previous next

Chapter 5:

  • Organization of the district of Florida in the spring and summer of 1864
  • -- Palatka, Welaka and Fort Butler -- withdrawal of troops to Virginia -- fights with gunboats on the St. John's -- renewed Federal activity -- battle of Palatka -- evacuation of Camp Milton and Baldwin -- battle of Gainesville.

The districts of Middle and East Florida having been united in the district of Florida and embraced in the department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, Maj.-Gen. Patton Anderson was assigned to the command of the district. He assumed control March 4, 1864. His territory was divided into sub-district No. 1, embracing all that portion of Florida between the Choctawatchee river and bay (in west Florida) and the Suwannee river, commanded by Brig.-Gen. William M. Gardner; and sub-district No. 2, embracing all of Florida east of the Suwannee river, Brig.-Gen. Joseph Finegan commanding.

General Beauregard issued special orders for disposition of forces March 5, 1864, transferring the Twenty-sixth Virginia regiment from Finegan's brigade to that commanded by Col. George P. Harrison, Jr.; the Fifty-ninth Virginia regiment from Harrison's brigade to Finegan's; the First Georgia regulars from Finegan's brigade to Colquitt's; and Capt. J. J. Dickison was ordered to proceed at once with his company to Palatka and resume his post there, and the commanding officer of the Fourth Georgia cavalry was directed to hold himself in readiness to support him with his whole command if necessary. Brigadier-General Gardner was ordered to establish the [83] military posts from Clay landing on the Suwannee river to Tampa, garrisoning the post with the troops previously occupying them, under the order of General Finegan.

Major Buist, commanding heavy artillery, was directed by Major-General Anderson to order a detachment of 85 men under his command at Madison to be armed with small-arms and posted at the Aucilla bridge as a guard for its defense, leaving the siege pieces and a sufficient guard at Madison. Col. John M. Martin was directed to proceed with troops detached from the Sixth Florida battalion to the point nearest Orange Springs, and thence by forced marches to the most favorable locality for intercepting the boat expedition of the enemy, now supposed to be operating on the Ocklawaha river, Pearson's, Westcott's and McNeill's companies to co-operate. Colonel Harris, commanding at Waldo, was directed in the event of Colonel Anderson falling back from his position to join him with all the cavalry under his command, including Captain Dickison's company. In this disposition of our forces, the most advantageous positions were taken, with a view to be ready for an immediate concentration in any emergency.

At the time Major-General Anderson assumed command the enemy occupied Jacksonville with a force estimated at about 12,000, having strong fortifications on the land side of the place and the additional defense of gunboats in the St. John's river. The Florida troops, with reinforcements from other States, numbering about 8,000 of all arms, had taken position on the west side of Mc-Girt's creek, 12 miles from Jacksonville. Under the supervision and direction of Generals Beauregard and Anderson, breastworks and stockades were constructed at this position, and similar fortifications of a more permanent character were thrown up at Baldwin, 8 miles in the rear of McGirt's creek, and at the intersection of the railroads running from Fernandina to Cedar Keys and from Jacksonville to Lake City. For a time there were many [84] indications which gave promise of an advance of the Federals, and every preparation was made to meet them at McGirt's creek in the first place, or in the event they should turn that position, then at Baldwin, where it was believed a successful defense might be made against a superior force.

Our effective force operating near Jacksonville was, infantry 6,290, cavalry 1,568, artillery 487. BrigadierGen-eral Gardner, by vigorous measures with the limited force at his command, assisted by civilians, had by this time succeeded to a great extent in suppressing the lawlessness of the bands of deserters and disloyal persons, restoring quiet and establishing a sense of security within the threatened settlements. Preparations were also made for similar measures against such bands in south Florida, whenever a sufficient force could be safely detached from our main force, then confronting superior numbers at Jacksonville.

To prevent the enemy's gunboats from so defiantly navigating the St. John's a number of torpedoes were planted in the channel of the river, 15 miles above Jacksonville, through the skill and energy of Capt. E. Pliny Bryan, of General Beauregard's staff, and the enemy's communication with the garrison at Palatka was rendered precarious. Therefore, another advance not being probable, it was deemed practicable to make a vigorous assault upon Palatka, the movement being greatly encouraged by the fact that one of the largest transports, while descending the river from Palatka, exploded a torpedo and sunk in three fathoms of water. A section of artillery, under Lieutenant Gamble, supported by infantry under Captain Grieve, First Georgia regulars, was sent to complete the wreck, and firing a few rounds at that portion above water, Captain Bryan with two men boarded her and set fire to her upper works. She proved to be the steamer Maple Leaf with the camp and garrison equipage of three regiments, recently arrived at Jacksonville and hurried up to [85] Palatka. A few weeks later the transport Hunter, on a return trip from Picolata, having on board quartermaster supplies, was also destroyed by a torpedo near the wreck of the Maple Leaf.

An aggressive movement being determined upon, General Finegan was directed to proceed by rail from Baldwin to Waldo with about 2,500 infantry and six pieces of artillery; thence by nearest route to Palatka, which place he was to attack and carry, after which he was to be governed by circumstances and await further orders. Between Waldo and Palatka he was to be joined by Colonel Martin, Sixth Florida battalion, with about 450 infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, Fourth Georgia cavalry, with the same number of cavalry. On account of the condition of transportation by rail from Baldwin to Waldo, he was provokingly detained, consuming more hours than miles traveled, so that when he was to have begun the assault at Palatka he had not been able to move his command from Waldo, 38 miles distant. Our scout on the river bringing in information that a large reinforcement of infantry and cavalry had arrived at Jacksonville, it was deemed prudent to recall General Finegan and hold all our available force to meet any attempt on the part of the enemy. On April 13th Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick was ordered to scout the country on his left and front, round Broward's neck and Yellow bluff, with the view of discovering if the enemy was making any movement from that quarter; and Col. R. H. Anderson, commanding the cavalry force in front, was directed to send Captain Dickison's company immediately to Palatka and take position as formerly and report to Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, Fourth Georgia cavalry, at Waldo. Under this special order and information that the enemy had passed up the river toward Palatka, Company H, Second Florida cavalry, 145 strong, was sent with all haste to that point. On their arrival they ascertained that the enemy had landed with 5,000 men. Captain [86] Dickison reported to Colonel Harris asking for reinforcements, and the latter moved his command, about 125 effective men, to Sweetwater branch, 12 miles from Palatka. Scouts were-sent out and reported that the enemy occupied the town. A detachment of the Fourth Georgia cavalry was ordered to support Captain Dickison in driving in the pickets and ascertaining their position and strength, which was soon accomplished, and three pickets with their horses captured. Simple as was this capture, the event was marked by a daring that gave luster to the heroic deed.

