east side of the river that the enemy's garrison at Picolata
was about 400 strong and was becoming very troublesome and insulting to our loyal citizens in that neighborhood, Captain Dickison
resolved on an expedition across the river, could he gain the consent of his general commanding and arrange some plan for the relief and protection of these unfortunate people.
In reply to his telegram the general replied that he would leave it to his good judgment; but to be very cautious, as the enemy were in large force at Jacksonville
, Green Cove Springs
and St. Augustine
, with their gunboats in the river.
Dickison at once decided to cross the river and reconnoiter near the enemy's stronghold, and ordered preparations made for five days rations.
His cavalry consisted of a detachment from Company H of 64 men under Lieutenants McCardell
, 33 from Company B of the same regiment, and 28 from Company H of the Fifth battalion of cavalry, under command of Lieutenants Mc-Leod
His destination was not confided to his command.
On the 2d of February, 1865, just at sunset, they reached the deserted city of Palatka
He then formed his men and made known to them that he intended crossing over into the enemy's lines.
Not one of the heroic little band faltered in his duty or desired to turn back.
The distance across the river was one mile, their only transportation one flatboat that could carry but twelve men and horses.
They were all night and until 10 o'clock the next morning making the passage over, but landed safely and in fine spirits.
They had a long and circuitous route to march to reach Picolata
, continuing until 2 o'clock that night.
When within one mile of the fort a halt was called and a young soldier in the command, whose father lived inside the Federal
lines, was detailed to pass through the picket line and bring out his father.
This hazardous duty was performed and the worthy parent informed Captain Dickison
that the enemy had been