On the morning of the 6th instant, I took out 200 men, and advanced 3 miles beyond Station 4, found the enemy, skirmished with him until I discovered he had a large force, and then fall back to the bayou. The men behaved very well; marched back in good order. I remained at the bayou six hours, it being high water so that I could not cross. They assaulted us three times with about twice our number, and were handsomely whipped each time. When the water fell, succeeded in crossing the bayou and returning to Day Key. Loss, 8 men wounded, 2 dangerously; no loss of arms.
Lieutenant Pease and men behaved well. I am much pleased with the conduct of my regiment.
The rebel force consisted of four companies of infantry, one company cavalry, and some home guards. Their loss was at least double our own.
Will write particulars by first opportunity.
EDMUND C. WEEKS,
Major Second Florida Cavalry, Commanding
Captain MARCELLUS BAILEY,
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Cedar Keys, July 9, 1864.
GENERAL: My letter to you was necessarily brief for want of time. I will now explain my object in advancing up the railroad. I had been informed by quite a number of professed Union men that there was not a soldier this side of Baldwin, and that 200 men could go through the entire State.
Tuesday quite an intelligent negro came in from a place called Sodom, near Otter Creek. He reported four companies of infantry at Chamber's plantation (8 miles above Station 4), and a company of cavalry half way between the two places, and that the cars had commenced running down as far as Chambers'. From him I also learned that there ware 74 bales of cotton at Otter Creek. I deemed it advisable to take all the force I could spare from here and push our as far as Chambers', and if I found that there was a force, discover its strength, and, if possible, its designs. If I did not meet with a force, I intended to have pushed on to Otter Creek, and to have captured the cotton, to have sent it down the river, and then to have returned.
Lieutenant Pease led the advance with 50 men of his company, and had pushed on to about 3 miles beyond Station 4, where he came upon a cavalry picket. They discovered him first and immediately sounded the alarm. I was some distance in the rear. Learning that he had met the enemy I sent him word to place his men in as good a position as possible, and to hold the enemy in check until I could come up. When I arrived he was falling back, being nearly surrounded. I threw my men behind the bank of the railroad, placing him on the right; the rebels dismounted and pushed up pretty sharply. I tried to restrain my men from firing till the enemy would come within short range, but through the eagerness of the negroes to engage them, the firing commenced before I gave the order. That rather alarmed them, and