and the enemy, occurring at a place known as Olustee, Fla., and distant from Jacksonville some 45 or 50 miles in a westerly direction, under the following circumstances:
On the evening of February 19, the general commanding ordered his command to be in readiness, with several days' cooked rations, for a forward movement from Barber's Station, 32 miles from Jacksonville, on the Florida Central Railroad.
At daybreak, February 20, the command took its line of march on the road to Sanderson, with its cavalry brigade and Elder's battery (under the command of Colonel Henry) in the advance. Passing Sanderson, the general commanding was informed that we should meet the enemy in force (as the information would have it, 15,000 strong) some miles this side of Lake City, but no reliance was placed on such dubious information in regard to strength as well as position. About 5 miles farther on our advance reported some 60 or 70 skirmishers of the enemy falling slowly back, on the north side of the railroad, toward Lake City. A short distance from that point our cavalry force, together with one company of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, reported that it was suspected that the enemy was directly front. The general commanding gave the order to halt and directed shells to be thrown, through the pine barren as feelers. Hardly had the second shell departed when a compliment in the form of solid shot fell directly in front od the staff, a second one following closely on the first, and a third one passing in close proximity over our heads. No time was to be lost to bring our guns into battery, and to throw companies of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers out as skirmishers on our right. The infantry line of battle was in cool promptness formed of the brigades, commanded, respectively, by Colonels Barton, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, Hawley, Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, and Montgomery, Second South Carolina Volunteers. Soon our artillery fire became hotter and hotter and the musketry incessant.
Looking about for a convenient ambulance depot, I rode on our right toward a couple of log houses, the only one within miles, but found on arriving that these houses were so much exposed that while inspecting them I was in imminent danger in the midst of heavy and light missiles; and while the topographical condition hardly offered a slight undulation of soil, there was no protection for a depot than the even extension of the pine barrens. About 200 yards in the rear of our left, observing a cluster of pine trees, I directed our ambulances (twelve in number) to be drawn up in line, the surgeons preparing their instruments and appliances, to be in readiness. While the roar of artillery and the musketry fire continued without intermission, our wounded men began to arrive, part walking, some on litters, and others in open ambulance wagons, as it were, first in single drops, then trickling, after a while in a steady stream, increasing from a single row to a double and treble, and finally into a mass. In a half hour from the commencement, stray shots passing through the tall pines, and, breaking them off at the trunk like canes, admonished us to remove the depot farther to the rear, when within 1 mile we drew our ambulances up behind a small stream and guarded in front by miry ground, thus securing a sufficiency of water, yet not of suitable protection against missiles from rifled guns. For three hours, without a second's intermission, had the battle been raging, when we heard from the front three lusty cheers and the firing ceased abruptly. Our troops fell back