mishers and drew them on, while he withdrew his main force to the west side of the creek to make a stand there. The enemy's cavalry dashed upon our skirmishers so suddenly and rapidly that they succeeded in capturing 1 man and driving the rest back. He learned upon crossing the creek referred to that a body of cavalry (about 80 in number) has passed around to his rear during the night by a road he was not advised of, and were making their way to Baldwin or some point on the Florida Railroad, and fearing, from the exposed condition of Baldwin, that they would capture it, he moved his command with the utmost dispatch to that place. It was son ascertained, though, that they had crossed the Florida Railroad at Trail Ridge, and, tearing up about 30 feet of the track, had passed in the direction of the Saint Mary's trestle.
We soon received information that they had burned the trestle and captured Lieutenant Packard and 4 men of the guard on duty at that place. I had already ordered Captain McElvey, of the Fifth Florida Cavalry Battalion, who was left in command at Camp Milton, to withdraw his pickets from Cedar Creek and fall back to Baldwin. Had also dispatched a train for Captain Spencer's company of reserves and the working party on the Florida Railroad, engaged in taking up the iron near Callahan.
I now determined to defend Baldwin, notwithstanding communication with Lake City was broken, for, though our supplies were only for twenty-four hours, we had possession of an engine and train, and provisions could have been transported to us from the Saint Mary's trestle if carried to the trestle on this side. At that time I supposed that the force in our rear was not more than 80 men, and that they had probably retired after burning the trestle. Meanwhile Captain Cone and Lieutenant Reddick, in command of separate detachments, had been sent to the rear for the purpose of getting fuller information. They left about 3 p. m. After night it was discovered that tow other trestles between the Saint Mary's and baldwin were also on fire, and soon the guard at those points reported that the enemy had fired them. It was then apparent that the force had not retired from our rear, and also that our source of supplies was effectually destroyed, even should we succeeded in driving them back.
Up to 2 a. m. on Tuesday, the 26th, I could hear nothing from Captain Cone or Lieutenant Reddick, which led to the belief that they were either captured or cut off by a larger force than at first reported, which latter proved to be true. My force at Baldwin consisted of 216 cavalry, under Major Scott; Captain Spencer's company of reserves (about 40 for duty), and Captain Villepigue's battery of four guns. At the hour referred to last I called a council of officers, and we determined to evacuate Baldwin and move by way of Brandy Branch and Lang's Ferry, on the Bit Saint mary's, to this position, on the west side of the south prong of that river.
The whole command moved from Baldwin at 3 a. m. on 26th, and crossed Brandy Branch about 6 a. m. Here our pickets reported that the enemy's cavalry were in pursuit. The command was immediately put in position to receive them, and soon about 100 cavalry made their appearance; but after 5 or 6 shots from Captain Villepigue's battery and a few rounds from our skirmishers they retired. We then crossed the Saint Mary's at Lang's Ferry, and on Thursday, the 28th, the command arrived and took position at this place.