The enemy were strongly fortified and remained in Palatka nearly six weeks. During this occupation of the town our cavalry frequently skirmished with them, and with untiring vigilance awaited results. A detachment of 16 men under Captain Dickison, on one occasion was met by a superior force of the enemy, and after a hot skirmish which lasted forty minutes, holding their position without giving an inch, the enemy was reinforced and our men fell back in good order without loss. The enemy's loss was 5 killed and 8 wounded. A few days after we drove in their pickets and took position on the hill overlooking the town. Lieutenant McEaddy was sent to ascertain the true position of the enemy's pickets, and a secret night expedition was planned to capture the post, which proved successful, the entire guard of 8 men being captured. Subsequently Colonel Tabb, now in command at Waldo, ordered Captain Dickison to make a reconnoissance. this was done and the enemy opened fire on our advance guard. The firing soon became general; the enemy sent forward two regiments, one white and one colored, which were held in check for about four hours. Night coming on, the enemy withdrew, with a loss of 11 killed and 22 captured. Our troops then retired in good order without any loss, though the enemy outnumbered them eight to one. On April 22d, in conveying notice of his relief by Col. J. M. Martin, Sixth Florida battalion, Colonel Tabb [87] expressed to Captain Dickison ‘the high appreciation in which you and your command are held. The faithfulness, promptness and superior judgment which you have at all times manifested, give assurance of those soldierly qualities which inspire confidence and command respect and admiration everywhere.’

The following communications from Adjutant-General Barth to Captain Dickison commanding, will give a clearer idea of the stirring events that followed and the operations of this gallant command:

April 30th—The enemy, about a regiment strong, are reported as being at Fort Butler in Volusia county on the evening of the 28th inst. The major-general commanding desires that you be on your guard and ready for any emergency.

May 3d—Your dispatch of the 30th ult. relative to the enemy being at Fort Butler was received last evening, and the major-general commanding directs me to say that your dispositions as detailed therein are fully approved.

May 11th—Another company is ordered to report to you. Major-General Anderson approves your suggestions and directs that you strike the enemy whenever you have an opportunity of doing so to advantage.

May 17th—Capt. J. W. Pearson's company is ordered to leave Orange Springs. This change will render it necessary for you to watch the approaches to Marion and Sumter counties.

In obedience to these instructions Captain Dickison, accompanied by two of his men, reconnoitered near the enemy's post on the river side opposite Welaka; and the next day at sundown, with a detachment of 35 men of his command, accompanied by Capt. H. A. Gray, Second Florida cavalry, with 25 of his command, marched 9 miles before reaching the St. John's river. Under cover of night they crossed the river in their small boats, then marched 7 miles to reach the enemy's post. At daybreak they arrived at Welaka. Placing two detachments on the flank of the enemy, Dickison moved in on the center with a detachment, capturing the pickets and completely [88] surprising the enemy. He then sent in a demand to the officer commanding for an unconditional surrender, which was complied with. Being advised that a large cavalry force was not far distant, no time was lost in returning to the boats and recrossing the river, with a capture of 62 men, 1 captain and 1 lieutenant, without having fired a gun. After crossing the river, feeling assured all was safe, a needed rest was taken.

Having planned another expedition, 15 miles up the river to Fort Butler, and having transportation for not more than 25 men, he set out with this heroic little band and his gallant Lieutenant McEaddy. He crossed little Lake George and, leaving a guard of three men with the boats, marched a short distance. Anticipating another capture, Captain Dickison wrote demanding the surrender of the Federal command. While thus engaged, a cavalryman rode from a farmhouse near by and was within 50 yards of our men before he was seen by our picket. The men were ordered not to fire and a vigorous pursuit was made, one detachment of 12 men under Sergt. Charles Dickison—son of the captain—following in the direction of the house, while the other detachment under Captain Dickison pursued the horseman down the road, but he succeeded in making his escape. Captain Dickison then made a rapid advance with his detachment on the enemy's post, 2 miles distant, the location being shown by a bright camp fire. Moving cautiously within two hundred yards Lieutenant McEaddy was sent forward with a demand for surrender. The captain in command held a short parley, and very reluctantly complied.

Apprehending the possibility of a revolt when the Federals should see that they had surrendered a garrison of 26 infantry and 6 cavalry to a small detachment of Confederates without firing a gun, the captured arms were secured and given in charge of two men, with orders to push off without delay. By this capture 12 slaves and 2 farm wagons were recovered. Captain Dickison recrossed [89] the river and arrived at headquarters at o o'clock the next morning. The detachment under Sergeant Dickison marched 15 miles down the swamp to avoid the Federal cavalry, and reached the camp next evening, shouts of welcome greeting them on their safe return from their perilous and tiresome march. The following announcement of this spirited exploit was made by General Anderson:

‘The major-general commanding has great pleasure in announcing to the troops under his command the result of a gallant expedition against the enemy's detached posts, undertaken on the 19th inst. by Capt. J. J. Dickison, Second Florida cavalry. Crossing the St. John's river in small boats, Captain Dickison surprised and captured the enemy's garrisons at Welaka and Fort Butler, taking 88 infantry and 6 cavalry, with the arms and equipments, and returning with his brave command safely to their camp, bringing in the whole capture, after an absence of forty-four hours, during which time they traveled 85 miles and effected the results herein detailed without the loss of a man. Such an exploit attests more emphatically the soldierly qualities of the gallant men and their skillful leader who achieved it than any commendation it would be possible to give. The major-general commanding feels, however, that his thanks are due them, and, while thus publicly rendering the tribute so justly due, indulges in the confident hope that every officer and soldier in his district will emulate the patriotic endurance and daring displayed by Captain Dickison and his command.’

On May 24th General Anderson assigned still more extended duties to this command, advising Captain Dickison of ‘inability to picket Green Cove Springs and Bayard with any other forces than those you command. He therefore directs that you picket these points.’

The withdrawal of a large number of troops from Jacksonville to join the Federal forces concentrating in South Carolina and Virginia, afforded Major-General Anderson the opportunity so long desired of sending a command [90] to south Florida to the support of the few scattered companies who were so bravely defending the wide extent of country along the Gulf coast against the destructive raiding parties that were continually alarming the citizens by ruthless invasion of their homes—plundering the plantations, carrying off slaves and destroying valuable property. On account of the difficult access of our troops to this more distant part of the State, without railroad facilities, an expedition to that field was one attended with great inconvenience and fatigue, and could not have been undertaken while threatened by so formidable a force of the enemy in front. But the time for action in this department had come, and for such purpose the Sixty-fourth regiment Georgia volunteers was detached. Lieut.--Col. Theodore Brevard, of the Second Florida battalion, familiar with the country and citizens, and upon whose judgment, skill and courage reliance could be placed, was assigned to the command of the expedition. His instructions were of a general character—to repel the advance of raiding parties, arrest deserters, punish and drive out plunderers, and to afford every assistance in his power to the agents of the government whose duty it was to collect beef cattle for the army.

