23rd Georgia Infantry

Letter from H.W.B. to the Editor of The Athens Southern Banner Feb 25th 1864

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The Letter below was written five days after the Battle of Olustee, Fl. on 2-20-64 and was to the Editor of the Athens Southern Banner, it was published March 9th 1864... The author of the letter, initials H.W.B., is believed to be Hugh W Barclay of Company B

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Florida, Feb. 25, 1864
Camp 23rd Ga. Reg. near Baldwin
Mr. Editor:
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Believing a brief account of the engagement at Ocean Pond would be interesting to your readers, I am induced to write. Colquitt's brigade to which I belong, was in camp at the time near Olustee Station, twelve miles east of Lake City. At about 8 o'clock on the morning of the 12th (sic, 20th) inst., we were informed that the Yankees were advancing. A part of the brigade was immediately ordered to some rifle pits hastily constructed near at hand; the remainder forming line of battle in the open field. In this position we patiently awaited the coming of the foe for an hour, when our General, who is a fair man, concluded to meet halfway, and two regiments the 13th (sic) and 28th Ga. were sent forward, the 23rd Ga. following soon after.
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These soon opened the fight, when all the troops were brought forward. The enemy's first line in which all the known tribes were represented, negroes included, after some resistance was broken. The fight was now conducted in Indian style, both sides availing themselves of the protection of pine trees of which kind there was plenty. Our men continued to advance, never halting, making in the meantime the woods ring with the terrible rebel yell, and as a negro or a Yankee run from tree to tree muskets enough were generally leveled at them to stop their career.
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After this manner we drove them about three miles when night put an end to the scene. On the following morning I rode over the field and was surprised to find so many killed, as the fighting had been most altogether a running one. At least two hundred negroes and Yankees lay dead on the field, and as to the captured I have no reliable information, I suppose about three hundred. We captured eight pieces of artillery, thirty four hundred stand of small arms, canteen, oil cloths, knapsacks, watches, & c., any quantity. It was a complete victory. We are now distant from Jacksonville twenty miles, and have just received marching orders. I think we will advance.
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H.W.B.

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