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[411] became satisfied with the slaughter on both sides, and, as if by mutual consent of parties, the fighting ceased. We were allowed quietly to withdraw from the field. The five pieces of artillery we lost were not taken from us, but left on the ground because the horses and gunners had either fled or been killed. All but one of our batteries were within musket-range of the rebel lines, and some artillerymen were killed with buckshot. We withdrew slowly, but the regiments were broken into a large number of fragments, and badly mixed up. It was a painful sight to see so many brave wounded men writhing in agony; but when we were compelled to leave them there — they not being recognized by the enemy as soldiers, especially the negroes — no language can describe our sorrow and regret.

The statement made in the Providence Journal by Lieutenant Eddy, of the Third Rhode Island battery, that it was the running of their supports, the Eighth United States colored regiment, which caused them to lose their guns, can be proved to be a base slander by more than five hundred witnesses. The fact is, the negroes held their ground and kept the battery from falling into the hands of the enemy for two hours after this Eddy had left it with his slight wound. These brave but slandered men were the last to abandon the battery. The enemy never drove them from it or took it from them. But the cause of the loss of these guns is under investigation, and a report no doubt will be made fixing the responsibility where it properly belongs. Did we not know Lieutenant Eddy, and his feelings toward colored troops, we might hope that when he recovers from his fright he would take pleasure in correcting his false statements.

The battle of Olustee was fought with all the odds on the enemy's side. Our men were wearied and foot sore with long marching; they had taken but very little refreshments — some not any — since early breakfast; they had no expectations of a fight till actually drawn into it; they fought on ground where the room was not sufficient to form a line of battle or deploy to the best advantage; the enemy was at least three thousand more numerous than our force; we knew nothing of the ground and position of the enemy, except as we learned them by dear experience, and, under such an array of unfavorable circumstances, no bravery or skill could save the day.

Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing is strangely great, being not less than one thousand nine hundred. Previous to the battle we captured property that is worth to the Government a half-million of dollars; and in that battle, together with the retreat, lost not less than a million dollars, besides the precious lives that were sacrificed.

The enemy's loss in killed and wounded is reported by numerous deserters, and in the rebel press, to be not far from eight hundred.

General Seymour was in the hottest of the battle, and seemed to be oblivious to all thoughts or feelings of danger. After getting into the ambuscade, he did all in his power to bring out, by desperate fighting, a favorable issue. He may be censurable for some things, but cowardice or excessive prudence should not be put into the list.


Another account.

on board Cosmopolitan, hospital ship, in Transit from Jacksonville, Fla., to Hilton head, S. C., February 22, 1864.
On Thursday, February eighteenth, General Seymour and his staff left Jacksonville, and reached Baldwin, twenty-two miles distant, the same evening. Here he had established an important depot of supplies for the army he was leading into the field. At this point the two railroads of Florida cross each other. Cars had been placed on the track, and a locomotive was in a forward state of reconstruction for service on the road from Jacksonville. Large amounts of food, ordnance, and clothing had been hauled up to Baldwin by horse-power. Here, too, the thrice-blessed Sanitary Commission had a store of comforts and necessaries for wounded men. It was a place of no natural strength. Important only as the junction of railroads, it had been seized and rudely fortified. Slight chevaux de frise of fir branches had been made, and a few block-houses and rifle-pits were hastily prepared.

From Baldwin, on the morning of the nineteenth of February, the General and his staff moved forward to Barber's Station, twelve miles further, near the railroad. Here were encamped the brigade commanded by Colonels Barton, Hawley, and Montgomery. In the immediate neighborhood, also, were the Fortieth regiment Massachusetts mounted infantry, Colonel Henry; the Independent battalion of Massachusetts cavalry, under Major Stevens; and the artillery, consisting of Captain Hamilton's, Captain Langdon's, and Captain Elder's batteries, as well as a section of the Third Rhode Island artillery. In all, the force amounted to about twenty cannon, four hundred cavalry, and four thousand five. hundred infantry. This was intended to operate against an enemy whose strength was reported to be thirteen thousand men, under General Gardiner, (or Gardner,) who was said to have recently arrived from Georgia in order to defend the pasture-yard and shambles of the Confederacy from the invasion of the Union army.

On the morning of the twentieth, at about nine o'clock, the troops set out to find the enemy, moving in three lines, almost parallel to the road. It was intended to reach Lake City the following day, unless the enemy should dispute the way. The route was through the unvarying pine forests of the country, over immense levels where only the pines and the sandy soil could be seen, or through swamps impenetrable to the eye or the foot of man. On Monday, the army arrived at Sanderson, a railroad station surrounded by a few houses, inhabited by turpentine farmers. Here the most positive statements were made as to the large force which awaited the Unionists not more than ten miles beyond.

The residents predicted that our men would return

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