Letter from Captain Winston Stephens
Company B, 2nd Florida Cavalry
21 February 1864
Winston Stephens (1856) in his Seminole War uniform
Photograph courtesy of P.K. Younge Library of Florida History,
Archivist Bruce S. Chappell
In 1861, Winston Stephens was Lieutenant of the St. John's Rangers under Captain Hopkins. By 1862, the company was called "Captain Stephens' Independent Cavalry" and in December, by special order, the company became Company B, 2nd Florida Cavalry.
Camp BeauregardMy own dear wife - I am now writing with a Yankee pen, Yankee ink and on Yankee Paper captured on the battlefield. We had one of the hottest contested battles of the war on yesterday, commencing about 2 o'clock PM and ending 1/2 past 5 PM and during the whole time there was not a moments cessation in the fire. Men never fought better than our men did, and God seemed to shield them in great measure from destruction as the loss on our side is comparatively light.
Feb. 21st 1864
We can't tell yet how much it is, but I think from all I can learn that 300 will cover dead and wounded and the enemy think that they have lost 1500 men killed and wounded.
I am so tired and dirty, I can hardly keep my eyes open to write. Davis will write by this mail. I went over the battleground this morning on my way to camp and never in all my life have I seen such a distressing sight, some men with their legs carried off others with their brains out and mangled in every conceivable way and then our men commenced stripping them of their clothing and left their bodies naked.
I never want to see another battle or go on the field after it is over.
I have only received one letter from you in nearly three weeks. I do wish you would write. I can get a letter any day here as the cars come through. When you feel like writing do so and don't wait for me.
I must close. Give my love to Mother and the boys kiss Dear Rosa tell her Pa thought of her Ma often while under fire and I feel thankful to God that he has been so merciful to me and mine. Goodbye my darling and may the Giver of Good continue to watch over us in mercy. I am as ever your devoted husband.
2nd letter from Captain Stephens
Other Letters from Olustee
Battle of Olustee home page