54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment : Battle of Olustee

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54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at the Battle of Olustee

Report of Col. Edward N. Hallowell, Fifty-fourth
Massachusetts Infantry, of engagement at Olustee.

Jacksonville, Fla., March 1, 1864.
LIEUT.: At 8.30 o'clock on the morning of February 20, 1864,
the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers left Barber's with its colonel,
lieutenant-colonel, 13 line officers, and about 480 enlisted men, the rest
of the regiment having been detailed for other duty. It marched in
charge of wagon train to Olustee, at which place the train was stopped
and the regiment moved forward at the double-quick about 2 miles,
where it was formed in line between the railroad and dirt road, under
a sharp fire from the enemy. In this formation it advanced some 200
yards through a swamp, driving the enemy from some guns, and
checking the advance of a column of the enemy's infantry. After firing
about 20,000 cartridges, the men of the regiment were ordered to retreat
by Col. James Montgomery, commanding brigade. A new line was
formed on the right of the dirt road, where the regiment staid till after
dark, when it was ordered, through Col. Barton, to march back to
Barber's, where it arrived one hour after midnight.

Their loss in officers was 3 wounded-Capt. R. H. L. Jewett, First
Lieut. H. W. Littlefield, and First Lieut. E. G. Tomlinson-in
enlisted men, killed, 13; wounded, 63; missing, 8; total, 87.

The State color three times fell and each time was caught up by another
corporal. Sergt. Stephen A. Swails, acting sergeant-major, deserves
special praise for his coolness, bravery, and efficiency during the action;
he received a severe but not mortal wound in the head.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Col. Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers.

Lieut. R. M. HALL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Source: Official Records, CHAP. LIII. THE FLORIDA EXPEDITION. [Series I. Vol. 35. Part I, Reports and Correspondence. Serial No. 65.]

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