He had proceeded only a little over 100 miles, reaching the borders of the field of operations, when urgent orders reached headquarters which caused the immediate recall of the regiment for service in South Carolina. As soon, however, as new dispositions could be made and transportation obtained, another force—Bonaud's battalion—was sent to the same quarter under Lieutenant-Colonel Brevard. Much good was derived from the expedition, generally by reason of the protection afforded by it to the agents of the commissary department, in collecting supplies for the army, as well as the confidence its presence inspired in loyal citizens and planters, whose property was in constant danger from lawless bands.

On the 15th of April, 1864, the enemy began sending [91] troops away by sea to Hilton Head, and continued to do so until the 12th of May, when it was estimated that 8,000 Federal soldiers had been withdrawn from Jacksonville. Meanwhile, Major-General Anderson was directed by the commanding general at Charleston to transfer to Savannah the Eleventh and Eighteenth South Carolina volunteers, Twenty-sixth and Fifty-ninth Virginia and Sixty-fourth Georgia regiments, this depletion of our forces being unavoidable in consequence of orders from the war department transferring a large number of troops from South Carolina to Wilmington, N. C. Owing to the continued call for troops for the army in Virginia, other orders rapidly followed, and by May 8, 1864, nearly all the troops that had been sent to reinforce our Florida forces had been sent away. All the cavalry and part of the infantry and artillery marched across the country from Camp Milton through Georgia, by the most expeditious route to Savannah under the circumstances. On account of the removal of these troops from the State, the most vigorous preparations were made to so dispose of our forces that the middle and eastern portions of the State could be guarded and protected against raiding expeditions.

Orders were issued to every department to be on guard and ready for every hostile demonstration. Lieut. C. B. Dyke was ordered to report at Camp Milton without delay with the section of Gamble's battery under his command, and Lieut. Mortimer Bates, with one section of artillery from Captain Dunham's battery, was ordered to report to Captain Dickison. Our forces at this crisis were scarcely sufficient for a vigorous defense against a large invading force, and the utmost caution and vigilance were required. Sections of Gamble's and Abell's batteries were held in middle Florida awaiting the attacks which from indications were imminent. On the west side of the Chattahoochee river the country was guarded by two detachments [92] from Scott's battalion of cavalry, one independent company of cavalry and a few independent companies of infantry, assisted in every emergency by civilians, who were ever ready to fall into line.

After the bombardment of Pensacola and its subsequent evacuation, the Confederate forces, consisting of Alabama and Georgia regiments and a detachment of Florida troops, had taken strong positions a few miles from Pensacola at Pollard, Blakely and Gonzales, guarding all approaches to Mobile, Montgomery and Tallahassee against any expedition that might advance from Pensacola. Vigilance at every point was our only security at this trying crisis—one that indicated that the great conflict was rapidly determining to a momentous issue. Even in the darkest hour hope lured us on. God, the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the Universe, alone governs the destiny of nations. To man—the master work of His hand—is given dominion over earthly things, subject to His gracious overruling and by Him led to carry out His deep designs and work His will. What God has wrought let no one make the impious attempt to destroy. ‘He is His own interpreter.’

The principal problem in the summer of 1864 was to cover with the forces at our command the large area of country lying between the St. Mary's and the St. John's rivers, and the more thickly populated counties between the rivers and the Gulf coast. The Federals, still in strong force at Jacksonville under the protection of their gunboats, could advance at will into the country. Our only practicable preparation was in providing all facilities for a rapid concentration of our forces and making such dispositions of detachments of infantry and cavalry as would check and harass the enemy in his approach. The cavalry formed a valuable adjunct in such operations. Colonel Scott's battalion was in position at Camp Milton; Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick, Second Florida cavalry, in the neighborhood of Cedar creek and Front creek, with sections [93] of Dunham's and Gamble's artillery near Baldwin. Company H, Captain Dickison, and Company B, Captain Gray, were on the outposts between Green Cove Spring, Palatka and Welaka, and other exposed points along the river, with one section of Dunham's artillery. The Sixth battalion of infantry, with detachments of the First, Second and Fourth, were at and near Waldo, commanded by Colonels Hopkins, Brevard and Martin.

Lieut. Mortimer Bates, with one 12-pound howitzer and one Napoleon gun and 25 men, reported to Captain Dickison at his headquarters near Palatka, and on the next day while these officers were looking for the most favorable point on the river to engage the enemy's gunboats should they make their appearance, a courier came up in great haste from our pickets on the river below Palatka, with the exciting report that ‘the river was full of gunboats coming up.’ Our headquarters being some 3 miles from the river, Lieutenant Bates was directed to proceed with all possible speed to the camp, bring up his battery, and report to Captain Dickison on the hill overlooking Palatka and the river. Captain Gray was also directed to report with all the cavalry at the same place. Very soon the full command reported. By this time two gunboats and four transports were sighted coming up. Captain Dickison dismounted the cavalry, marched into Palatka and took position in the well-arranged intrenchments made by the enemy during their occupation of the town a short time previous. They were scarcely concealed in the breastworks when the transports moved to the east side of the river and commenced landing troops. Two regiments landed, moved out into the field, formed and marched off in full view of our men. Very soon one of the gunboats loaded with troops passed by, going up the river. Not being near enough to engage her with small-arms, every man was ordered to be quiet until she passed. This boat proved to be the Columbine. Captain Dickison then mounted 50 men and taking the artillery, Captain Gray [94] remaining in command in the breastworks, endeavored to intercept the gunboat at Brown's landing, about 3 miles distant, but was too late by five minutes to engage the boat, which continued on her way. Returning to Palatka he met a courier sent by Captain Gray with information that the gunboat Ottawa, the largest boat on the river, carrying 13 guns, two of them 200-pounder rifled guns, and one of the transports that had landed troops on the east bank, were then on their way up the river. He at once ordered his command to follow and press on rapidly to meet the boats at Brown's landing. At sundown a halt was ordered, and Lieutenant Bates unlimbered his guns and moved cautiously to the landing. The men were dismounted and ordered to take position in the swamp, to protect the artillery. At dusk they reached the wharf at the landing and the two guns were put in position. The boats were anchored not more than 200 yards from the landing. Just as we were ready to fire the enemy lighted up their boats, making them a fine target for our little battery, whose fire created great confusion on board. The admirable management of our guns gave us the advantage of 28 rounds before the enemy responded. The transport, as soon as she hoisted anchor (being badly crippled) left without firing a gun, but the Ottawa at each round poured into us a heavy broadside, aiming in the darkness at the flash of our guns. This made necessary the removal of our guns, which was done in the best order and with admirable coolness. The injury to the Ottawa was such that she did not move off for thirty hours. The report of her loss showed several killed and wounded. Not a man was hurt on our side.

