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    Union Army Florida Expedition Archive, including six official military letters dated between April 23, 1864, and December 23, 1864, regarding the Union expedition from Baldwin, Florida, to Magnolia, Florida. This collection includes orders to destroy Confederate property, collect slaves, prevent pillaging, and seizing property for military uses.

    The first letter, dated April 23, 1864, is written from Colonel W. H. Noble concerning the early movements of the expedition from Baldwin to Magnolia. The second is a fair copy from "Hd. Quarters of Fla, Jacksonville" dated August 13, 1864, from Brigadier General John P. Hatch to Colonel W. H. Noble, reporting upcoming Union troop movements, such as, "The 104th will take position at Cedar Creek, except those companies on the road between that point and Jacksonville who will occupy their present position." Also included is an order to destroy a railroad trestle: "Col. Hart will take up the boards laid down on the Trestle, between Baldwin and Cedar Creek to prevent the enemys Scouts using he bridge. We will not burn the bridge."

    The third letter is a fair copy from "Hd. Qrs. Dist. Of Florida Jacksonville, Fla." dated Aug. 13, 1864, from Brigadier General Hatch to Colonel Noble communicating instructions "to guide Colonel Harris with his cavalry during the Raid. . . . He will proceed direct from Baldwin to the bridge west of Trailridge over New River. This bridge he will destroy." Hatch then lists specific orders and when to accomplish them, for example, "Second day, he will proceed to or tht[?] vicinity of Gainesville. Third day will scour the country in that vicinity collecting negroes, horses, mules, wagons, &c. . . . Pillaging will be prevented as far as practicable. Receipts will be given for animals taken when the owner is supposed loyal. All property captured is for the benefit of the government. A watch must be kept on the guides to prevent outrages being committed by them."

    From "Hd. Qrs. Dist. Of Florida Jacksonville, Fla.," the fourth letter is dated August 14, 1864, by order of Brigadier General Hatch to Colonel Noble at Baldwin. This letter orders Noble to inform his scouts of the punishment for pillaging: "They will be subject to military discipline and any violation by them of the regulations or articles of war with respect to pillaging will be punished in the same manner as thought they were enlisted men." Hatch gives further orders concerning the appropriation of civilian property: "At least three milch cows will be left to a family, and one horse, unless the family is known to be so hostile to us as to make it almost certain that it would be willingly given up to our enemies. The fact of a man being a Union man will not prevent his horses being seized but in such cases receipts for the same will be given him."

    On September 17, 1864, Captain Thorndike D. Hodges wrote from "Head Qrs. District of Florida, D.S., Jacksonville, Fla." to Colonel Hatch by order of Major General John G. Foster, forwarding a reprimand by Foster in which Foster calls a recent report by Colonel Noble "ridiculous."

    In the final letter, Brigadier General Hatch reports from "Hd Qrs. Dist. Fla.," September 6, 1864, that Colonel Noble did not follow orders: "I am sorry to have to State that Col. Noble did not take the route he was instructed to take. His movement was intended to be a demonstration against Lake City to be made on the west Side of the Rail Road. He appears to have kept almost entirely on the east Side of the road."

    Small in population, Florida was considered a Confederate backwater. Several skirmishes were fought there but only one major battle, the Battle of Olustee on February 20, 1864, in which Confederate forces defeated Union forces. Though some Union policymakers preferred to forego any further involvement in Florida, this collection of letters presenting a Union expedition in the northern part of the state shows that this did not happen. This collection is in fine condition, with expected toning and usual folds; minor soiling.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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