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Sanderson Station was uninterrupted, but about four miles further west our advance drove in the enemy's pickets, keeping up a continuous skir-1 mish with them for about four miles, when the Seventh Connecticut, who were in the advance, deployed as skirmishers, fell in with the enemy's j force in a swamp, strengthened still further with i rifle-pits. Here they were met with cannon and musketry. The Seventh were armed with Spencer rifles, which fire eight times without loading, with which they played dreadful havoc with the enemy. They were then ordered to take one of four pieces of artillery the enemy had, but were unsuccessful. They held their ground nobly, as long as their sixty rounds of ammunition lasted, which was perhaps three quarters of an hour, but were retiring just as the main body of our army came up. The Eighth colored marched on the railroad, came up first, and filed to the right, when they were soon met with a most terrific shower of musketry and shell. General T. Seymour now came up, and pointing in front toward the railroad, said to Colonel Friblcy, commander of the Eighth, "Take your regiment in there"— a place which was sufficiently hot to make veterans tremble, and yet we were»to enter it with men who had never heard the sound of a cannon. Colonel Friblcy ordered the regiment, by company, into line, double-quick march ; but, before it was fairly in line, the men commenced dropping like leaves in autumn. Still, on they went, without faltering or murmuring, until they came within two hundred yards of the enemy, when the struggle for life and death commenced. Here they stood for two hours and a half, under one of the most terrible fires I ever witnessed; and here, on the field of Olustee, was decided whether the colored man had the courage to stand without shelter, and risk the dangers of the battle-field; and when I tell you that they stood with a fire in front, on their flank, and in their rear, for two hours and a half, without flinching, and when I tell you the number of dead and wounded, I have no doubt as to the verdict of every man who has gratitude for the defenders of his country, white or black.
Colonel Fribley, seeing that it was impossible to hold the position, passed along the lines to tell the officers to fire and fall back gradually, and was shot before he reached the end. He was shot in the chest, told the men to carry him to the rear, and expired in a very few minutes. Major JJurritt took command, but was also wounded in a short time. At this time Captain Hamilton's battery became endangered, and he cried out to our men for God's sake to save his battery. Our United States flag, after three sergeants had forfeited their lives by bearing it during the tight, was planted on the battery by Lieutenant Elijah Lewis, and the men rallied around it, but the guns had been jammed up so indiscriminately, and so close to the enemy's lines, that the gunners were shot down as fast as they made their appearance; and the horses, whilst they were wheeling the pieces into position, shared the same fate. They were compelled
to leave the battery, and failed to bring the flag away. The battery fell into the enemy's hands. During the excitement Captain Bailey took command, and brought out the regiment in good order. Sergeant Taj'lor, company D, who carried the battle-flag, had his right hand nearly shot off, but grasped the colors with the left hand, and brought it out
I took my position along the railroad, and had the wounded brought there, and while busily engaged a volley was poured into us. About a dozen of cavalry were preparing to make a charge on us, but disappeared as tho Fifty-fourth Massachusetts advanced out of tho woods. They knew the men were wounded, and that it was an hospital, but disregarded it; and had it not been for the Fifty-fourth, which advanced in splendid order, they would undoubtedly have taken us all prisoners. The Seventh New-Hampshire was posted on both sides of the wagon road, and broke, but rallied in a short time, and did splendid execution. The line was probably one mile long, and all along the fighting was terrific.
Our artillery, where it could be worked, made dreadful havoc on the enemy, whilst the enemy did us but.very little injury with his, with the exception of one gun, a sixty-four pound swivel, fixed on a truck-car on the railroad, which fired grape and canister. On the whole, their artillery was very harmless, but their musketry fearful. We were informed in the morning that they had some ten thousand men, and four guns, while we had less than six thousand, but eighteen guns. The troops all fought bravely; the First NorthCarolina (colored) did nobly. I saw at an early stage of the fight that we would be whipped, and went round among our wounded and told them, as many as could get away, to start for Barber, and then started the ambulance crowded full. The day and the field being lost to us, we started on the retreat, and reached our old quarters yesterday. We were compelled to leave a few of our men behind, and they fell into the hands of the enemy. It could not be helped; I had but one ambulance to a regiment, and the railroad was useless, because we had no locomotive. However, we got some horse-cars to within eighteen miles of the field, which aided us greatly. How the rebels have disposed of the colored men who fell into their hands we have not heard yet; but we hope that the fear of retaliation, if not the dictates of humanity, will cause them to reconsider their threat of outlawry. If not, we must act accordingly. Our men are neither discouraged nor dismayed, but ready for another fight.
