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Battle of Ocean Pond, Florida.

The following reports of the brilliant engagement of “Ocean Pond,” Florida, were not printed by the Confederate Government, and so far as we know, were never before in print. They will be read with interest, and will be received as a valuable contribution to the material for the future historian:

Report of General Beauregard.

Headquarters Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, Charleston, S. C., March 25th, 1864.
General,--In transmitting detailed reports of recent operations in East Florida, I have to accompany them, for the information of the War Department, with the following:

The officer in observation at Foot Point, of the enemy's fleet in the waters of Port Royal and Broad river, having reported, on the afternoon of the 14th January, that some thirty-five vessels, including an iron-clad from Hilton Head, had gone to sea in the fog the day before, [12] and probably with troops, as it was observed to be more quiet on the adjacent islands (less drumming and firing of small arms) than usual, I gave Major-General Gilmer, at Savannah, immediate notification of the fact, with instructions to keep strict watch in the direction of Warsaw Sound and the Ossabaw. At the same time orders were given to the proper staff-officers to hold means of transportation by rail in readiness on the Charleston and Savannah railroad. An increase of the tents of the enemy on Tybee island was also reported. On the 16th of January, I repaired in person to Savannah, in which quarter I apprehended some operations might be looked for. I remained in the District of Georgia inspecting the troops and works until the 3d February, when, there being no indication of any movement of the enemy in that direction, I returned to Charleston, leaving with Major-General Gilmer orders to hold the Sixty-Fourth Georgia volunteers, the First Florida battallion and a light battery in readiness to be sent to Florida at short notice. On the 7th of February (received 8th), Brigadier-General Finnegan reported by telegraph that five gunboats and two transports of the enemey had made their appearance in the St. Johns, within five miles of Jacksonville, and on the next day announced the arrival at Jacksonville of eighteen vessels-gunboats and transports — the landing of the enemy, presumed in large force, and an immediate advance on the night of the 7th February. General Gilmer was at once ordered to put in motion, to report to General Finnegan, all the troops he had been previously ordered to hold in readiness for such an emergency. General Gardner, commanding in Middle Florida, was telegraphed to send to the imperilled quarter, with all possible celerity, every soldier he could spare. Colquitt's brigade was ordered from James' island to Savannah with a light battery; General Finnegan was advised of what was done, and instructed to do what he could with his means to hold the enemy at bay, and to prevent the capture of slaves; and at the same time I reported to you this hostile movement and my intention to repel it, as far as practicable, with infantry to be drawn from Charleston and Savannah, but requested, in consequence of the very recent discharge of some five thousand South Carolina militia, that other troops should be sent to take their places and avoid danger to Charleston and Savannah. Scarcely had Colquitt's brigade began to move when the enemy, in anticipation, doubtless, of my attempt to reinforce Finnegan, made a strong demonstration on Johns's island. Though assured of the purpose of this movement, it assumed, however, so serious a form as to compel me to divert, temporarily, General Colquitt's and three and a half regiments of his brigade, to reinforce [13] General Wise, then confronted by at least two brigades of the enemy (about four thousand five hundred strong), pushed forward in advance of the Haulover or bridgeway between Johns's and Seabrook's island,s and in addition several regiments of infantry were detached from Sullivan's and James's islands to be in readiness for the development of the enemy's purposes.

On the night of the 11th ultimo I ordered all our batteries bearing on Morris island to open a heavy simultaneous fire on that portion, as if a cover for an assault, and with the hope of forcing the enemy to withdraw from Johns's island to the protection of his own works. This stratagem seems to have produced the desired effect, or assisted to make him abandon the movement on Johns's island, and withdraw hastily before daybreak, thus releasing and enabling Colquitt's command to reach General Finnegan in time to meet and defeat the enemy at Ocean-Pond, some thirteen miles in advance of Lake City.

In the meanwhile other troops, fast as the means of railroad transportation would enable me, had been dispatched to the theatre of war from the works around Charleston and Savannah, and the positions covering the Savannah railroad. This was done, indeed, to a hazardous degree, but as I informed the Honorable Secretary of War by telegraph the 9th ultimo, I regarded it as imperative to attempt to secure the subsistence resources of Florida.

General Finnegan was also apprised of these reinforcements on the 11th February, and instructed to mancoeuvre meantime to check or delay the enemy, but to avoid close quarters and unnecessary loss of men.

