Unidentified Civilian with the Union Army
February 26, 1864

The following is from the book, On the Altar of Freedom: A Black Soldier's Civil War Letters from the Front. (ISBN 0-446- 39414-9) For more information about this book, see Captain Grace's letter.

This is an extract from a letter from Beaufort, S.C., dated February 26, 1864, from "a gentleman who accompanied General Seymour" and was printed in The Liberator on March 18, 1964.

"A word about the terrible defeat in Florida ... The rebels allowed us to penetrate, and then with ten to our one, cut us off, meaning to `bag' us. And had it not been for the glorious Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, the whole brigade would have been captured or annihilated. This was the only regiment that rallied, broke the rebel ranks, and saved us. The 8th United States Colored lost their flag twice, and the Fifty-fourth recaptured it each time. They have lost in killed and missing about 350. They would not retreat when ordered, but charged on them with the most fearful desperation ... If this regiment has not won glory enough to have shoulder straps, where is there one that ever did."

Other Letters from Olustee
Battle of Olustee home page