We would like to have our regiment recruited. We should have at least two hundred men immediately. Will the committee not make an effort to send them to us 1 I have no doubt but the War Department would allow it. Please do your best for us. If it could be done, we would like two flanking companies of one hundred men each, armed with Spencer rifles. I think they are just the thing for bushwhacking. You can tell the committee that we look to them as our guardians, and therefore hope they will do all for us they can, and do it quickly.
Your friend, A. P. Aeiciihold,
Surgeon Eighth U. 8. C. T. T* Mr. E. M. Davis, Philadelphia.
Governor Milton's Despatch
Tallahassee, Fla., February 11. To the President:
I have just received the following despatch from General Finnigan, dated yesterday: "I met the enemy in full force to-day, under General Seymour, and defeated him with great loss. I captured five pieces of artillery, hold possession of the battle-field, and the killed and wounded of the enemy. My cavalry are in pursuit I don't know precisely the number of prisoners, as they are being brought in constantly. Sly whole loss will not, I think, exceed two hundred and fifty killed and wounded. Among them I mourn the loss of many brave officers and men." I understand that General Finnigan also captured many small-arms. John Milton,
Governor. ORDER OF GENERAL FINNIC AN.
The Floridian and Journal published the following order issued by General Finnigan to the citizens of Florida:
"The enemy, by a sudden landing at Jacksonville, in some force, and a bold effort to penetrate into the interior, succeeded in getting as far as within a few miles of Lake City. The timely concentration of our forces has enabled us to check his progress, and induce him to retire toward Baldwin. The reinforcements now received and expected will enable us to drive him back to his ships. The peoplo of the State can contribute much to the early accomplishment of these results, by combining themselves in efficient military organizations of mounted troops, if they have horses, and of infantry if they have fxot, and reporting to me for temporary military service, with such arms and accoutrements as they may have, or by reporting singly to me, when they will be assigned to some militia organization for temporary service. You may also render valuable service by furnishing your teams, for the necessary transportation of troops, and supplies for their subsistence. For these the government will pay liberal prices.
"Let the people all come forward and exhibit the patriotism and bravery which are their characteristic traits; and, with their aid, our gallant troops will soon drive the enemy from the country. Let all unite in this honorable and manly purpose, and lose no time in commencing the most vigorous and determined action."
ON THE YAZOO RIVER.
corded of our operations in this vicinity, was that sent out on the first of last month, commanded by Colonel James H. Coates, of the Eleventh Illinois infantry. The force consisted of the Eleventh Illinois infantry, Eighth Louisiana infantry, and First Mississippi cavalry—the two latter being colored troops.
Lieutenant II. II. Dean, Adjutant of the Eleventh Illinois, kindly furnished me with the following particulars of the campaign: On the thirty-first ultimo, the expedition left Haines's Bluff, and ascended Yazoo River on transports, convoyed by three gunboats, and on the fourth arrived at Liverpool Heights, within eighteen miles of Yazoo City. At this point they found the enemy posted in a strong position on a high bluff, and he immediately opened fire on the gunboats, which were in advance, striking them several times, and putting two shots through one of them.
The Eleventh Illinois disembarked immediately, and attempted to storm the position of the ■ enemy, but were repulsed with a loss of five men killed and twenty-eight wounded. The gunboats opened an effective fire upon the enemy while the infantry reembarked, and the fleet ran the blockade in the night, with a loss of six men wounded. From this time there was continued skirmishing along the river till the ninth, when our forces reached Yazoo City, where a detachment surprised and captured five rebel pickets.
On the eleventh, Colonel Coates reembarked, and proceeded up the river to Greenwood, and found Fort Pemberton evacuated by the enemy. The First Missouri cavalry, Colonel Osband commanding, went out from this point, had a fight, lost five men, and went to within five miles of Grenada; and ascertaining that Forrest was at that place in force, retraced his steps and joined the main command.'
Several days were spent in loading cotton, which was found along the river-shore, and after having secured one thousand six hundred bales, the expedition returned to Yazoo City on the twenty-eighth. Immediately upon arriving there. Major Cook went out with a small cavalry force, and encountered a brigade of Texas cavalry, numbering one thousand five hundred, commanded by Brigadier-General L. S. Ross. A sharp fight ensued, in which Major Cook lost nineteen prisoners, and ColonelJones, of the Texas cavalry, waskilled. On the next morning, while out on a rcconnoissance, a party of our troops found eight of the bodies of colored soldiers taken prisoners the day before. The clothing was stripped from their bodies, and all were shot through the head.
