Report of Brigadier General Alfred H. Colquitt,
commanding Colquitt's Brigade,
on the engagement at Olustee, Florida
BALDWIN, FLA., February 26, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following account of the engagement of the 20th instant, near Ocean Pond: Intelligence having been received of the approach of the enemy, I was instructed to take three regiments of my own brigade, with a section of Gamble's artillery, and proceed to the front and assume command of all the forces which had preceded me, consisting of two regiments of cavalry, under command of Colonel Smith; the Sixty-fourth Georgia Regiment, and two companies of the Thirty-second Georgia Regiment. Subsequently other troops were sent forward, and I was directed to call for such re-enforcements as might be needed.
About 2 miles from Olustee Station I found the enemy advancing rapidly and our cavalry retiring before them. I threw forward a party of skirmishers and hastily formed line of battle under a brisk fire from the enemy's advance, The Nineteenth Georgia was placed on the right and the Twenty-eighth Georgia on the left, with a section of Captain Gamble's artillery in the center. The Sixty-fourth Georgia and the two companies of the Thirty-second Georgia were formed on
the left of the Twenty-eighth, and the Sixth Georgia Regiment was sent still farther to the left to prevent a flank movement of the enemy in that direction. Instructions were sent to Colonel
Smith, commanding cavalry, to place his regiments on the extreme flanks and to guard against any movement of the enemy from either side.
The line of infantry was then ordered to advance, which was gallantly done, the enemy contesting the ground and giving way slowly. Perceiving that the enemy were in strong force, I sent back for re-enforcements and a fresh supply of ammunition. The Sixth Florida Battalion and
Twenty-third Georgia Regiment soon arrived for my support. The Sixth Florida Battalion was formed on the right of the Nineteenth Georgia and in such position as to come in on the left flank
of the enemy. The Twenty-third Georgia was put on the left of the Sixty-fourth Georgia. Colonel Harrison, coming up with the Thirty-second and First Georgia Regulars, took position on the left, between the Twenty-third and Sixth Georgia Regiments, and was instructed to assume the general direction of the left of the line.
The section of Gamble's artillery in the center having been disabled by the loss of horses and injury to limber, Captain Wheaton, who had early arrived upon the field with the Chatham Artillery and had taken position on the right, was ordered to the center to relieve Captain Gamble. This battery moved forward and took position under a heavy fire, and continued to advance with the line of infantry until the close of the action. Toward night, when Captain
Wheaton's ammunition was almost expended, a section of Guerard's battery, of Harrison's brigade, under Lieutenant Gigniliat, moved up and opened fire on the enemy, furnishing Captain Wheaton with part of his ammunition.
After our line had advanced about one-quarter of a mile the engagement became general and the ground was stubbornly contested. With two batteries of artillery immediately in our front and a long line of infantry strongly supported, the enemy stood their ground for some time, until the Sixth Florida Battalion, on the right flank, and all the troops in front pressing steadily forward, compelled them to fall back and leave five pieces of artillery in our possession. At this time, our ammunition beginning to fail, I ordered the commanding officers to halt their regiments and hold their respective positions until a fresh supply could be brought from the ordnance wagons, which, after much delay, had arrived upon the field.
Major Bonaud's battalion came upon the field, followed soon after by the Twenty-seventh Georgia Regiment and the First Florida Battalion. These troops were put in position near the center of the line and a little in advance, to hold the enemy in check until the other commands could be supplied with cartridges. As soon as this was accomplished I ordered a general advance, at the same time sending instructions to Colonel Harrison to move the Sixth and Thirty-second Georgia Regiments around on the right flank of the enemy. The Twenty-seventh Georgia Regiment, under Colonel Zachry, pushing forward with great vigor upon the center, and the whole line moving as directed, the enemy gave way in confusion. We continued the pursuit for several miles, when night put an end to the conflict. Instructions were given to the cavalry to
follow close upon the enemy and seize every opportunity to strike a favorable blow.
The results of the engagement in the killed, wounded, and prisoners of the enemy and our own loss will be found in the reports rendered directly to you.
The gallantry and steady courage of officers and men during this engagement are beyond all praise. For more than four hours they struggled with unflinching firmness against superior numbers until they drove them in confusion and panic to seek safety in flight. Col. George P. Harrison, who commanded on the left, displayed skill, coolness, and gallantry. The commanding officers of the various regiments did their duty nobly. Colonel Evans, commanding Sixty-fourth Georgia, and Captain Crawford, commanding Twenty-eighth Georgia,
both gallant officers, were wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Barrow, of Sixty-fourth Georgia, a brave and gallant officer, received a fatal shot while gallantly attempting to rally his men.
Captain Wheaton and the officers and men of his battery are entitled to special commendation for their courage, coolness, and efficiency. Captain Grattan, assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant
Colquitt, aide-de-camp; Major Ely and Lieutenant Estill, of my staff, were active and conspicuous in every part of the field. My thanks are due to Lieutenant Thomson, Second Florida Regiment, and Mr. Sterling Turner, volunteer aids, for their gallant services. The names of those in the ranks entitled to be particularly mentioned may be furnished in a subsequent report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. H. COLQUITT,
Copied from The Official Records of the War of Rebellion.
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