While these reinforcements were en route, the enemy again attempted to delay them by a movement with show of force against Whitemarsh Island, near Savannah, and it became a measure of proper precaution to halt at Savannah two of the regiments on the way to General Finnegan, for the development of the enemy's plans, one of which regiments, indeed, I felt it but prudent to detain there to the present. The want of adequate rolling stock on the Georgia and Florida railroads, and the existence of the gap of some twenty-six miles between the two roads, subjected the concentration of my forces to a delay, which deprived my efforts to that end of full effect. The absence of General Hill making it injudicious for me to leave this State, I directed Brigadier-General Taliaferro to proceed to Florida and assume the command, he being an officer, in whose ability, field experience and judgment, I had high confidence, notknowing at the time that Brigadier-General William M. Gardner, commanding in middle Florida, his senior, had returned from [14] sick leave, and was fit for field service, and had gone to General Finnegan's Headquarters with the troops of his district. Apprised of this, I directed General Gardner, on the 21st ultimo, to assume command, and organize for a vigorous offensive movement preliminary to the arrival of General Taliaferro; but subsequently the victory at Ocean Pond having taken place, in which it was supposed General Gardner, though not in immediate command, had taken an active part, I directed that officer to assume the chief command, and dividing his forces into divisions, to assign General Taliaferro to one of them; soon after which, however, I was advised by the War Department of the assignment of Major-General J. Patton Anderson to the command of the forces in the State of Florida.

General D. H. Hill having arrived at these Headquarters on the 28th ultimo, I left for Florida the same evening, although that officer was unwilling, for personal reasons, to assume the duty at once, I had desired to entrust to him the immediate command of the troops in the State of South Carolina, but he promised to repair to any point threatened or attacked by the enemy, and give the officer there in command the benefit of his experience and assistance.

On the 2nd instant I reached Camp Milton, General Gardner's Headquarters, in rear of McGirt's creek, twelve or thirteen miles distant from Jacksonville, where I found our troops in position. The day preceding, our advanced pickets had been thrown forward to Cedar creek, within six or seven miles of Jacksonville. On the 3rd Major-General J. Patton Anderson also arrived at Camp Milton, and assumed command on the 6th instant of the forces, now about eight thousand effectives of all arms.

In the meantime it had been ascertained, from reliable sources, that the enemy occupied Jacksonville with at least twelve thousand men, that the position, naturally strong, had been much strenghtened since the battle of the 20th ultimo, and that four or five gunboats in the St. John's effectually commanded the approaches to the place. Under these circumstances it was determined not to attempt to carry the position by assault, as, in effect, instructed by your telegram of the 4th instant. Everything indicates that the rout of the enemy at Ocean Pond or Olustee was complete, nevertheless the fruits of the victory were comparatively insignificant, and mainly because of the inefficiency of the officer commanding the cavalry at the time, in consequence of whose lack of energy and capacity for the service, no serious attempt was made to pursue with his command, while the exhaustion of the infantry, so gallantly and efficiently handled and engaged, and our want [15] of subsistence, supplies and ammunition, made an immediate pursuit by them impracticable.

Unless our present forces should be considerably increased and amply supplied with means for a regular seige of Jacksonville, our operations in that quarter must be confined to the defensive; that is to preventing the penetration of the enemy into the interior, either on the line towards Lake City, or into the lower part of the State, to which end a position has been selected on the St. John's, a few miles above Jacksonville, for a battery of one rifled thirty-two pounder, three rifled thirty-, and one twenty-, and one ten-pounder Parrott's, and two eight-inch seige Howitzers, by which, with torpedoes in the river, it is expected trans-ports at least can be obstructed from passing with troops beyond Jacksonville.

Cavalry pickets have been also established for the protection of the railroad to Cedar Keys, from injury by raiding parties set on foot from the west bank of the St. John's.

I have for the present organized the forces under General Anderson into three brigades, commanded respectively by Brigadier Generals Finnegan and Colquitt, and Colonel George P. Harrison, three meritorious officers; the last two of whom have won promotion by their active participation in the combat of the 20th ultimo, at which it is proper to say, Brigadier-General Colquitt commanded on the immediate field of battle. He has seen much service likewise in the army of Northern Virginia.

The cavalry has also been organized into a brigade under Colonel Robert H. Anderson; the four light batteries, of four pieces each, were placed under command of Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. Jones, and two batteries of siege guns (six pieces), present on the field, under Major J. L. Buist. It is hoped this arrangement will enhance the efficiency of the troops, who are in fine spirits and good condition.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to the brave officers and men who encountered and defeated twice their numbers at Ocean Pond, and I commend them to the notice of the government; they are, in all respects, worthy comrades of those who, on other fields, have done honor to Southern manhood.


