City, near which place a skirmish took place between them and the few scattered troops which General Finegan then had at his disposal. Their cavalry doubtless reported that we had no troops, and it was owing to this fact, I suppose that their main advance was conducted so rapidly, and being under the impression, which they certainly were, that they would meet with but little opposition. Fortunately, however, for our cause General Beauregard, knowing their designs, had, in the interim between their cavalry raid and main advance, collected at Olustee an army of 4,000 veterans.
On the morning of the 20th, General Finegan having received information of the enemy's advance, the Sixty-fourth Georgia Regiment was ordered to the front to reconnoiter their position, and, if possible, discover their force. The Sixty-fourth took up a position at the crossing of the Lake City road with the railroad, 2 1/4 miles from Olustee, and were soon engaged with the enemy, who had advanced to this point in three columns, having formed a third column after crossing the branch where the roads fork. They were now draw up in line of battle. It becoming necessary to re-enforce the Sixty-fourth, General Alfred H. Colquitt took the field, and bringing up the Sixth, Twenty-eighth, and Nineteenth Georgia Regiments, with two pieces of Gamble's battery, deployed these four regiments in line of battle and fairly opened the fight. (See second position on sketch). This was 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
Colonel (acting brigadier-general) Harrison having now arrived with the Thirty-second Georgia, First Georgia Regulars, and Sixth Florida, our line of battle was reformed, with the addition of Wheaton's battery (four pieces), and advanced, driving the enemy from their first position and occupying the third position, as represented on sketch. The horses in Gamble's battery having become disabled and unmanageable, his battery was obliged to retire. While our forces were in this position the enemy attempted a flank movement on our left, in which they failed from want of a knowledge of the ground, for, becoming entangled in the large bay on our left, they were forced to retire without accomplishing their object.
In the meanwhile our forces on the right drove in their left and captured the five guns (as shown in sketch), our forces now occupying the fourth position. At this point, our entire line having exhausted their ammunition, and the Twenty-seventh Georgia, First Florida, and Bonaud's battalion having come up, were placed in front to hold the enemy in check while a new supply of ammunition was being distributed, which having been accomplished our entire line advanced, driving the enemy before them. Just as our forces were assuming their fourth position one section of Guerard's battery came up and took position on the left of Wheaton's, the other section having already been stationed on the right, the battle having lasted three hours, and every inch of ground having been hotly contested from the road crossing to this point.
The battle-field was confined entirely to the open pine woods, with the exception of the pond and old field, as represented on sketch. At the latter place the fighting was very severe. At one time the enemy attempted to mass their troops here, and were driven off, as I understand from Colonel Harrison, by the Sixth and Thirty-second Georgia Regiments, who, by his order, took up a position on their right, gaining, a destructive flank fire on them. Our forces pursued the enemy for a distance of 2 miles to the branch, when,