Beef or Politics?

MARCH 2, 1864.


The Florida Expedition. The opposition press seek to throw upon the President the responsibility for the recent disaster to our arms in Florida. They say that the expedition was undertaken, under his directions, to "organize" that State under emancipation proclamation, and bring in back in season to vote in the next Presidential election. This has been repeated so often by a reckless partisan press that we have no doubt they have begun to believe it to be true. At all events, they are determine to act on the principle that "a lie well stuck to is as good as the truth." It is well for the public to understand that there is no substantial basis for this statement of the objects of the expedition. It was originally a flying rumor in Washington connected with the departure of Col. Hay, the Private Secretary of the President, for Hilton Head, and had no other foundation than the fertile imagination of an enterprising correspondent.

This pretended object of the expedition is not even hinted at in any letter from Florida. On the contrary, all concur in stating that the movement was to cut off the supply of beef cattle which the rebels have largely derived from that State. The importance of this enterprise will readily be understood, when it is remembered that the rebel army in Virginia has been on short rations during the winter, at one time no meat ration having been served for ten days. From all the information that has been made public it would appear that gen. Gillmore intended to advance his lines to Baldwin, twenty miles west of Jacksonville, which is on the main railroad thoroughfare through the heart of Florida, commanding the whole interior communication of a region prolific in animal life. There is some possibility in the statement that Gen. Seymour exceeded his instructions, and instead of fortifying himself at Baldwin went in search of a fight and got whipped.

Article in the Boston Journal; March 2, 1864; pg. 2, col. 1.

It is made available here through the courtesy of Thomas Hayes,

Hayes is currently working on a historical reference work, "Letters of the Civil War," from the newspapers of the cities and towns of Massachusetts. He has researched the Boston Herald, Chelsea Telegraph and Pioneer, Dedham Gazette, Roxbury Gazette, Randolph Transcript, Worcester Transcript and the Malden Messenger. He says, "I have filed, by date, a little over 3,300 letters. These are from the Soldiers, Sailors, Nurses, Correspondents and Politicans. This project started out as a simple endeavor to find that one letter from my Grandfather, Walter A. Hewes, who served in the 1st Mass. Infantry and 4th Mass. Cavalry. To date, no luck, but I have about 30 more papers to research."

Other Letters from Olustee
Battle of Olustee home page