Your obedient servant,


G. T. Beauregard, General-Commanding. To General Samuel Cooper, Adjutant-and Inspector-General C. S. A., Richmond, Virginia.


Report of General Joseph Finnegan.

Headquarters District East Florida, in the field, twelve miles from Jacksonville, February 26, 1864.
Brigadier-General Thos. Jordan, Chief of Staff, Charleston, S. C.:
General,--For the information of the commanding general I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 7th February the enemy landed at Jacksonville, from eighteen transports and gunboats, a large force of cavalry, artillery and infantry, which was largely augmented by arrivals on the 8th instant.

On the receipt of this intelligence I immediately notified Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick, commanding an effective force of near three hundred and fifty men of all arms at Camp Finnegan, to guard against a surprise-advising him that I would join the command as soon as I had issued the necessary orders for collecting my widely-scattered troops and dispatched telegrams and letters for reinforcements. On the 8th instant the enemy advanced from Jacksonville with great rapidity, in three heavy columns-cavalry in the advance. Artillery and infantry followed under command of Brigadier-General Seymour. They approached Camp Finnegan as the command there were in the act of retiring.

Their largely superior numbers deterred Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick, commanding, from attacking them, and in the darkness of the night he withdrew his command with caution and address and joined me at Camp Beauregard, near Ocean Pond, on the Olustee, on the 13th instant. The enemy, with celerity, pressed on to Baldwin, capturing on their way five guns of Company “A” and “B,” Light Artillery, which had been ordered to Baldwin; reached Baldwin at daylight on the 9th instant. Remaining a short time, they continued on to Barber's the same night. At this point they were met, on the 10th instant, by two companies of cavalry, under Major Robert Harrison, Second Florida cavalry, whom I had ordered to join me, and who, with muck gallantry, checked their progress for several hours at St. Mary's Crossing, with but small loss to us and a considerable loss to the enemy.

On the 9th instant I removed all the government stores from Sanderson, except fifteen hundred bushels corn, which was burned under my orders. On the 10th the enemy reached Sanderson; on the 11th instant they were within three miles of Lake City. Here I had hastily [17] collected, principally from the District of Middle Florida, a small force of four hundred and fifty infantry, one hundred and ten cavalry, and two pieces of artillery. On the night of the 10th I placed this force in a favorable position two and a half miles from Lake City, in the direction of the enemy. At half past 9 the enemy advanced upon us with a force estimated to be fourteen hundred mounted infantry and five pieces of artillery. Here they opened upon us, fighting as infantry, and skirmished heavily with my advanced line. Discovering my position and its strength, and probably presuming my force larger than it was, they retreated to Sanderson, thence to Barber's, on the east bank of the St. Mary's, where they constructed field works, and concentrated their whole force for a final movement on Lake City.

In the meantime I used every possible effort to gather reinforcements, and on the 13th moved to Ocean Pond, on Olustee, thirteen miles from Lake City, and occupied the only strong position between Lake City and Barber's. Here I had field works thrown up, and for several days with a force less than two thousand strong, awaited the enemy's advance.

In this time my command was increased by the arrivals of reinforcements, and I organized the command as follows: The Sixth, Nineteenth, Twenty-third, Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth Georgia regiments, infantry, and Sixth Florida battalion, infantry, as the first brigade under the command of Brigadier-General Colquitt, with the Chatham artillery (four guns) attached.

The Thirty-second Georgia Volunteers, First Georgia Regulars, Sixty-fourth Georgia Volunteers, First Florida Battalion, and Bonaud's Battalion as the Second brigade, under command of Colonel George P. Harrison, Thirty-second Georgia Volunteers, with Guerard's Light Battery attached.

The Florida Light Artillery being held in reserve, I assigned Colonel R. B. Thomas, Confederate States Army, to duty as chief of artillery, and organized the cavalry into a brigade under the command of Colonel C. Smith, Second Florida Cavalry, my whole effective force being as follows: infantry, 4,600; cavalry, less than 600; artillery, three batteries, twelve guns.

