MARCH 9, 1863.- Skirmish near Saint Augustine, Fla.
Numbers 1. - Colonel Haldimand S. Putnam, Seventh New Hampshire Infantry.
Numbers 2. - Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Abbott, Seventh New Hampshire Infantry.
Numbers 1. Report of Colonel Haldimand S. Putnam, Seventh New Hampshire Infantry.
Saint Augustine, Fla., March 12, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that on Monday, the 9th instant, the advanced picket guard, stationed about 2 miles north of the town, was attacked. I had reliable information that the enemy consisted of a company of about 80 horsemen, commanded by a Captain Dickison, and that his camp was at a place called Fort Peyton, 7 miles southwest of this place. I immediately dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott, Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers, with 120 men, with orders to proceed directly to and attack his camp, and in case he had not returned to it to take the road to the upper ford of the Saint Sebastian, with the expectation of encountering him as he returned to his camp.
It will be seen by the inclosed sketch that the enemy had to make a detour of some 13 miles to reach his camp, from which circumstance I hoped to surprise or intercept him. A mounted vedette gave notice of our approach, and the advance guard only encountered a small number of the rear guard of the enemy, with whom they kept up a scattering but ineffective fire for about a mile, the enemy retreating rapidly, and, being mounted, pursuit was fruitless.
I regret to report that a sergeant and 4 men, who were detached from the main body to reconnoiter the ground to the right before the situation of the enemy was discovered, were captured. Aside from this unfortunate occurrence, which is mainly owing to the densely wooded nature of the country, I believe that Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott and the officers and men under him displayed good conduct and judgment.
For details I have the honor to refer you to the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott, which is inclosed.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. S. PUTNAM,
Colonel Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers, Commanding Post.
Lieutenant Colonel CHARLES G. HALPINE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Tenth Army Corps.
Numbers 2. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Abbott, Seventh New Hampshire Infantry.
SAINT AUGUSTINE, FLA., March 10, 1863.
SIR: In pursuance of your orders, dated the 9th instant, directing me to proceed with a detachment of 120 men to Fort Peyton and the place of Bartols Masters and capture, if possible, a party of the enemy in that vicinity, and also directing me how to proceed in case the party