Colonel Coates established his headquarters in the town, and eight companies of his regiment, commanded by Major McKee, took possession of the earthwork, on a commanding point, a half-mile distant from the city. Thus matters stood till the fourth instant, when General Ross sent in a communication, asking what would be the treatment of prisoners if taken by negro soldiers. Colonel Coates replied that they would bo treated with the respect due prisoners of war.
On the night of the fourth, Ross was reenforced by a brigade of Tennessee troops, numbering eight hundred men, commanded by Brigadier-General R. V. Richardson; and at seven o'clock on the morning of the fifth, an attack was made upon Major McKce, who held the redoubt, while a portion of the enemy went to the left, Hanking his position, and entered the town, and came within twenty feet of Colonel Coates's headquarters before they received a check from our men, who were pouring a deadly fire upon them from the windows. Here was almost a hand-to-hand conflict, which lasted four hours, when finally our sharp-shooters had picked off all their gunners, and completely silenced the guns which had riddled Colonel Coates's headquarters with shot and shell at a range of only a few paces, and the rebels began to fall back. A light field-piece had been sent from the gunboat Matamora to the town, when the tight began; but the squad sent with it ran at about the first fire, and permitted it to fall into the hands of the enemy, who only had it a moment, till some of the Eleventh boys retook it, and manned it through the fight.
While the fight was progressing in the town, the rebels had Major McKce completely surrounded, and were throwing shot and shell into his works with terrible precision. After they had, as they supposed, obtained every advantage, Richardson sent a message to JIajor McKee, saying they had taken all the rest prisoners, and demanded his surrender. The Major replied to him that he had "no idea of doing any such thing, but that if he wanted them, to come and get them." They renewed the attack, and several times came up within a few paces of the earthwork, and were as often repulsed with heavy loss. A second message came from General Richardson, demanding an immediate surrender, saying that "for God's and humanity's sake, he ought to surrender—that he would not be answerable for the actions of his men if they had to take the place by assault, and that he would storm it and take it in ten minutes." The Major replied to him: "That he had better come and take them ; that they never would surrender—that he might storm and be ." He
further told him that ho was sorry his demand was coupled with such a threat; that if the fight went on with that understanding, he should kill every man he captured.
At this juncture, our forces in the city had it all their own way, and were driving the enemy rapidly before them, and a general rout of the enemy ensued, and the fight ended at five o'clock in the afternoon.
Our loss was one lieutenant and seven men killed, twenty-four wounded, and thirteen prisoners in the Eleventh Illinois; and the colored troops lost two commissioned officers killed, four wounded, ten enlisted men killed, sixtyone wounded, and six missing.
The redoubt held by Major McKee was one
hundred and fifty feet square, and during the fight, over fifty shells exploded inside the works. Colonel Coates's fighting force was seven hundred men; that of the enemy, according to their own admission, two thousand three hundred. Major Tliiemer, of the Tennessee troops, was killed within twenty feet of Colonel Coates's door. The loss of the enemy is not known, but it was far greater than ours.
All speak in terms of the highest praise of the gallantry of Major McKee, of the Eleventh Tili
j nois, and Major Cook, of the First Missouri.
i All did their duty nobly; but I have not space to relate individual acts of heroism. LieutenantColonel Peebles, of the Eighth Louisiana infant
j ry, led his troops in the most gallant manner, and the colored soldiers fought like devils. There seemed to be a mutual understanding between them and the enemy that they should take no prisoners.
This is considered here by military men, as it certainly was, one of the most gallant and successful struggles of the war on our part, and, therefore, I have given greater space to it than I should otherwise have done. The enemy had eight field-pieces in the fight—our troops one small one 1
RETALIATION IN NORTH-CAROLINA.
The following correspondence passed between Generals Peck and Pickett:
HKADQrARTFRS OF TIIR ARMT, AKD DISTRICT OF )
North-carolina, Nrwbrrn. North- r
Carolisa, Feb. 11, 1S64. \
Major-General Pickett, Department of Virginia and North-Carolina, Confederate Army, Petersburgh:
General: I have the honor to inclose a slip cut from the Richmond Examiner, February eighth, 18G4. It is styled '"The Advance oh Newbern," and appears to have been extracted from the Petersburgh liegiiter, a paper published in the city where your headquarters are located.
Your attention is particularly invited to that paragraph which states "that Colonel Shaw was shot dead by a negro soldier from the other side of the river, which he was spanning with a pontoon-bridge, and that the negro was watched and followed, taken, and hanged after the action at Thomasville."