On the 20th instant the enemy advanced in three columns, since ascertained to have been twelve regiments of infantry (nine of white troops and three of black), estimated at eight thousand, and some artillery (number of guns unknown), and fourteen hundred cavalry. At 12 M., the enemy were within three miles of my position. I ordered the cavalry under Colonel C. Smith, Second Florida Cavalry, supported [18] by the Sixty-fourth Georgia, Colonel Evans commanding, and two companies of Thirty-second Georgia, to advance and skirmish with the enemy, and draw them to our works. The remaining force was placed under arms and prepared for action. Apprehending that the enemy were too cautious to approach our works, I ordered General Colquitt, commanding First brigade, to advance with three of his regiments, and a section of Gamble's artillery, and assume command of the entire force, then ordered to the front, and feel the enemy by skirmishing, and if he was not in too heavy force to press him heavily. I had personally instructed Colonel Smith, commanding cavalry, to fall back as soon as infantry advanced, and protect their flanks. This movement was predicated on the information that the enemy had only three regiments of infantry with some cavalry and artillery.

Perceiving that in this movement, the force under Brigadier-General Colquitt's command might become too heavily engaged to withdraw without a large supporting force and intending that if the enemy should prove to be in not too great strength to engage them, I ordered in quick succession, within the space of an hour, the whole command to advance to the front, as a supporting force, and myself went upon the field. These reinforcements were pushed rapidly forward, and, as I anticipated, reached the field at the moment when the line was most heavily pressed, and at a time when their presence gave confidence to our men, and discouragement to the enemy. I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkins, commanding, First Florida battalion, and Major Bonaud, commanding Bonaud's battalion to fall into line on the left, in the direction of the enemy's heaviest firing. After I had ordered these reinforcements, and they were some distance on the way to the front, and while I was myself on the way to the front, I received from Brigadier-General Colquitt, commanding, in the front, a request for the reinforcements which had already been ordered. The engagement became general very soon after its commencement. The enemy were found in heavy force, their infantry drawn up in three supporting lines, their artillery in position, cavalry in their flanks and rear; I ordered Brigadier-General Colquitt to press them with vigor which he did with much judgment and gallantry. They contested the ground stubbornly, and the battle lasted for four and a half hours. At the end of this time the enemy's lines having been broken and reformed several times, and two five Napoleon, and three ten pounder Parrott guns, and one set of colors captured from them, they gave way entirely, and were closely pressed for three miles, until nightfall. I directed Brigadier-General Colquitt to continue the pursuit, intending to occupy Sanderson that night, but [19] in deference to his suggestion of the fatigue of the troops, the absence of rations, and the disadvantages of the pursuit in the dark, and in consequence of a report from an advance cavalry picket that the enemy had halted for the night and taken a position (which was subsequently ascertained to be incorrect), I withdrew the order. During the continuance of the battle, also, after the enemy had given way, I sent repeated orders to Colonel Smith, commanding cavalry, to press the enemy on his flank, and to continue in the pursuit. But through some misapprehension these orders failed to be executed by him, and only two small companies on the left, and these but for a short distance, followed the enemy.

The enemy retreated that night, hastily and in some confusion, to Sanderson, leaving a large number of their killed and wounded in our possession on the field. Their loss in killed, both officers and men, was large; four hundred and eighteen of their wounded were removed by us from the field, and four hundred, or near that number, of their killed were buried by us; also nearly two hundred prisoners were captured; several officers of high rank were killed, and others severely wounded. Their loss cannot be less than two thousand, or twenty-five hundred men; five superior guns, one set of colors captured, and sixteen hundred stand of arms, also one hundred and thirty thousand rounds cartridges (damaged by having been thrown into water) as appears by the report of the ordinance officer herewith enclosed. The victory was complete, and the enemy retired in rapid retreat, evacuating in quick succession Barber's and Baldwin, and falling back on Jacksonville. The enemy's forces were under command of Brigadier-General S. Seymour, who was present in the field. The conduct of Brigadier-General Colquitt entitles him to high commendation. He exhibited ability in the formation of his line, and gallantry in his advance on the enemy. I have also to speak most favorably of Colonel George P. Harrison, commanding Second brigade, who exhibited in the engagement all the qualities of a capable and efficient officer. Colonel R. B. Thomas, as Chief of Artillery, likewise rendered efficient service on the field. Colonel Evans, commanding Sixty-Fourth Georgia vol. unteers, and Colonel Duncan L. Clinch, commanding Fourth Georgia cavalry, were wounded while bravely performing their duty. Lieutenant-Colonel Barron, Sixty-fourth Georgia volunteers, and Captain Camron, commanding, and Lieutenant Dancy, of the First Georgia regulars; also Lieutenant Holland, commanding detachment from conscript camp — all officers of high promise — were killed. Amongst the killed and wounded were many other officers and men who had [20] distinguished themselves on other fields, for a detailed statement of whom, and for instances of individual merit, I refer to the reports of the brigade commander.

