Diary of a Yankee Engineer: The Civil War Story of John H. Westervelt, Engineer, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps

By John H. Westervelt; Anita Palladino | Go to book overview

Diary of an Engineer During the
Rebellion

No. 31

Feb 23rd, 1864 News has just reached us of a temporary defeat of the expedition to Florida.1 Our forces had to retreat to the town I mentioned as having been captured by them, the loss on both was considerable on both sides, but as this journal is intended to record but little as such incidents as may come under my personal observation, I refer you to the papers for particulars. Today was general inspection of our battalion by the post inspector. A general inspection is an occurrence of considerable interest and importance, but as I find when I undertake to describe military matters it takes too much space, I shall omit any description of this interesting event. 8 P.M. I have just been informed that an order is in camp for myself and several others to report to Lieut Coe at the Head. I cannot say that I am glad unless it may afford a chance of going to Fla. I had become settled and satisfied in the co and was no way anxious to return to the depot, but such is military life. I forgot to say the Engs with the expedition met with no casualty. 9 P.M. I have seen the order and find it is to Jacksonville instead of the Head and requires us to start in the morning. This is joyful news for me. 24th Packed up ready to start but waited impatiently all day without the necessary order to move. 25th Took the Beaufort boat at 10 A.M. for the Head. At 12M, went on shore and took dinner at the depot. I saw Lieut Coe who told me that I might consider myself once more attached to the depot, that I was accounted for on his books, and that another branch is being started at Jacksonville under the superintendence of Lieut Talcott to whom I am to report. This is satisfactory to me. I now proceeded to

1. The only major engagement in Florida, the Battle of Olustee, took place a few days previously, on February 20. Long, Civil War Day by Day, p. 466. One-third of the troops under Brig. Gen. Truman Seymour suffered casualties, and Union forces retreated to Jacksonville. Faust, Encyclopedia of the Civil War, p. 545.

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