GENERAL: A deserter came from Lake City yesterday, who left there on
February 29, and who is apparently a man of very clear and sound judgment. He
was employed at the railroad at Lake City, and had ample means of observation.
He states that immediately after the battle of Olustee (Saturday, February
20), twelve cars loaded exclusively with Confederate wounded came to Lake
City. On Sunday, 8 a.m., seven more arrived, and at 4 p.m., eight additional.
There was one passenger car, the rest box and platform. The passenger
contained at least 60 wounded, and the remainder averaged 40 each, for all
were crowded to their fullest extent. He estimated the wounded at the time at
about 1,000. Our own wounded were taken to Tallahassee, so far as they could
be moved safely; the remainder to Lake City, where the citizens generally
showed them every kindness, cooking for them and paying them all the attention
in their power. It is proper to add that an application was made to the
general commanding Confederate forces to parole our wounded
, which was
refused. Copies of the communications accompany this.
Another deserter states that he was told at Lake City, by the medical
officer in charge of the hospitals there, that over 200 Confederates had been
killed and died from their wounds, and a deserter this moment arrived states
that he was on the field of Olustee after the action; that the belief and
report among the burial parties (of whom he asked the information) was that
350 Confederates were left dead and that about 1,000 were killed and wounded.
And every report that is received goes to show that it has been for them one
of the severest engagements of the war.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,