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[89] the river and arrived at headquarters at o o'clock the next morning. The detachment under Sergeant Dickison marched 15 miles down the swamp to avoid the Federal cavalry, and reached the camp next evening, shouts of welcome greeting them on their safe return from their perilous and tiresome march. The following announcement of this spirited exploit was made by General Anderson:
‘The major-general commanding has great pleasure in announcing to the troops under his command the result of a gallant expedition against the enemy's detached posts, undertaken on the 19th inst. by Capt. J. J. Dickison, Second Florida cavalry. Crossing the St. John's river in small boats, Captain Dickison surprised and captured the enemy's garrisons at Welaka and Fort Butler, taking 88 infantry and 6 cavalry, with the arms and equipments, and returning with his brave command safely to their camp, bringing in the whole capture, after an absence of forty-four hours, during which time they traveled 85 miles and effected the results herein detailed without the loss of a man. Such an exploit attests more emphatically the soldierly qualities of the gallant men and their skillful leader who achieved it than any commendation it would be possible to give. The major-general commanding feels, however, that his thanks are due them, and, while thus publicly rendering the tribute so justly due, indulges in the confident hope that every officer and soldier in his district will emulate the patriotic endurance and daring displayed by Captain Dickison and his command.’

On May 24th General Anderson assigned still more extended duties to this command, advising Captain Dickison of ‘inability to picket Green Cove Springs and Bayard with any other forces than those you command. He therefore directs that you picket these points.’

The withdrawal of a large number of troops from Jacksonville to join the Federal forces concentrating in South Carolina and Virginia, afforded Major-General Anderson the opportunity so long desired of sending a command

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