War of the Rebellion: Serial 065 Page 0291 Chapter XLVII. THE FLORIDA EXPEDITION.

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In reference to the above statement I will say that General Seymour was never instructed, and it never was my intention to intrust him with the execution of any general plan in Florida. I confided to him the objects I had in view in occupying East Florida, and the salient features of the plan by which I proposed to secure those objects. But he was never authorized to advance beyond the South Fork of the Saint Mary's River in my absence. On the contrary, he had plain and explicit instructions with regard to what was expected and required of him, and the ill-judged advance beyond the South Fork of the Saint Mary's River was in direct disregard of those instructions, and the disastrous battle of Olustee its legitimate fruit. General Seymour says, "But the disparity in numbers was too great, and the defense too obstinate to permit of decisive results" at the battle of Olustee. We now know since the close of the war that there was no "disparity in numbers," and knew at the time that the "results" were a "decisive" defeat upon the field of battle and the frustration-as well loss of men as by loss of prestige of-a well and carefully digested plan of campaign. General Finegan, who was in command of the enemy's forces, told two members of my staff (Captain D. S. Leslie, One hundred and fourth U. S. Colored Troops, and Captain Henry Seton, Fifty-fourth New York) that he had only about 5,000 men at that battle. General Seymour had 5,500 men. Our losses were 1,800 men in killed, wounded, and missing, 39 horses, and 6 pieces of artillery. Indeed, our forces appear to have been surprised into fighting, or attempting to fight, an offensive battle, in which the component parts of the command were beaten in detail. The enemy did not fight behind intrenchments or any kind of defenses.


Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding.


HILTON HEAD, S. C., February 23, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief, U. S. Army:

GENERAL: The enemy have thrown so large a force into Florida that I judge it to be inexpedient to attempt to do more at the present time than hold the line of the Saint John's River. The presence of so large a force as General Seymour represents the enemy to have in his front shows the importance he attaches to Florida as a source of supply.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Hilton Head, S. C., February 26, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have news from Jacksonville up to the evening of the 24th. The enemy at that time was at Baldwin. General Seymour has been re-enforced and can take care of himself. From the