miles of Jacksonville
A large number of the enemy, having concealed themselves in a thick palmetto scrub, opened fire from their ambush upon a detachment of about 80 of our cavalry while crossing the long causeway, instantly killing Captain Stevens
, Second Florida cavalry, a splendid young officer greatly beloved by his command, and wounding several others.
At this critical time our main force of four regiments of infantry, 200 cavalry and three pieces of artillery, came up and advanced over the causeway, and the fight became general, about 5 miles of ground being contested, the skirmishing and general engagement lasting from 11 a m. to 3 p. m. Our forces having effected a crossing on the enemy's right, intending to turn their flank, they hastily retired, falling back to theThree-mile run, where they halted and were reinforced by cavalry and artillery.
This vigorous repulse of a force numbering about 3,000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 2 pieces of artillery, after contesting our advance step by step, attested the bravery with which they fought against superior numbers.
Our loss was 7 killed and 12 wounded. The enemy acknowledged a loss of 2 killed, 4 wounded and 5 taken prisoners, but later information gave the number of their wounded at about 40.
To have advanced upon the enemy in their fortified position would have been attended with disastrous consequences.
The defensive campaign now entered upon was one of great activity.
The troops, divided into detachments of infantry, cavalry and sections of artillery, were quartered at such points as were most exposed and upon which the enemy was expected to make an early advance.
The only security was in untiring vigilance, and several cavalry companies were deployed for outpost duty, notably among them Col. G. W. Scott
's battalion of cavalry, and Company H, Second Florida cavalry, commanded by Capt. J. J. Dickison
; Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick
with the remaining companies of the Second Florida cavalry command