Upon my arrival at Waldo at 10 p. m., I immediately sent a dispatch to you by way of Gainesville stating that I had reached there with my command, and that the enemy had returned to the Saint John's River. A short time afterward I received a dispatch from Captain Dickison stating that I would find him on the road toward Orange Springs or Palatka with his command, and I was not advised of any change in his intentions until the next morning at 7 o'clock, when I was informed by a citizen, who I was satisfied knew, that Captain Dickison was still at Gainesville. Captain Cone, with a detachment of about 50 men (cavalry), was at once sent to follow the enemy and ascertain positively if they had returned to the river, the balance of the command remaining at Waldo.
At 3 o'clock the next morning I received a dispatch from Captain Cone, informing me that he was on the east side of the Etoniah Scrubb at 5 p. m., and that the enemy's cavalry had reached Magnolia on Thursday evening, and that the infantry was there by that time. Finding that the enemy had escaped and reached the river, I at once determined to return with my command. Not knowing that the brigadier-general commanding was at Gainesville, and deeming Waldo to be the most suitable place for the position of forces for the defense of that portion of the State, I ordered Captain Dickison to move with his command to that place, but was informed by him that in obedience to orders he would move at 1 p. m. to Palatka. I at once went to Gainesville, where I met the brigadier-general commanding, and received from him an order to return with my command to Camp Jackson, which place I reached on the evening of the 21st instant.
The enemy's force reported to be moving on my right on Monday was very correctly supposed to be larger than my own force of cavalry then available, having at that time to picket a line of about 20 miles. Many of the cavalry men had been sent to the interior of the country for the purpose of remounting, and were daily returning with fresh horses, and when I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Scott to place every available man in the saddle to pursue them, I confidently expected that there would be enough men returning during the day to furnish the necessary and usual scouting parties that had been daily sent around Baldwin. In addition to the scouts that had been sent to the right of Baldwin on that day, 3 of the most reliable scouts were started to the Saint John's River to observe the movements of the transports. These men were to cross the railroad 5 or 6 miles to the right of Baldwin, and it was presumed that they would ascertain and report if there was any movement in that direction from Baldwin, and upon finding the trial the enemy's cavalry had made they followed it several miles, when one of them returned to camp to report, and the others went on toward the river and crossed the railroad and wagon road before the enemy's infantry passed, and consequently did not know of the movement.
The enemy's forces reported by Major Goldthwaite as having moved from Baldwin in a southerly direction did not travel the usual and direct road to Trail Ridge, but after leaving Baldwin some 3 or 4 miles crossed the railroad and went in a direction that would have taken them back to Middleburg. They, however, turned again and camped the first night at Trail Ridge. Their next day's march again indicated that they might return to the river, for they encamped at Kingsley's Pond, some 7 or 8 miles from Whitesville,
going by Clay Hill. Their next day's march brought them at 3 p.