The following day, the 23d of May, 1864, Captain Dickison, with Lieutenant Bates' battery and a detachment of sharpshooters from his cavalry, marched to Horse landing, 6 miles distant from the place of his engagement with the Ottawa and transport the night previous. The guns were put in position on the wharf at [95] this landing and the sharpshooters placed behind cypress trees a short distance on the left. The purpose was to capture the gunboat Columbine, which had passed up the river the night before. At 3 o'clock in the evening she came in sight, and Captain Dickison cautioned his men to be cool and not fire without orders. The boat moved slowly on and though bearing dread missiles of destruction was truly a ‘thing of beauty.’ She was allowed to come within sixty yards before a gun was fired. The wildest confusion ensued. By the time she was opposite our guns we were ready to fire again. By this round the boat was disabled and floated down the river about 200 yards from our battery and 100 yards from our sharpshooters, striking a sand bar. Then a hot fire ensued, the enemy having two fine 32-pounder rifle guns and 148 men with small arms, but after forty-five minutes she hoisted her flag of surrender. Only 66 of the 148 men were found alive when Lieutenant Bates went aboard to receive the surrender, and of this number one-third were wounded. Several of them died that night. The officers were all killed or wounded excepting the commanding officer. This officer informed Captain Dickison that his first lieutenant, who was killed, was one of the best officers in the navy. He requested to be permitted to bring the remains of this officer to Dickison's headquarters for interment, and that his winding sheet should be one of the three captured United States flags—which request was granted. Never did a command fight with more gallantry than our artillery and sharpshooters in this daring affair, every man displaying remarkable coolness and bravery. There was not a casualty on our side.

After removing the prisoners and the dead, the arms, etc., at sundown Captain Dickison ordered the boat burned, as it was impossible to save her from the enemy, several gunboats being in the river below. The Columbine was almost entirely new, and considered a very fast and superior boat. The orders from Major-General Foster captured [96] on the Columbine explained the Federal movements. The gunboats were ordered to guard each landing, to keep a lookout for sharpshooters and to use all means to prevent Dickison from crossing the river, while the two regiments were to scour the country for his command on the east side of the river, where he had only a few days previous captured two posts.

On reporting this victory Captain Dickison was handsomely complimented by the major-general commanding, and was directed to retain for himself one of the captured swords, reserving the next best for Lieutenant Bates, of the artillery. He returned to his headquarters near Palatka, and during the month of June and part of July the command continued to perform effective service, frequently engaging in skirmishes with detachments of the enemy and capturing their pickets.

Emboldened by their numerical strength and the fact of our having so wide an extent of country to guard with greatly reduced forces, the enemy marched from their intrenchments at Yellow bluff to make an assault on Lieut.-Col. A. H. McCormick's command. The latter reported regarding this affair substantially as follows:

On the 13th of July scouts from Tucknett's point reported that six vessels had arrived at Jacksonville the day before, but owing to the distance they could not ascertain whether they were loaded or not. At daylight on the same day the enemy advanced upon our pickets on Cedar creek at the railroad, but made no further demonstration in that direction. A scout from Broward's neck reported that two of our scouts, Turner and Houston, of Second Florida cavalry, had been captured by the Tyson's (tories). We afterward found they had been brutally murdered. On the 14th it was ascertained that quite a large force of cavalry had landed at Broward's neck, and advanced as far as Neill Turner's. Lieutenant Cone, who was then at Higginbotham, with a detachment of 25 men, and who was promptly advised of their advance, reported [97] them to be in considerable force. He remained at his post watching their movements until early the next morning, when Captain McElvey, of the Fifth Florida cavalry battalion, joined him with 30 additional men. He found about 40 of their cavalry, who retreated rapidly before him. He pursued them until he learned that a body of infantry had landed up Trout creek, and was marching in his rear. He then fell back to Hall's branch and skirmished with them until he was flanked by the infantry. He withdrew to Little Trout creek and then to Higginbotham's, and here he skirmished with them until he was almost surrounded. He then retired down the road leading off direct to Baldwin, covering all the approaches with his pickets. The enemy now rested at Higginbotham's and put out infantry pickets; while Captain McElvey camped near Green's plantation on the Baldwin road. The enemy now being in the rear of our pickets on the line of Cedar creek, Major Scott, who commanded at Camp Milton, called them in with his whole command to the junction of the roads leading from Higginbotham and Camp Milton to Baldwin, about 2 miles from Baldwin. During the skirmishing referred to, the enemy were reinforced with 80 cavalry and two pieces of artillery. Their infantry force was composed entirely of negroes. Our left at Camp Milton being now turned, it was deemed best to concentrate our force around Baldwin for its defense, leaving Captain McElvey with 55 men near Higginbotham's to watch their movements. On the morning of the 16th, 50 mounted men were sent down under Captain Gwynn to relieve Captain McElvey's command, which had been without forage for more than twenty-four hours.

Acting under instructions from Major Scott, Captains McElvey and Gwynn, before the former withdrew his command, made a joint reconnoissance for the purpose of attacking the enemy should they find he was not too strongly fortified. They soon found that it was impossible to dislodge him, even with our whole force. The enemy, [98] however, showed no signs of advancing during the day, but held his position firmly. On the morning of the 17th Captain Simmons, Second Florida cavalry, was sent down with 50 men to relieve Captain Gwynn's command. During the day, while our cavalry was confronting them, their cavalry under Major Fox dashed up the north end of the King's road to Callahan and burned two flat-cars loaded with railroad iron and Mr. Jones' house, carrying off his horses. On this raid they arrested Joseph Hagans and Washington Broward, citizens, and carried off Mr. Geiger's negroes and burned the house of Joel Wingate. They also carried off the horses of Elijah Higginbotham. About 100 negro troops accompanied this raiding party as far as Thomas' swamp. Reliable citizens whom they visited on the route to Callahan state that they had 125 cavalry and 100 infantry negroes. All the damage done on this raid was accomplished in one day, the distance being very short from the line of the road to Broward's neck to Callahan. On the night of the 17th Captain Dunham arrived at Baldwin with 84 effective men. I also received instructions from you to attack the enemy next morning at daybreak with my whole force, if I did not consider them too strong; and if so, to send for Captain Rou's command and act on the defensive. I was satisfied they were too strong for me, and especially in the position they occupied. I accordingly telegraphed for Rou's command and determined to attack the enemy as soon as it arrived. Two trestles about 12 miles from Baldwin having been burned during that night the train from Gainesville could not come through, and the companies of reserves did not reach me until the 18th.

Meanwhile I had sent Major Scott with his entire effective cavalry force, 200 in the saddle, to feel the strength of the enemy and to ascertain if there had been any change in his position. He found upon arriving at Higginbotham that the enemy had retired in the direction of Yellow bluff. He was delayed some time in crossing Trout creek, [99] the bridge being burned, compelling him to cross a ford higher up. He reports that from the appearance of their camps their force must have been larger than had been reported. He did not come up with the enemy, they having taken to their boats. Major Scott then returned with his command, and on the 19th reoccupied Camp Milton and re-established his videttes on the line of Cedar creek. It is but due to Captains McElvey and Gwynn and Lieutenant Cone, who were sent to watch the enemy, to say that I consider their statements entirely reliable. They are cool, intelligent and discreet officers, and gentlemen of unquestioned veracity.