"The Advance On Newbern.—The Petersburgh Register gives the following additional facts of the advance on Newbern: Our army, according to the report of passengers arriving from Weldon, has fallen back to a point sixteen miles west of Newbern. The reason assigned for this retrograde movement was that Newbern coukl not be taken by us without a loss on our part which would find no equivalent in its capture, as the place was stronger than we had anticipated. Yet, in spite of this, we are sure that the expedition will result in good to our cause. Our forces are
in a situation to get large supplies from a country still abundant, to prevent raids on points westward, and keep torics in check, and hang them when caught.
"From a private, who was one of the guard that brought the hatch of prisoners through, we learn that Colonel Shaw was shot dead by a negro soldier from the other side of the river, which he was spanning with a pontoon-bridge. The negro was watched, followed, taken, and hanged after the action at Thomasville. It is stated that, when our troops entered Thomasville, a number of the enemy took shelter in the houses and fired upon them. The Yankees were ordered to surrender, but refused, whereupon our men set fire to the houses, and their occupants got bodily, a taste in this world of the flames eternal."
The Government of the United States has wisely seen fit to enlist many thousand colored citizens to aid in putting down the rebellion, and has placed them on the same footing in all respects, as her white troops. The orders of the President are so just, full, and clear, that I inclose a copy for your consideration:
War Departhext, Adjutant-general's Office,1
General Orders, No. 252.
The following order from the President is published for the information and government of all concerned:
Eiicran Mansion, Washington, 1
It is the duty of every government to give protection to its citizens of whatever class, color, or condition, and especially to those organized as soldiers in the public service. The law of nations, and the usages and customs of war, as carried on by civilized powers, permit no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person on account of his color, and for no offence against the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism, and a crime against the civilization of the age.
The Government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or enslave any one because of his color, the offence shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.
It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continue on such labor until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war.
By order of the Secretary of War.
E. D. Townsend,
Believing that this atrocity has been perpetrated without your knowledge, and that you will take prompt steps to disavow this violation of the usages of war, and to bring the offenders
to justice, I shall refrain from executing a rebel soldier until I learn your action in the premises. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Joun J. Peck,
REPLY OF GENERAL PICKETT.
Headquarters or Tiir Departmkxt or North- 1
Carolina, Pktkhsburoh, Virginia, V
February Id, 1864. )
Major-General John J. Peek, U. S. A., Commanding at Xeicbern:
General: Your communication of the eleventh of February is received. I have the honor to state in reply, that the paragraph from a newspaper inclosed therein, is not only without foundation in fact, but so ridiculous that I should scarcely have supposed it worthy of consideration; but I would respectfully inform you that had I caught any negro, who had killed either officer, soldier, or citizen of the confederate States, I should have caused him to be immediately executed.
To your threat expressed in the following extract from your communication, namely, "Believing that this atrocity has been perpetrated without your knowledge, and that you will tako prompt steps to disavow this violation of the usages of war, and to bring the offender to justice, I shall refrain from executing a rebel soldier until I hear of your action in the premises," I have merely to say that I have in my hands and subject to my orders, captured in the recent operations in this department, some four hundred and fifty officers and men of the United States army, and for every man you hang 1 will hang ten of the United States army.
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, J. E. Pickett,
Doc. 90. DESTRUCTION OF REBEL SALT-WORKS.
REPORT OF ADMIRAL BAILET.
Vxited States Flag-ship Dale, t Ket-wkst, Kl.i., March 6, 1864. f
Won. Gidton Welles, Secretary of the Saty:
Sir: I have the honor to report that two expeditions have recently been fitted out from the United States steamer Tahoma, for the destruction of extensive salt-works, the property of the rebel government, in the neighborhood of St. Mark's, Florida.
The first expedition left the ship on the morning of the seventeenth of February, in two detachments, one under command of Acting Master E. C. Weeks, and the other in charge of Acting Ensign J. G. Koehler. The salt-works being some seven miles in extent, the first detachment commenced at one end of the line, the other at the other. A day and a night of unremitting labor was spent in the work of destruction, when the expedition returned safely to the vessel, having marched through swamps and dense woods a distance of forty miles, and successfully accomplished the object of the undertaking.
On the twenty-seventh, a week later, a second expedition was planned, and carried through with equal success, the object being to destroy some government works at Goose Creek, some ten miles distant. The party was, in this case also, in charge of Acting Master Weeks, and the works to be destroyed were under the protection of a rebel cavalry company, whose pickets the expedition succeeded in eluding. Twelve prisoners were brought off, one the captain of an infantry company raised for coast service.
