The following is a letter from Lieutenant Eddy
of the Third Rhode Island battery, who participated in the late battle in Florida
It is dated on board the hospital steamer Cosmopolitan
, in Port Royal harbor, February twenty-second:
On Thursday morning, the eighteenth, we left our camps at Jacksonville in light-marching order, with ten days rations.
We marched all day, and, as the roads were bad, we made only sixteen miles, when we halted for the night.
On Friday morning, the nineteenth, we started early, and marching all day, made seventeen miles, stopping over night at a small place called Barber's. On Saturday morning, the twentieth, at seven o'clock, we started once more for a place called Lake City, thirty-six miles distant, which, if we had succeeded in occupying, we should have stopped supplies being sent to the Western armies of the enemy.
We marched eighteen miles, when we met the enemy, and skirmished with them for the next four miles, when we found that they were in force, and had formed their line of battle.
The columns were at once deployed, and our advance was soon sharply engaged.
Hamilton's battery was ordered forward.
Four pieces of the battery including my section, were placed in position within a hundred and fifty yards of the rebel lines, under a severe fire of musketry.
We went in with four pieces, fifty horses, eighty-two men, and four officers, namely, Captain Hamilton, Lieutenant Myrick, Lieutenant Dodge, and myself.
In twenty minutes we lost forty-five men, forty horses, two guns, and four officers, when we managed to get off with what little there was left.
It was our misfortune to have for support a negro regiment, which, by running, caused us to lose our pieces.
The fight lasted three hours, when, finding his small army so much cut up, the General ordered a retreat.
We returned to Jacksonville, fifty-eight miles distant, and reached there last night at twelve o'clock. We had five thousand men engaged on our side, and lost one thousand two hundred, as near as I can learn.
The enemy had fifteen thousand men opposed to us, and, of course, whipped us badly.
Captain Hamilton is wounded in his left arm severely, and in the hip. Lieutenant Myrick is badly wounded in the left foot, and will probably lose some of his toes.
Lieutenant Dodge is wounded in the left arm, but not badly.
I am wounded in the right leg, about three inches above the ankle-joint, but not badly.
All of us officers had our horses shot under us. We are now on board of this steamer, bound for Beaufort, where all the wounded will.
be.landed except us four officers.