It was the determined purpose of the general commanding at Hilton Head to make such vigorous advances in the interior of Florida with overwhelming forces, that our troops would be forced, after a desperate resistance, to surrender or retire into Georgia and fall in with our army concentrating there. ‘His dream at midnight in his guarded tent’ was of the hour when Florida, her knee in suppliance bent, should tremble at his power. But the trophies of a conqueror were not for him. Florida's beautiful capital, Tallahassee—the rose garden of the State, the city of fairest women—was never captured. The enemy held every place on our Atlantic coast, and at Key West, a Gibraltar for them, their fleet could be reinforced at will and expeditions sent out to bombard every important town and city on the Gulf coast. Once obtaining possession of east Florida their victory would be complete, and soon the entire State would be under Federal authority.

About the 15th of July, indications pointing to an advance of the enemy toward Cedar creek and Camp Milton, Captain Dickison was ordered to report with his command at the headquarters of the general commanding. On the march he was overtaken by a courier from his pickets on the river, with the information that the enemy had landed a large force at Palatka. Sending his men forward [100] under Captain Gray he promptly returned to his encampment, verified the report, and hurried a dispatch to headquarters, requesting the commanding officer to return his command at once, that he might hold the enemy in check and prevent an invasion of the interior. Meanwhile he took a small detachment from Captain Rou's company, under Lieutenant Dell, and with 15 of his pickets made a reconnoissance, meeting a battalion of cavalry, which with greatly superior force pushed him back, captured three of his pickets and took possession of his camp. Captain Dickison then sent to Orange Springs for Capt. W. A. Owens' command of militia, and late that evening Company H returned. Next morning Captain Dickison moved forward cautiously, sending Lieutenant McEaddy in advance, who soon reported the presence of the enemy. Presently his advance encountered the enemy's rear guard and a hot skirmish commenced. Very soon Captain Dickison was up with the main force of the enemy, consisting of one battalion of well mounted cavalry, about 280 strong, armed with Spencer rifles, six shooting navy pistols and sabers. Scorning all odds, charge after charge was made by our brave men, the enemy giving way sullenly. They were 6 miles from Palatka, at which place they had a large force of infantry and artillery, not less than 3,000 or 4,000 strong; but our little band of determined men continued to press on, driving back the ruthless invaders of our homes, killing, wounding and capturing them, until the hill overlooking the city of Palatka was reached.

Captain Dickison with about 30 men was engaged in a hand-to-hand fight, the rest of the command having charge of prisoners, when the commanding officer of the Federals ordered them to cease firing. This indicated a surrender, and the Federals, coming down from a half-speed to a walk, threw our men more than half way down the enemy's lines. Dickison, believing it a surrender, ordered his men to cease firing, and dashed down the line to prevent any escape. Just at this critical moment the enemy [101] opened a deadly fire, and Sergt. Charlie Dickison, son of the captain, was shot through the heart. He with four of his brave comrades were on the opposite side of the enemy's column. As he fell from his horse, Sergeant Crews, a gallant young soldier, sprang from his horse and clasped him in his arms, calling to the captain that his son was killed. At this time the enemy's column moved, and as they passed, Captain Dickison advanced toward his dying son and received him from his grief-stricken comrades. This noble youth, his heart-blood flowing from his wound, still breathed but never spoke again. Peacefully resting on the bosom of his beloved father, his pure spirit took its heavenward flight to that bright world where his angel mother awaited him with rapturous welcome. The victory was no price for such a loss. With the heaviness of a sorely wounded spirit, the bereaved father carried the lifeless form of his beloved one, on horseback, to the encampment 6 miles distant. The mournful cavalcade proceeded 6 miles before transportation could be secured, and then Captain Dickison, stifling the cries of nature, made a detail of six of his brave boys, under Sergeant Crews, and confided the precious remains of his first-born to their care, to be conveyed to the ladies of Orange Springs as a sacred trust, while he remained at his post to keep watch over the enemy.

That night the Federal forces evacuated Palatka, taking with them a number of their wounded. The next day we buried their dead. Their loss was 14 killed, about 30 wounded, and 28 captured; our loss 1 killed and 1 wounded. The bold and dashing advance of the Confederates no doubt convinced the Federals it was the advance of a large force that would attack them the next day, and caused their hasty retreat. Our troops took possession of the town and held it several weeks. This victory added fresh glory to Dickison's command, and inspired in them the hope of future brilliant achievements to be crowned with like success. [102]

By instructions of Gen. Braxton Bragg, Maj.-Gen. Patton Anderson was directed to report to General Hood for duty in the field, and he left Florida on the 26th of July, 1864. On his arrival at Atlanta he was assigned to command of his old division. Gen. John K. Jackson was ordered to the command of the district of Florida, and he remained on duty until the 30th of September, when he was succeeded by Gen. William Miller, of the First regiment of Florida volunteers, who had been relieved from duty as commandant of conscripts. Encouraged by the success of the expedition against our posts at Cedar creek and Camp Milton, another, more formidable, was attempted and successfully carried out by the Federals, who ascended the St. John's river 25 miles to Black creek and there landed their troops. While crossing the south fork of the creek they were met by our cavalry acting as dismounted skirmishers, and three of the enemy were seriously wounded. Major Scott with 98 men bravely contested the Federal advance, but they pushed on to Darby's still, 5 miles in rear of Baldwin, compelling our forces to fall back to the St. Mary's river. The enemy took possession of Baldwin and held that important post until their defeat a few weeks later at the battle of Gainesville, when they retired to their intrenchments at Jacksonville.

These operations are fully described in the report of August 15th by Lieut.-Col. A. H. McCormick:

On July 23d, Maj. G. W. Scott, commanding outposts, reported that five transports with troops had gone up the St. John's river and were supposed to be landing them at the mouth of Black creek. I immediately ordered him to send a scout in that direction, which was promptly done. We soon learned, however, from other sources, that a large body of the enemy were in the neighborhood of Middleburg, and were probably making their way to Starke or Trail ridge on the Florida railroad. Major Scott was then directed to move with his whole cavalry force, leaving his pickets on the line of Cedar creek and a guard at [103] Camp Milton, to meet the enemy and check his progress. Accordingly, on the night of the 23d, Major Scott with 98 men moved down near Middleburg, and on the next day met and repulsed from 200 to 500 of their infantry, driving them across the creek. He then fell back about 5 miles to a creek to obtain a more advantageous position and to guard other approaches, and there camped for the night. Early next morning he was preparing to move against them when their infantry attacked his pickets. He sent forward skirmishers and drew them on, while he withdrew his main force to the west side of the creek to make a stand there. The enemy's cavalry dashed upon our skirmishers so suddenly and rapidly that they succeeded in capturing one man and driving the rest back. He learned upon crossing the creek that a body of cavalry had passed around to his rear during the night, by a road he was not advised of, and were making their way to Baldwin or some point on the Florida railroad; and fearing from the exposed condition of Baldwin that they would capture it, he moved his command with the utmost dispatch to that place. It was soon ascertained that they had crossed the railroad at Trail ridge, and, tearing up about 30 feet of the track, had passed in the direction of the St. Mary's trestle. We soon received information that they had burned the trestle and captured Lieutenant Packard and four men of the guard on duty at that place. I had already ordered Captain McElvey, of the Fifth battalion Florida cavalry, who was left in command at Camp Milton, to withdraw his pickets from Cedar creek and fall back to Baldwin. Had also dispatched a train for Captain Spencer's company of reserves and the working party on the Florida railroad engaged in taking up the iron from Callahan. I now determined to defend Baldwin, notwithstanding communication with Lake City was broken; for though our supplies were only for twenty-four hours, we had possession of an engine and train, and provisions could have been shipped us from the St. Mary's trestle, if carried to the [104] trestle on this side. At that time I supposed that the force in our rear was not more than 80 men, and that they had probably retired after burning the trestle. Meanwhile Captain Cone and Lieutenant Reddick, in command of separate detachments, had been sent to the rear for the purpose of getting fuller information. They left about 3 p.m. After night it was discovered that two other trestles between the St. Mary's and Baldwin were also on fire, and soon the guard at those points reported that the enemy had fired them. It was then apparent that the force had not retired from our rear, and also that our source of supplies was effectually destroyed, even should we succeed in driving them back. Up to 2 o'clock a. m. on the 26th, I could hear nothing from Captain Cone or Lieutenant Reddick, which led to the belief that they were either captured or cut off by a larger force than at first reported, which latter proved to be true. My force at Baldwin consisted of 216 cavalry under Major Scott, Captain Spencer's company of reserves, about 40 on duty, and Captain Villepigue's battery of four guns. At the hour referred to I called a council of officers and we determined to evacuate Baldwin and move by way of Brandy branch and Lang's ferry, on the Big St. Mary's, to this position on the west side of the south prong of that river.

The whole command moved from Baldwin at 3 o'clock a. m. on the 26th, and crossed Brandy branch at 6 p. m. Here our pickets reported that the enemy's cavalry were in pursuit. The command was immediately put in position to receive them, and soon about 100 cavalry made their appearance, but after five or six shots from Captain Villepigue's battery and a few rounds from our skirmishers they retired. We then crossed the St. Mary's at Lang's ferry, and on Thursday, the 28th, the command arrived and took position at this place. I have since learned that on the night of the 25th three regiments of negroes, one of whites, one of cavalry, and four pieces of artillery reached Darby's still, six miles west of Baldwin. [105]

I have to report the following loss in prisoners: Lieut. D. M. Packard, Second Florida cavalry, and 3 men on guard at St. Mary's trestle; Assistant Surgeon Wilson and Sergeant Carrol, Captain Villepigue's company, and Private Pendarvis, Company K, Second Florida cavalry; Sergeant Denham, Fifth cavalry battalion, and 2 men on scout in direction of Trail ridge; Private J. E. Purdom, Company B, Second Florida cavalry, on a scout; Private Roche, Company G, Second Florida cavalry, wounded and captured in action at Black creek—making a loss of 2 officers and 10 privates.

On the 13th of August, 1864, Captain Dickison was given command of all the State troops called into service by virtue of the provisions of general orders from the adjutant and inspector's office, Tallahassee, July 30th. After the fight at Palatka, Company H, Second Florida cavalry, continued to perform heavy picket duty on the St. John's river, frequently engaging in skirmishes with the enemy. On the morning of August 15th a simultaneous movement was made by the Federals from Jacksonville and Green Cove Springs with a force of about 5,000 negro infantry, several batteries of artillery, and 400 cavalry. They advanced on our forces near Baldwin, driving them across the Little Suwannee, made a flank movement in the direction of Lake City up to Fort Butler in Bradford county, thence flanking around to Starke, a small town on the railroad 14 miles north of Waldo, where they plundered the town and citizens. Captain Dickison had encamped at Waldo, but the raiders having cut the telegraph wires and torn up the railroad track, no communication could be held with the Confederate forces at and near Lake City. At sundown, Captain Rou with a detachment of his company, Second Florida cavalry, came up to Waldo and reported the enemy at Starke. They remained there but a short time and moved on, flanking Dickison's command about 10 miles below. Just at dark Mr. Boulware and Dr. McCrea came with haste to our [106] headquarters, reporting the enemy in large force at their plantations, burning Boulware's mill, gin house and other buildings, with about 60 bales of cotton. Captain Dickison immediately prepared to follow them with about 130 cavalry: Company H, about 25 of Captain Starke's company from the Fifth battalion of cavalry, and one section of artillery under command of Lieutenant Bruton, about 90 infantry, new recruits who had reported to Captain Dickison, and Captain Rou's detachment of about 30 men. In all, our cavalry force consisted of about 180 men. The infantry moved out on the road leading to Gainesville under Colonel Earle, staff officer of Governor Milton, while Captain Dickison pushed forward with the cavalry and artillery. The enemy's cavalry, with one piece of artillery, moved through the country in the direction of Gainesville, leaving in their camps near the Boulware plantation 5,000 negro infantry and several sections of artillery. Concluding the latter were there for the night, Dickison followed the raiding party with great rapidity, the enemy occasionally stopping at the plantations and farmhouses on the line of march, taking with them all the negroes, horses and mules. They completely sacked Col. Edward Lewis' plantation, carrying off all the negroes, about 125 in number. Mrs. Lewis, who was alone on the plantation—her husband and son with our command—on hearing of the advance of the enemy, had four large plantation wagons loaded with her most valuable furniture, bedding, clothing, etc, ordering her teamsters to put in four mules to each wagon and drive them to a place of safety in the woods near by. As soon as the Federals came up, by fierce and cruel threats the slaves were intimidated and gave information where the wagons were concealed. They were ordered to drive them on and for all the negroes to follow. Just at daylight Captain Dickison rode up with his advance. Mrs. Lewis met him down the avenue and in heart-thrilling words told of her great loss. She had been robbed of everything, only [107] one decrepit slave left, who was not able to follow the others. Captain Dickison sent down his line for Mr. Lewis and requested him to remain with Mrs. Lewis. With lofty patriotism she said, ‘Go on with the command and do your duty and help avenge this invasion of our homes.’ We record with proper pride that by 10 o'clock that night all of her property, excepting one carriage horse killed, was safely returned.

Learning that the enemy was moving on to Gainesville, 12 miles distant, Captain Dickison continued his march. At this time Capt. W. A. Owens, with a detachment of 15 of the State militia, joined the force. This gallant soldier was one of the first citizens in Marion county in the organization of the Marion Light Dragoons. His health failing, he was compelled to resign, but he soon secured a commission as captain of militia and enrolled a small force of such as were not able to be in the regular service. After the war closed, he said that as he rode by his side on this occasion, Captain Dickison with deep feeling said to him: ‘We will meet the enemy very soon; we must win this fight or the country is gone. I can see in my brave men a determination to sacrifice their lives or win the fight, and I know they will win it. They have seen their homes invaded and the sore distress of their helpless families and neighbors. Such men may be killed, but never conquered.’

