General Seymour Too Lax?

Boston Journal.

MARCH 10, 1864.


Gen. Seymour's Florida Expedition. A Jacksonville correspondent of the New York Post ascribes the recent disaster to our forces in Florida to the too confining treatment of the inhabitants by Gen. Seymour. All trade restrictions were removed at Jacksonville, in order to encourage the business men of Florida to resume trade under the old flag. On taking the oath of allegiance people where allowed to come and go freely through the lines, and doubtless many spies were thus able to obtain important information relative to the strength of our forces and their intended movements. The impression became general, made by the reports of this class of persons, that we should not encounter the rebels in force till we reached Tallahassee. The writer says:

"In the mean time vigilant enemy had pushed a strong force down ten miles this side of Lake City, and formed, an important strategic point, an intrenched camp, covering rifle pits. This had been done so quietly, so skillfully and secretly, that our officers knew nothing of it till they found themselves in the nicely prepared ambuscade. Whilst on the march, many companies not having their guns loaded, much of the artillery empty, and with scouts and skirmishers with but a short distance in advance of the main force, our army was greeted with shot, shell, grape and cannister and we were in such close range that the gunners to some of our artillery were killed with buckshot, whilst loading their guns for the first time in the action.

All along the route Gen. Seymour had treated the citizens like friends and brothers, but not one was believed among all who had informed him of the preparations that had been made to receive him at Olustee. Persons claiming to be deserters came in and informed us that there were not five thousand rebel soldiers in Florida-that nearly all had gone to reinforce Johnston, preparatory to an assault upon Grant at Chattanooga. We now know that immediately on our landing in Jacksonville, Beauregard sent troops from Savannah, Charleston, Atlanta, and called in all the small detachments General Finnegan had in Florida for the purpose of saving the State."

Unidentified correspondent.

Article from Boston Journal, March 10, 1864; pg. 4, col. 2.
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Hayes is currently working on a historical reference work, "Letters of the Civil War," from the newspapers of the cities and towns of Massachusetts.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."

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