all the troops in Colonel Smith
's district and four companies of Fifth Florida cavalry, with Lieutenant-Colonel Scott
, from Colonel Turney
's district, to report to General Miller
also reported: ‘I think there is great danger of an attack from the west coast, of which this present raid is the precursor.
My force is entirely inadequate to meet these different attacks; too small when concentrated, it is indeed too weak when divided.’
On the 23d of October, 1864, Captain Dickinson
received a dispatch from Lieutenant Haynes
of the Fifth battalion of cavalry, on the outposts near Green Cove Springs
, that the enemy in considerable force had been met and driven back by his command about 3 miles. He immediately moved with all haste to the front, his command consisting of a detachment of Company C, Captain Chambers
; a detachment of his own Company H, under Lieutenant McCardell
, and one 12-pound howitzer in command of Sergt. J. C. Crews
; in all about 90 men. Arriving on the morning of the 24th of October, and supposing that the enemy would again come out at or near the same place, he made immediate arrangements for an attack.
They failed to come out. He then learned there was a crossing 5 .miles above at Finegan's ford, whither he sent a scout, who soon reported that a cavalry command had crossed at that place and taken the road to Middleburg
, on Black creek
He immediately marched to meet them on their return.
There being two roads to guard, he placed a detachment on each, at a distance convenient for rapid concentration should it become necessary.
Presently the enemy were seen returning, driving in a large drove of fine cattle to enrich their commissary stores with what they called ‘rebel beef.’
concentrated his force to meet the Federals
, who were preparing for the charge.
On they came with drawn sabers, the polished blades flashing in the sunlight, but as they drew near they were met with a telling volley.
Halting, they quickly reformed and charged a second time, again