As Dickison rode on with his advance—his surgeon, Dr. J. A. Williams, by his side—he saw in the distance the enemy's rear guard near Gainesville. When within one mile of Gainesville he formed his line for the fight. Lieutenant Bruton was directed to throw two shells into the enemy's line. The enemy held the railroad at each crossing and were in the depot, and Dickison, dismounting most of his men, ordered a detachment under Captain Rou and Lieutenant McCardell to move up on the left and take the depot, while Lieutenant McEaddy with a mounted platoon on the right flank and Lieutenant [108] Dozier in the center advanced and drove the enemy from the road. Our artillery was in the rear, shelling with good effect, and the enemy's artillery was near Beville's hotel shelling our battery at a furious rate. Soon the Federals were driven from the depot, and with our small arms we got a cross-fire on their guns, killing every horse but one in the caisson. The fight grew very exciting, the right and left closing in around the town. After a fierce resistance of about two hours the enemy began to give way and our gallant men charging them on all sides they were soon in full retreat in two columns. At this time Captain Dickison dashed through the streets, calling to his men to mount their horses and follow, which was quickly done—the enemy scattering along the roads and through the woods, pursued on every side by our brave boys. The pursuit continued as far as Newnansville, 15 miles distant, many being killed and captured on the road. Their main column, with one piece of artillery, led by Colonel Harris, of the Seventy-fifth Ohio, was followed by Dickison and his command, who captured the gun one mile from town, in front of Dr. McCrea's residence. It was supposed that Colonel Harris' command had been reduced to 40 men during the pursuit. They had gone about 4 miles when they were met by a scouting party of 4 men who had been sent out the day previous to ascertain the movements of the enemy, and returning to our camp that morning found the command gone. Hearing our artillery in the direction of Gainesville they pressed on to the scene of action, and at a most opportune time passed through a long lane that turned abruptly to the right and there met 30 men with one lieutenant in full retreat, coming upon them before either saw the other. These 4 daring young soldiers demanded a surrender, which was immediately made, the enemy naturally supposing they were the advance of a reinforcement on the way to Captain Dickison. The prisoners were ordered to throw down their arms. Just then [109] Colonel Harris was seen riding up with 10 men. Sergeant. Poer, who was in command of this daring little party, dashed off through the woods, ordering his prisoners to follow, and giving orders to his men to fire upon the first man who refused to obey. The colonel, seeing the capture of his men, made no attempt to rescue them, but turned in an opposite direction, around a plantation, and with a small remnant of his command made his escape and reached the negro troops he had left at Boulware plantation the night before, and a general retreat was ordered to their headquarters at Green Cove Springs on the St. John's river. Sergeant Poer, with his invincible command of three heroic boys, brought in their prisoners that evening to our headquarters at Gainesville.

On Captain Dickison's return to Gainesville he found some 200 prisoners, several of them commissioned officers. The only officer who escaped to tell the story of their defeat was Colonel Harris. The major commanding the Fourth Massachusetts battalion of cavalry, with two of his men, who were making their escape on foot, their horses having been killed in the fight, were captured when they had nearly reached the St. John's river, about 50 miles from Gainesville. They were brought to Captain Dickison, who met the major, whose name was Fox, and said pleasantly, ‘Major Fox, how is it you allow the “Gray Fox” to outrun and capture the Red Fox?’ It was well known that this officer with his fine battalion had been sent on the St. John's river especially to capture Captain Dickison, but he suffered the fate of similar expeditions. One hundred and seventy-five men of the Confederate command were in the fight. The remainder did not come up until the fight in the town was over, after which they scoured the country, doing most valuable service in capturing the enemy for more than 40 miles from Gainesville. There were 52 of the Federals killed in the town. It was never correctly learned how many were killed in the retreat to the river. The [110] prisoners captured, including a number of officers, were about 300, many of them badly wounded. Several hundred stand of arms, one fine 12-pound howitzer and 260 horses fell into our hands. Our loss was 3 men killed and 5 wounded, of whom 2 died the next day. Several wagons were recovered that had been stolen in the raid, loaded with the plunder collected, some of it valuable silver plate; also 200 slaves that had been carried off from the plantations. This property was carefully guarded and turned over to the proper owners.

The plan of the enemy, as shown by the orders captured, was to march the next day with the 5,000 negro troops and several sections of artillery into Gainesville, confident of the successful occupation of the town by their large cavalry force. If such had been their success they would have secured several thousand bales of fine sea island cotton as a rich prize, and untold horrors would have been enacted in desolated homes. But they failed, for our heroes were fighting for their homes and all that was dear to them in life, and their battle-cry, ‘Victory or Death,’ sent terror into the hearts of the invaders.

This victory saved east and south Florida. The counties of Bradford, Alachua, Marion, Levy and Hernando, lying between the St. John's river and the Gulf of Mexico, were known by the enemy to be among the most valuable portions of the State, owing to the almost inexhaustible supplies of sugar, syrup, cattle, with oranges, lemons, limes, arrowroot and other semi-tropical productions, which were of inestimable value to the State and the Confederacy. Our largest and most productive interest—sea island cotton—and the immense supplies of corn and forage, made it of the highest importance that this wide extent of country should be closely watched and the advances of the enemy checked, preventing widespread desolation and the carrying off of the slaves, who were the only able-bodied tillers of the soil, and better fitted for field work than the white man. [111]

Too high an estimate cannot be placed upon the importance of the great responsibility resting upon the gallant men whose duty it was to be a living bulwark between the enemy and the helpless families whose homes were imperiled. Only by the most untiring vigilance of our patriotic soldiery could the inestimable resources of our beautiful peninsula be preserved and rendered available to their utmost capacity. Truly did they immortalize themselves in the proud victory won at the battle of Gainesville. The general commanding at Charleston conveyed to Captain Dickison his congratulations, and stated that he took pleasure ‘in bringing this and several other instances of gallantry on the part of yourself and noble command to the notice of the President, and in recommending you for that promotion which your repeated acts of good service so justly entitle you to receive. He begs that you will make known to your officers and men his appreciation of their gallantry and good service.’