Our loss in the engagement was ninety-three killed, and eight hundred and forty-one wounded--a large proportion very slightly. In the opening of the engagement the cavalry under command of Colonel Smith, skirmished with the enemy with spirit, and retired to the flanks in obedience to their orders.

On the 22d instant, having repaired the railroad so as to secure my supplies, I advanced the command to Sanderson, pushing the cavalry rapidly in the direction of the enemy, and from Sanderson to Barber's, and thence to Baldwin, and to this place, twelve miles from Jacksonville, where my further progress was arrested by orders from Brigadier-General Gardner, who had been directed to assume command, by whom I was here, for the first time, officially notified, that the command had been transferred.

My efforts, and those of my officers, for the organization and concentration of a force adequate to meet the enemy's superior numbers, and to check them in their rapid advance,were incessant and arduous. I have the gratification of reporting to the commanding general, that while I continued in command they were successful. I transfer the army to my successor, well supplied with forage and subsistence, well organized and armed, and deficient only in ordnance stores, for which timely requisitions were made, and which are now on their way.

Very respectfully,


Joseph Finnegan, Brigadier-General Commanding.

Report of General Colquitt.

Baldwin, Florida, February 26, 1864.
Captain,--I have the honor to submit the following account of the engagement of the 20th instant, near Ocean Pond:

Intelligence having been received of the approach of the enemy, I was instructed to take three regiments of my own brigade, with a section of Gamble's artillery, and proceed to the front, and assume command of all the forces which had preceded me, consisting of two regiments of cavalry, under command of Colonel Smith, the Sixty-fourth Georgia regiment, and two companies of the Thirty-second Georgia regiment. [21]

Subsequently other troops were sent forward, and I was directed to call for such reinforcements as might be needed.

About two miles from Olustee station I found the enemy advancing rapidly, and our cavalry retiring before them. I then sent forward a party of skirmishers, and hastily formed line of battle, under a brisk fire from the enemy's advance. The Nineteenth Georgia was placed on the right, and the Twenty-eighth Georgia on the left, with a section of Captain Gamble's artillery in the center. The Sixty-fourth Georgia and the two companies of the Thirty-second Georgia were formed on the left of the Twenty-eighth, and the Sixth Georgia regiment was sent still further to the left, to prevent a flank movement of the enemy in that direction.

Instructions were sent to Colonel Smith, commanding cavalry, to place his regiments on the extreme flank, and to guard against any movement of the enemy from either side.

The line of infantry was then ordered to advance, which was gallantly done, the enemy contesting the ground and giving way slowly. Perceiving that the enemy were in strong force, I sent back for reinforcements and a fresh supply of ammunition. The Sixth Florida battalion and Twenty-third Georgia regiment soon arrived for my support. The Sixth Florida battallion was formed on the right of the Nineteenth Georgia, and in such position as to come in on the left flank of the enemy. The Twenty-third Georgia was put on the left of the Sixty-fourth Georgia. Colonel Harrison coming up with the Thirty-second and First Georgia regulars, took position on the left, between the Twenty-third and Sixth Georgia regiments, and was instructed to assume the general direction of the left of the line.

The section of Gamble's artillery in the center having been disabled by the loss of horses and limber, Captain Wheaton, who had early arrived upon the field with the Chatham artillery, and had taken position on the right, was ordered to the center to relieve Captain Gamble. This battery moved forward and took position under a heavy fire, and continued to advance with the line of infantry until the close of the action. Towards night, when Captain Wheaton's ammunition was almost expended, a section of Ginrood's battery, of Harrison's brigade, under Lieutenant Gignilleat, moved up and opened fire on the enemy, furnishing Captain Wheaton with part of his ammunition.

After our line had advanced about one-quarter of a mile, the engagement became general, and the ground was stubbornly contested. With two batteries of artillery immediately in our front, and a long line of infantry, strongly supported, the enemy stood their ground for [22] some time, until the Sixth Florida battalion, on the right flank, and all the troops in front, pressing steadily forward, compelled them to fall back and leave five pieces of artillery in our possession. At this time our ammunition beginning to fail, I ordered the commanding officers to halt their regiments and hold their respective positions until a fresh supply could be brought from the ordnance wagons, which, after much delay, had arrived upon the field.

