He retired then down the road leading off direct to Baldwin, covering all the approaches with his pickets. The enemy now rested at Higginbotham's and put out infantry pickets, while Captain McElvey camped near Mrs. Green's, on the Baldwin road. The enemy now being in the rear of our pickets on the line of Cedar Creek, Major G. W. Scott, who commanded at Camp Milton, called them in and withdrew with his whole command to the junction of the roads leading from Higginbotham's and Camp Milton to Baldwin, about 2 miles from Baldwin.
During the skirmishing referred to the enemy were re-enforced with 80 cavalry and with two pieces of artillery. The infantry force was composed entirely of negroes and was not less than 600. Their entire cavalry force was about 125. The information as to their numbers was derived partly from citizens, but principally from our own officers. Captains McElvey and Gwynn and Lieutenant Cone had an opportunity of seeing their column pass though the roads and had an open and distinct view of it. Mr. Higginbotham had them around his horse and conversed with General Birney, who commanded in person. He gives the same account of their forces. Other citizens estimated their infantry at 1,000. The position they held at Higginbotham's, across Big Trout Creek, was a very strong one, and rendered more so by their destruction of the bridge and felling timber. The above estimate of their force is supported by the facts that it was known that they had recently re-enforced at Jacksonville, and that the Charles Houghton and Mary Benton had taken load of troops down the river early that morning without making and change in the number of tents at Jacksonville, which left it to be inferred that the expedition was to be a short one.
Our left at Camp Milton being now turned, it was deemed best to concentrate our small force around Baldwin for its defense, leaving Captain McElvey with 55 men near Higginbotham's to watch their movements.
On the morning of the 16th, 50 mounted men were sent down under Captain Gwynn to relieve Captain McElvey's command, which had been without forage and rations for more than twenty-four hours. Acting under instructions from Major Scott, Captain McElvey and Gwynn (before the former withdrew his command) made a joint reconnaissance for the purpose of attacking the enemy should they find he was not too strongly posted. They son ascertained that it was impossible to dislodge him, even with our whole force. The enemy, however, showed no signs of advancing during the day, but held their position firmly.
On the morning of the 17th, Captain Simmons, Second Florida Cavalry, was sent down with 50 men to relieve Captain Gwynn's command. During the day, while our cavalry was confronting them at this point, their cavalry, under Major Fox, dashed up the north end of King's road (which they now controlled) to Callahan and burnt tow flat-cars loaded with railroad iron, and Mr. Jones' house, and took off his horses. On this raid they arrested Joseph Hagans and Washington Broward (citizens), and carried off Mr. Geiger's negroes, and burn the house of Joel Wingate (a scout). They also took the horses of Elijah Higginbotham. About 100 negro troops accompanies this raiding party as far as Thomas' Swamp. These were in addition to the 600 at Higginbotham's. Reliable citizens whom they visited on the route to Callahan state that they had 125