The works destroyed by these two expeditions produced for the confederates two thousand four hundred bushels of salt per diem. I inclose herewith Lieutenant Commander Harmony's list, forwarded to me, of the articles captured and destroyed.
Very respectfully, Theodokcs Bailey,
Acting Rear-Admiral Commanding E. G. B. Squadron.
List of government property destroyed and captured, belonging to the rebel government, by boats' crew) and refugees, on the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth February, 1864: Three hundred and ninety salt-kettles, average capacity, 100 gallons; 52 sheet-iron boilers, average capacity, 900 gallons; 170 furnaces, made of brick and stone; 150 pumps, wells, and aqueducts; 55 storehouses, used for storage, salt, etc.; 165 houses and shanties; 60 sheds and stables; 6000 bushels of salt, in barrels; a large number of axes, shovels, and hoes; one carpenter-shop, with tools, etc.; one fishing-house; 600 bushels of corn; 350 cords of wood.
Captured—Five large wagons; eighteen mules and sets of harness; 2500 pounds of bacon; two fine horses, saddles, and bridles; about 1000 head of cattle, and one prisoner, G. 11. Paul, government agent.
All the articles captured I gave to the refugees, as they were of no use to us. The estimate value of the above property to the rebels cannot be less than $3,000,000. That is the value put upon it by the most intelligent refugees. List of articles and property destroyed on Goose Creek by the boats' crew from the United States steamer Tahoma, February twentysixth and twenty-seventh, 1804: Two thousand bushels of salt in barrels and bins; three corn-cribs, containing about 1000 bushels; large quantity of hay and fodder; blacksmith's shop and tools; carpenter's shop and tools; about 100 store and other houses, stables, etc.; 165 kettles and pans, average capacity, 100 gallons; 53 large boilers, of about 800 gallons capacity each; 98 well-constructed brick furnaces; nine wagons and carts, 20 sets mule harness.
HCADQUARTKRS DrSTRICT OF TEXAS, Nkw-mbxico, t
Asd Ahizoxa, Houston, Feb. IB, lSo^L f
Special Orders, No. 46.
The Commanding General, learning that some
doubt still exists among the troops as to the permanence as cavalry of those regiments which have been dismounted, again takes occasion to assure the troops that he shall keep all of the regiments in service as cavalry, which have been recently dismounted; that he prefers to have these regiments to inarch on horseback and fight on foot, provided their officers will perfect them in the infantry drill, and that nothing but an absolute necessity, arising from scarcity of forage, or where railroads offer a more rapid transportation, will induce him to dismount his cavalry regiments; and further, that when so dismounted it will be but temporarily, unless in the case of regiments which, having the opportunities, will not avail themselves of them, to "perfect themselves in infantry drill, so essential to the success of our arms and the safety of the men themselves. Ho also again urges upon the officers and men the imperative necessity of taking care of their bayonets, however inconvenient it may be to do so, and upon the officers the duty of preparing bayonet-scabbards out of rawhides, as previously ordered.
The Commanding General avails himself of this opportunity to notice the fact that Terrell's regiment lost not a man by desertion when ordered to be dismounted, notwithstanding the example set them by some others. He holds the officers responsible for the conduct of his men, and hereby calls upon them to use their weapons, at all hazards, against those who attempt to desert under any circumstances, or who may be guilty of mutiny, or of aiding, abetting, joining in, or exciting the same; and in all cases where efficient steps arc not taken by the commanding officers to prevent and punish such crime, they will be arrested and brought before a general courtmartial for trial, conviction, and punishment.
In cases where troops temporarily dismounted are moved from one locality to another, their horses will also be removed to places which are convenient to the men, and where forage at the same time can be procured. It is to be understood, that the short marches, occasionally required to be done by the troops of the regiments temporarily dismounted, when their horses cannot be procured in time, are not to be considered as violations of the assurances held out by this order, and are only here alluded to by the Commanding General to prevent a misinterpretation by his troops, with whom he shall always deal, as he has ever done, with frankness and truth.
By command of Major-Gen. J. B. Magruder.
E. P. Turner,
nEAliqt'AHTr.ns District or Tkxas, Nrw-mlxico, I ARD Arizona, Houston, Feb. 2, 1864. f
Special Orders, No. 33.
VII. It being absolutely necessary to take possession of the cisterns upon Galveston Island for the use of the troops, Mr. Thomas M. League is authorized to tike control and possession of all of the said cisterns. He will permit each family to use what may be necessary for their purposes