlgren
attempted the task of subduing Florida
, and General Finegan
found himself in a dangerous position, demanding skillful generalship and courageous firmness.
So well did he perform his part that a signal victory was obtained at Olustee
, and the Federal
enterprise entirely defeated.
He was soon succeeded by General Gardner
as commander of the district of Middle
and Eastern Florida
, and was sent to Virginia
in May at the head of a Florida brigade, with which Perry
's old brigade was consolidated.
At the second battle of Cold Harbor General Finegan
and his Florida
brigade had a good opportunity for distinction, and made memorable use of the occasion to the credit of themselves and their State.
This was the memorable 3d of June, when Grant
's charging columns broke through a weak point in Breckinridge
's brigade rushed into the breach and in a desperate fight drove back the assailants with heavy loss to Hancock
served from that time with the army of Northern Virginia until March 20, 1865, when he was again assigned to duty in Florida