Gen. Sam. Jones, commanding the district of Florida, in a letter to Adjt.-Gen. Samuel Cooper, asked that Captain Dickison be given adequate rank, so that he could take command of the cavalry in Florida, and added, ‘I have reason to believe that the name of Captain Dickison is held in great terror by the enemy. A surgeon who was captured at Baldwin, and who has since been exchanged, reported that the forces of General Birney were kept in a constant state of dread lest Dickison should come upon them.’ Gen. J. K. Jackson, in General Orders No. 44, said: ‘With pride and pleasure the brigadier-general commanding announces to the troops of this district the brilliant victory of Capt. J. J. Dickison and the forces under his command. After a forced march from Waldo they met the enemy at Gainesville, and undaunted by the superiority of his numbers, attacked and completely routed him. This unparalleled success merits for the gallant little band in south Florida the everlasting gratitude of their countrymen, whose homes and honor they have saved [112] from a brutal soldiery. The brigadier-general commanding tenders to them his sincere thanks, and promises that every effort on his part shall be exerted to secure to their leader the reward of promotion which he so richly deserves and which they have enabled him to win.’

In obedience to the order of General Jackson Captain Dickison remained for a few days in Gainesville with his forces as a corps of observation. Meanwhile on August 26th the troops under the command of Capt. Edward J. Sutterloh and Lieut. John B. Dell, Company F, Second Florida cavalry, had a brilliant engagement with one of the enemy's gunboats on the Suwannee river, repulsing the enemy and adding to the renown of the Florida troops.

A letter from Camp Dickison, Waldo, to the Lake City Columbian, well describes the situation early in September and the service of the militia: ‘Three Federal prisoners, stragglers from the recent raiding expedition to Gainesville which suffered such disastrous defeat, have been captured within the past few days by the troops of this command. The enemy is known to be in large force at Jacksonville and Magnolia. All that can be said is that our troops are as ready to administer to these merciless invaders the same chastisement they were wont to give on past occasions. The State troops in this command are doing much to entitle them to the sincere gratitude of their country. Truly such an exhibition of patriotism has never been witnessed, certainly never excelled in the annals of warfare, as has been demonstrated in this glorious little State. The grandfather vies with his offspring in deeds of valor; and the silver-haired patriarch, bowed with the weight of years, stands firmly by the side of his fair-haired boys in forming that solid phalanx contending for all that is dear to them and against which the combined forces of the enemy cannot successfully combat. At Gainesville, though suddenly assembled upon the emergency, under command of Judge Thomas F. King, the citizen soldiery emulated the example of their com- [113] rades, the sturdy veterans and victors on many fields of carnage, and by their valor and intrepidity contributed much to the glorious result.’ On September 22d, the State troops, under Captains King, Dudley and Richards, were sent home on furlough with the congratulations of the commanding officer. [114]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Palatka (Florida, United States) (26)
Gainesville (Florida, United States) (16)
Jacksonville (Florida, United States) (15)
Baldwin, Fla. (Florida, United States) (13)
San Juan River (Florida, United States) (11)
Florida (Florida, United States) (8)
Waldo, Fla. (Florida, United States) (7)
Cedar Creek (Florida, United States) (6)
Welaka (Florida, United States) (5)
Suwanee River (United States) (4)
Orange Springs (Florida, United States) (4)
Lake City (Florida, United States) (4)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (4)
Yellow Bluff (Florida, United States) (3)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (3)
Newton (Florida, United States) (3)
Higginbotham (Texas, United States) (3)
Green Cove Springs (Florida, United States) (3)
Black Creek, Va. (Virginia, United States) (3)
Trout Creek (Florida, United States) (2)
Savannah (Georgia, United States) (2)
Saint Marys River (Virginia, United States) (2)
Middleburg (Virginia, United States) (2)
McGirts Creek (Florida, United States) (2)
Hilton Head (South Carolina, United States) (2)
Cedar Creek (Florida, United States) (2)
Brandy Branch (Florida, United States) (2)
Wilmington, N. C. (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Volusia (Florida, United States) (1)
United States (United States) (1)
Tampa (Florida, United States) (1)
Sumter (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Picolata (Florida, United States) (1)
Ocklawaha River (Florida, United States) (1)
Newnansville, Florida (Florida, United States) (1)
Magnolia, Fla. (Florida, United States) (1)
Levy (Florida, United States) (1)
Lake George, Fla. (Florida, United States) (1)
Horse Landing (Florida, United States) (1)
Gulf of Mexico (1)
Front Creek (Nevada, United States) (1)
Fernandina, Fla. (Florida, United States) (1)
Clay Landing (Florida, United States) (1)
Chattahoochee River, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)
Cedar Keys (Florida, United States) (1)
Callahan (Florida, United States) (1)
Bradford (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Bradford (Florida, United States) (1)
Blakely (Alabama, United States) (1)
Atlanta (Georgia, United States) (1)
Alachua (Florida, United States) (1)
Alabama (Alabama, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. J. Dickison (36)
Charlie Dickison (27)
Baldwin (13)
G. W. Scott (8)
S. D. Harris (8)
McElvey (7)
Joseph Finegan (7)
Mortimer Bates (7)
Waldo (6)
Rou (6)
H. A. Gray (6)
Patton Anderson (6)
M. J. McEaddy (5)
Edward Lewis (5)
Charles Dickison (5)
R. H. Anderson (5)
John W. Starke (4)
Elijah Higginbotham (4)
Gwynn (4)
Robert H. Gamble (4)
Gray Fox (4)
Joseph L. Dunham (4)
W. H. Cone (4)
Villepigue (3)
George W. Scott (3)
John M. Martin (3)
William M. Gardner (3)
Callahan (3)
Theodore Brevard (3)
Beauregard (3)
Neill Turner (2)
Tabb (2)
S. W. Spencer (2)
Samuel Reddick (2)
Poer (2)
John W. Pearson (2)
D. M. Packard (2)
William A. Owens (2)
McCrea (2)
A. H. McCormick (2)
A. McCormick (2)
David Lang (2)
Thomas F. King (2)
John K. Jackson (2)
George P. Harrison (2)
John B. Dell (2)
Joseph C. Crews (2)
E. Pliny Bryan (2)
Bruton (2)
John C. Brown (2)
Joel Wingate (1)
Billy Wilson (1)
J. A. Williams (1)
Westcott (1)
R. B. Thomas (1)
Edward J. Sutterloh (1)
S. Simmons (1)
Roche (1)
Richards (1)
J. E. Purdom (1)
Pendarvis (1)
Napoleon (1)
J. Montgomery (1)
W. H. Milton (1)
William Miller (1)
John McNeill (1)
W. H. McCardell (1)
J. M. Martin (1)
Samuel Jones (1)
Sam Jones (1)
Edward Houston (1)
Charles F. Hopkins (1)
Hood (1)
Joseph Hagans (1)
Grieve (1)
Green (1)
Gonzales (1)
Geiger (1)
Foster (1)
Earle (1)
C. B. Dyke (1)
Dudley (1)
Dozier (1)
Jackson Captain Dickison (1)
William Denham (1)
Samuel Cooper (1)
Alfred H. Colquitt (1)
Carrol (1)
George L. Buist (1)
Washington Broward (1)
Braxton Bragg (1)
Boulware (1)
Bonaud (1)
Birney (1)
Beville (1)
Bayard (1)
William G. Barth (1)
Robert H. Anderson (1)
H. F. Abell (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: