|North Florida Pine Woods|
Having fallen back from Lake City on the evening of February 11, 1864, the mounted Union force under Colonel Guy V. Henry had camped for the night a few miles east of the skirmish site. A heavy storm rolled across the pine woods during the predawn hours of February 12th, 150 years ago today:
...The night was passed in quiet, though the torrents of rain did not add to the comfort of the soldiers, who were lying on the ground, which was before morning nearly covered with water. Unidentified war correspondent, New York Herald, February 1864.
|1864 Drawing of Sanderson, Florida|
Learning from a courier of the repulse of his cavalry at Lake City the previous afternoon, Seymour decided to pull his entire force together at Sanderson:
...Orders were sent to Colonel Henry to return with his command to Sanderson, as the lack of supplies prevented the infantry from advancing. The line of supplies being long, it was found difficult to ration the troops, and they were compelled to await the arrival of subsistence trains before advancing farther into the enemy's country. - Unidentified war correspondent, New York Herald, February 1864.
|Ocean Pond in 1934|
Florida Memory Collection
|1864 Drawing of Barber's Plantation|
The Federals seem to have thought that by and large things were going well so far:
...Thus far the expedition and raid have been brilliantly successful. We have captured and caused to be destroyed over one and a half million dollars worth of property, and have opened up a new territory to our arms and flag. - Unidentified war correspondent, New York Herald, February 1864.
The delay in the advance, however, proved critical to Confederate efforts to turn back the invasion. It gave Finegan and his superior, General P.G.T. Beauregard, the time they needed to begin rushing additional troops to Florida.
I will continue to post on the 148th Anniversary of the Olustee Campaign over coming days so be sure to check back often. You can read more about the Battle of Olustee anytime at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/olustee.