Major Bonaud's battalion came upon the field, followed soon after by the Twenty-seventh Georgia regiment and the First Florida battalion. These troops were put in position near the center of the line, and a little in advance, to hold the enemy in check until the other command could be supplied with cartridges. As soon as this was accomplished I ordered a general advance, at the same time sending instructions to Colonel Harrison to move the Sixth and Thirty-second Georgia regiments arrived, on the right flank of the enemy. The Twenty-seventh Georgia regiment, under Colonel Zackry, pushing forward with great vigor upon the center, and the whole line moving as directed, the enemy gave way in confusion. We continued the pursuit for several miles, when night put an end to the conflict. Instructions were given to the cavalry to follow close upon the enemy, and seize every opportunity to strike a favorable blow.

The results of the engagement in the killed, wounded and prisoners of the enemy, and our own loss, will be found in the reports rendered directly to you.

The gallantry and steady courage of officers and men during this engagement are beyond all praise. For more than four hours they struggled with unflinching firmness against superior numbers, until they drove them in confusion and panic to seek safety in flight.

Colonel George P. Harrison, who commanded on the left, displayed skill, coolness and gallantry. The commanding officers of the various regiments did their duty nobly; Colonel Evans, commanding Sixty-fourth Georgia, and Captain Crawford, commanding the Twenty-eighth Georgia, both gallant officers, were wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Barron, of Sixty-fourth Georgia, a brave and gallant officer received a fatal shot while gallantly attempting to rally his men. Captain Wheaton and the officers and men of his battery are entitled to special commendation for their courage, coolness and efficiency.

Captain Grattan, Assistant Adjutant-General, Lieutenant Colquitt, Assistant Department Commander, Major Ely, and Lieutentant Estill, of my staff, were active and conspicuous in every part of the field. My thanks are due to Lieutenant Thompson, Second Florida regiment and [23] Mr. Sterling Turner, volunteer aids, for their gallant service. The names of those in the ranks entitled to be particularly mentioned may be furnished in a subsequent report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. Colquitt, Briqadier-General. Captain Call, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Report of Colonel Geo. P. Harrison, Jr.

Headquarters Second brigade, A. E. T., in the field, near Sanderson, Florida, 22d February, 1864.
Captain,--I have the honor to submit the following report of my command in the engagement with the abolitionists near Ocean Pond on the 20th instant.

By direction of Brigadier-General Finnegan, the brigade consisting of the Thirty-second Georgia Volunteers, Major W. T. Holland commanding; First Georgia Regulars, Captain H. A. Cannon commanding; Sixty-fourth Georgia Volunteers, Colonel G. W. Evans commanding; First Florida Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel C. F. Hopkins commanding; Bonaud's Battalion, Major A. Bonaud commanding; Guerard's Light Battery, Captain Jno. M. Guerard commanding, was drawn up in line of battle behind the entrenchments near Olustee station, about 10 o'clock A. M. About 12 o'clock M., pursuant to instructions, I sent forward the Sixty-fourth Georgia Volunteers, under Colonel Evans, and two companies, H and E, of Thirty-second Georgia regiment, under Captain Mobley, to meet the enemy, then reported three miles in our front, with orders to engage them lightly and fall back with a view to draw them to our works. About one hour and a half later, I advanced to the front with the remainder of my command, except First Florida battalion and Sixth Georgia regiment (Colquitt's brigade), and one section of Guerard's battery, for the purpose of supporting Brigadier-General Colquitt, who was now in advance with a portion of his brigade, and that portion of mine sent out at 12 M. I had advanced about a mile to the front, when I received a message from General Colquitt to move up rapidly. I had scarcely put my command in double quick, when the report of artillery in my front indicated that the fight had opened. Quickening our pace we moved on until within a few hundred yards of the place where the road we were upon crossed the railroad. Here I halted for a moment, but observing General Colquitt forming his line, [24] and seeing the enemy's position across the railroad, who was then sweeping the front of my column with a battery in position near the cross-roads, I moved to the left in double quick, crossed the railroad and formed line of battle upon the left of that just established by General Colquitt. About this time the engagement became general. In a few moments I was informed by one of General Colquitt's staff that I was in proper position. Being now at long range (300 yards) I advanced in conjunction with the right of the line to about two hundred yards of the enemy, who stubbornly stood their ground. In about this position the field was hotly contested by both parties for about one hour, when the enemy gave slowly away before the close pressure of our gallant men. (It was during this, while riding with my staff down the line from the left toward the center, that my ordnance officer, R. T. Dancy, was instantly killed, and my aid-de-camp, Lieutenant Horace B. Clark, and one of my couriers had their horses shot under them).

But soon a new line of the enemy appeared, and our advance was checked. His resistance now seemed more stubborn than before, for more than twenty minutes, when the enemy suddenly gave back, apparently to seek a better position, but still held us at bay.

