enlisted men of the Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and one piece and 12 enlisted men of Company A, Third Rhode Island Artillery.
I proceeded by the way of Darby's Station to point on New River west of Trail Ridge, said to be spanned by a bridge. Here I captured a part of the enemy's picket-post, but found no bridge. I destroyed the fort and returned to Trail Ridge, where I arrived about 6 p. m. Here I was joined by Colonel Noble's command.
Taking with me my wagons (three) and caissons, with the drivers, together with the cooks, smiths, &c., of my own regiment, making an addition of 15 men, I took up my line of march for Starke, where, owing to the bad state of the roads, I did not arrive till 2.30 o'clock on the morning of the 16th instant. I found Captain Morton, with 2 commissioned officers and 87 enlisted men of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, with some 12 or 15 loyal Floridians who had joined me for the expedition. I encamped here for the remainder of the night, and after destroying a lot of Confederate commissary stores and six cars, I resumed my march at 7.30 a. m., taking the way by Santa Fe Lake, as the Santa Fe River was reported by my guide, Mr. Sykes, to be unfordable. I arrived at Gainesville about 6.30 on the morning of the 17th instant, having marched all the previous night in order that I might secure a crossing over Hatchet Creek on the bridge, which, if broken down by the enemy, would have stopped my march in that direction, as the channel was deep and the banks bad for crossing. I found Gainesville occupied by one company of the enemy, numbering about 70 men, who were dislodged by Company B, of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry. As my horses were very much in need of rest and forage, I assigned the different parts of the command to their places, with orders for the men to keep on their own accouterments, slip the bridles from the horses and feed them. At the same time had the cooks to make coffee, al remaining close to their places.
My position was as follows: Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry near the center of the town, my piece of artillery in their rear, and the Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Mounted Infantry in the rear of the artillery near the Florida Railroad, all in open lots, while I threw out pickets on all sides, both mounted and dismounted.
At about 7 a. m., having been in the town about half an hour, the officer of the rear guard now on picket south of the town informed me that the enemy were rapidly approaching from that direction in heavy force. I made immediately preparations for defense, facing my command to the rear, throwing the right flank of the Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Mounted Infantry to the left, resting on a swamp and thicket, and the left flank to the right, also resting on a swamp and thicket, while the howitzer was placed near the road, close to the center of the line. The Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Mounted Infantry being dismounted, except Company I, which was sent to the north of town, took the fill of the Florida Railroad and the neighboring fences for protection, while the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry was held in reserve. This disposition was not complete when the enemy made a furious attack, which I repulsed as soon as possible. The enemy was checked in front, but he immediately surrounded me with his whole force, thus compelling me to send Company B, Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, to the rear of the town, and throw portions of the Sev-
28 R R-VOL XXXV, PT I