|Brig. Gen. Alfred H. Colquitt, CSA|
Library of Congress
As the Union army dug in at Barber's (near Macclenny) and Baldwin following the decision of its general to go on the defensive, General P.G.T. Beauregard (CS) ordered the full strength of Colquitt's Brigade to resume its movement for Florida. A series of orders from Charleston on February 14-15, 1864, led to the resumption of the strong brigade's southward journey from that city to Florida. The brigade's progress was halted at Savannah after Union forces made a demonstration there.
A Princeton graduate who served as a major in the Mexican-American War, Alfred H. Colquitt was 39-years old at the time of the Olustee Campaign. A former U.S. Congressman, he had actively supported Georgia's secession from the Union before being elected colonel of the Sixth Georgia Infantry in May 1861. The Sixth was among the regiments that Georgia sent north to Virginia.
Under Colquitt, it served in the Seven Days Battles outside of Richmond, particularly at the Battle of Seven Pines where General Joseph E. Johnston was badly wounded and forced to relinquish command to General Robert E. Lee.
|Colquitt Monument at Olustee|
|Colquitt's Grave in Macon, Georgia|
|Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor|
Courtesy of Roger Moore
On the same day, Beauregard updated authorities in Richmond on the situation in Florida:
...General Finegan reports enemy fortifying at Baldwin. Am sending him all re-enforcements I can spare to dislodge him. I may have to call for one brigade from North Carolina to aid him - only if absolutely necessary. - Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard (CS) to Gen. Samuel Cooper (CS), February 15, 1864.
As Colquitt's Brigade continued its movement south on February 14, 1864, it traveled by train along the railroad leading from Savannah to Albany, Georgia. The movement would continue by rail to a point as close as possible to the railroad linking Tallahassee with Lake City. From that point the men would march overland to the second railroad where they would board trains for Lake City and Olustee.
To learn more about the Battle of Olustee and to watch the new mini-documentary on the battle, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/olustee.