Now the result of the day seemed doubtful. It was whispered down the lines (particularly in the Sixth and Thirtysecond Georgia regiments) that our ammunition was failing, and no ordnance train in sight. This I immediately reported to General Colquitt, who urged that we hold our ground, stating that our ammunition would certainly reach us directly. This, I am proud to say, was heroically complied with by my command, many of them for fifteen or twenty minutes standing their ground without a round of ammunition. Seeing the critical state of affairs, I dismounted myself, placed one of my staff, whose horse had been disabled, upon mine, who, together with the remainder of my staff and couriers was employed in conveying ammunition from a train of cars, some half mile or more distant. It was in the discharge of this duty that Lieutenant George M. Blount, my acting assistant adjutantgeneral, was shot from his horse, but not seriously wounded. By several trips, they succeded in supplying sufficient ammunition to our line, to enable a reopening of a rapid and effective fire, before which the enemy had commenced to retire slowly, still keeping up their fire upon us, when the First Florida battalion, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel C. F. Hopkins and a section of Guerard's battery under Lieutenant W. Robert Geguillist arrived from the entrenchments. I at once ordered the former to the support of the Sixty-fourth Georgia regiment, whose ammunition was nearly all exhausted, and the latter to take position [25] and open fire near the left center. These reinforcements, with some that arrived upon the right, served to embolden our men and intimidate the enemy, for their retreat now became more hurried, and their fire less rapid and effective. Under instructions from General Colquitt, I now threw forward the Sixth and Thirty-second Georgia regiments (the extreme left of our line) to flank the enemy upon their right, which movement succeeded admirably, for soon their right was exposed to a cross fire, which told upon their ranks with fine effect. A general advance of our line now drove the enemy, who retreated, at first sullenly, but now precipitately, before our victorious arms for some miles, when night came on, and by order of General Colquitt we ceased firing and our line halted. During the engagement the detachment of Thirty-second Georgia regiment, companies H and E, Captain Mobley commanding, won for itself much honor, in charging and capturing three pieces of artillery.

While refraining from a mention of the individual bearing of officers belonging to commands of my brigade (for the reason that all greatly distinguished themselves), I take pleasure in reporting the intrepid commander of the Sixth Georgia regiment (General Colquitt's brigade), Colonel Lofton, for meritorious services with my command, throughout the action; Corporal Buchanan, Company E, Sixty-fourth Georgia regiment; Sergeant Thomas Battle, Company C, First Georgia regulars, color-bearer, deserve mentioning for conspicuous bearing and daring.

I would ask particular attention to the gallantry of Captain E. L. Guerard, acting brigade quartermaster. His services, together with the gallantry and promptness of Lieutenant Horace P. Clark, my aid-de-camp, were of the greatest importance during the whole engagement, and particularly after the remainder of my staff had gallantly fallen and been borne from the field.

My entire command behaved with a degree of coolness and bearing worthy of emulation.

The following named officers were killed and wounded gallantly discharging their duties:

Thirty-second Georgia Volunteers-Major Holland Commanding.

Captain W. D. Cornwell, Company A, wounded in shoulder.

Lieutenant R. A. Butler, Company B, wounded in abdomen, mortally.

Lieutenant W. F. Moody, Company C, wounded in knee, severely.

Lieutenant W. L. Jenkins, Company E,wounded in shoulder, slightly. [26]

Lieutenant J. H. Pitman, Company F, wounded in leg, severely.

Lieutenant M. Davison, Company G, wounded in head, slightly.

First Georgia Regulars--Captain A. A. F. Till Commanding.

Captain H. A. Cannon, commanding when killed.

Lieutenant P. H. Morel, wounded in arm, slightly.

Sixty-fourth Georgia Volunteers--Captain C. S. Jenkins Commanding.

Colonel J. W. Evans, wounded in right thigh, severely.

Lieutenant-Colonel James Barron, killed.

Major W. H. Weems, wounded in left leg, severely.

Captain B. W. Craven, Company A, wounded in head, slightly.

Lieutenant J. S. Thrasher, Company A, wounded in thigh, severely.

Lieutenant M. L. Rains, Company C, wounded in thigh, severely.

Captain J. K. Redd, Company F, wounded in head, slightly.

Lieutenant F. M. Beasly, Company F, wounded in left arm, slightly.

Captain R. A. Brown, Company H, wounded in left leg, slightly.

Lieutenant P. A. Waller, Company H, wounded (mortally) in neck and head.

Lieutenant J. F. Burch, Company I, wounded in wrist, slightly.

First Florida battalion, Volunteers--Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkins Commanding.

Lieutenant-Colonel C. Y. Hopkins, wounded in arm and thigh, slightly.

Lieutenant F. Williams, Company F, wounded in breast, slightly.

Lieutenant S. K. Collins, Company E, wounded in face, slightly.

Bonaud's battalion Georgia Volunteers.

Lieutenant G. W. Hall, Company D, wounded, slightly.

Lieutenant Cader Pierce, Company G, wounded, slightly.

Lieutenant W. W. Holland, Volunteer Company, Florida, killed.

The enclosed report of casualties respectfully submitted.

George P. Harrison, Jr., Colonel Thirty-second Georgia Infantry, Commanding Second Brigade A. E. F.


Report of Colonel Caraway Smith.

Headquarters cavalry brigade, District East Florida, February 27th, 1864.
Captain,--I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the cavalry brigade in the late engagement near Ocean Pond on the 20th instant.

On the morning of the 20th, it being reported that the enemy were advancing in the direction of Sanderson, I received orders from the Brigadier-General commanding to advance and meet them, for the purpose of ascertaining their position and number. I accordingly moved up with all the cavalry force then available, which consisted of two hundred and fifty (250) men of the Fourth Georgia cavalry, Colonel Clinch commanding, and of two hundred and two (202) men of the Second Florida cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick commanding.

I discovered the enemy about four miles distant from our encampment, occupying in force the second crossing of the railroad from Olustee. I immediately reported the fact to you, directed Colonel Clinch to advance a body of skirmishers from his regiment to attack the enemy's pickets, which he did promptly, and was pushing the attack earnestly, when they were met by a much larger force from the enemy, which compelled them to retire to their house. This they did in good order.

The enemy then moved forward with his whole force, skirmishing on our rear, which we resisted with our rear guard, keeping him in check, while the cavalry retired in line and in perfect order.

The skirmishing was kept up until we reached the first crossing of the railroad from Olustee, there I found our infantry and artillery under the command of Brigadier-General Colquitt, from whom I received orders to dispose the cavalry on the right and left wings of our army, to prevent any flank movements of the enemy. I accordingly ordered Colonel Clinch to occupy the left with his regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick with the Second Florida cavalry to take position on the right. Early in the action Colonel Clinch received a severe wound in the leg, which made it necessary for him to retire from the field, and the command of his regiment then devolved upon Captain Brown, who kept an efficient guard on the left flank, while Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick protected the right.

On two occasions I discovered that the enemy was attempting to cross the railroad on the right of our infantry, evidently for the purpose [28] of turning that wing, when I directed Lieutenant Colonel McCormick to dismount a portion of his regiment and drive them back, which he did effectually. Thus by the vigilance of the cavalry on the right and left, the enemy was prevented from deploying his large force so as to turn either flank.

The Fifth Florida battalion cavalry, Major G. W. Scott commanding, was not brought upon the field until late in the evening, in consequence of the jaded condition of the men and horses from hard service for the twenty-four hours preceding. He, .however, joined with Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick on the right, about the middle of the contest, and rendered him prompt assistance. The fight terminating right, and our infantry lines not being perceptible to me through the woods, and the face of the country being cut up by snaps, making it very favorable for ambushing under the cover of night, I deemed it inadvisable to press forward with the whole cavalry force until further information could be had of the position of affairs. In addition to this, after the order forward was being executed, another order was received to the effect that we were getting under the fire of our men, and also that I should beware of an ambush. I attached the more importance to this order, because it had already been discovered that a large body of the enemy's cavalry were resting on the opposite side of the swamp from us.

The cavalry however, as soon as possible, followed up the enemy, and gathered a number of prisoners, amounting to about one hundred and fifty. In addition to this, several prisoners were taken by Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick and Major Scott, while protecting the right flank.

I have to report that Colonel Clinch, and three men of the Fourth Georgia cavalry, were wounded--one of the wounded men missing, and reported now to be dead. It is due to the companies of Captains Stephens and Maxwell, of the Second Florida cavalry, to state that the conduct of the men and officers, while acting as the rear guard of the cavalry, as we were falling back before the enemy, was highly satisfactory. They behaved with the coolness and deliberation of veterans.

I have the honor to be, Captain,

Your obedient servant,


Caraway Smith, Colonel-Commanding Cavalry Brigade. Captain W. Call, Acting Adjutant-General.

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