War of the Rebellion: Serial 065 Page 0397 Chapter XLVII. OPERATIONS ON SAINT JOHN'S RIVER.

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No. 3. Report of Captain J. J. Dickison, Second Florida Cavalry.

HEADQUARTERS,

Camp Call, East Fla., May 24, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 23rd instant, while the steamer Columbine was on her downward trip, I engaged her at Horse Landing with a section of Milton Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Bates, and 20 picked riflemen from my cavalry force. After the second fire from our battery she became disabled. We continued to pour canister and solid shot, while our sharpshooters kept a constant and well-directed fire until she became unable to manage her guns. Our battery shot with much precision, nearly every shot taking effect, riddling her very badly and carrying away her rudder. She consequently became unmanageable and grounded. Her colors were shot away and her white flag was hoisted. The engagement lasted about forty-five minutes.

We captured in this engagement 7 commissioned officers and 1 claiming to be a non-combatant, 9 seamen, and 47 enlisted negroes; number killed and drowned about 25. Of the negro troops Captain Daniels and 5 negroes were wounded, 3 of which are mortal. Among the killed was a lieutenant of the naval service.

After the surrender several of the men jumped overboard and swam for the opposite shore, but most of them were drowned. The deck presented a horrible scene, the dead and wounded lay weltering in blood. Most of the negro troops have owners in North Carolina and Florida. I regret my perilous situation compelled me to fire the boat, as the gun-boat Ottawa was only a few miles below the scene of action. It is strange to say that she did not come to the rescue. The two Dahlgren guns and machinery of the boat can be saved from the wreck as soon as proper transportation can be obtained.

I am thankful to Divine Providence that no one was hurt on our side. The Ottawa still remains in the river.

The conduct of Lieutenant Bates and my entire command deserves my highest commendation for their gallantry and determination to gain the victory.

The following property was also captured:

Rifles................................................. 42

Cartridge-boxes........................................ 28

Rounds of ammunition................................... 2,000

Bayonets............................................... 35

Swords................................................. 5

Pistols................................................ 8

Cutlases............................................... 4

Nautical compasses..................................... 2

Chests bomb-fuses...................................... 2

Spy-glasses (these glasses are now used by my

pickets on the river posts).......................... 2

Stand of colors........................................ 3

Boats.................................................. 2

I would respectfully ask that one of the swords be presented to Lieutenant Bates for his gallant conduct.

Respectfully submitted.

J. J. DICKISON,

Captain, Commanding Forces.

Captain W. G. BARTH,

A. A. G., Hdqrs. Dist. of Florida, Lake City.