War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0752 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

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Twenty men landed on Seabrook Island from the gunboat, who carried off lumber from their old encampment. They remained on shore about two hours.

Respectfully,

JOHN JENKINS,

Major, Commanding, &c.

Captain J. H. PEARCE.

DECEMBER 30,. 1863.-Skirmish near Saint Augustine, Fla.

REPORTS.

Numbers 1.-Colonel Francis A. Osborn, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

Numbers 2.-Captain J. J. Dickinson, Second Florida Cavalry.

Numbers 1. Report of Colonel Francis A. Osborn, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Saint Augustine, Fla., January 1, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the particulars of a skirmish which took place at this post, under the following circumstances:

During the past month it has been necessary to send the woodchopper about 2 miles outside the lines to procure fire-wood, the supply within the lines having become exhausted. At first, having learned from my scouts that there were no rebel forces east of the Saint Jon's River, I furnished them with a guard of only 10 men. About there weeks ago, however, I heard rumors that some cavalry were expected to cross the river very soon for conscripts and deserters, and I accordingly increased the guard to 30 men, requiring the 20 choppers to carry arms also, making 50 armed men, which, after careful consideration, I deemed an ample force. I constantly sent out scouts to ascertain whether the enemy had crossed the river, intending, if he should come in this neighborhood, to go out and attack, him. On Wednesday morning (30th ultimo), one of the scouts came in and reported to me that he could find non indications of any cavalry in the vicinity. On that very morning, however, the guard, which was moving cautiously out to its position, with an advance thrown out, was suddenly attacked by a party on their right and front, who had been lying concealed in the low palmetto shrubs with which the whole country is covered, nd which furnishes such perfect concealment that a man might pass within 20 feet of such party and never volley form a corresponding position on the left of the line of march. This, unfortunately, dangerously wounded Lieutenant Oliver H. Walker, Twenty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, who was in charge of the party, which threw them into some confusion. At this moment a body of cavalry was seen on each flank, riding rapidly to get into their rear. This increased the disorder caused by the loss of their officer, and they commenced