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46789Re: Olustee Battlefield Tour

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  • carlw4514
    Jul 20, 2010
      [responding snip style]

      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "First" <rwestb87152002@...> wrote:
      > Although I do not disagree with the assertion that
      > the battle was
      > full of inconsistencies, I do not think that Seymour
      > should be
      > maligned as the sole engineer of his own downfall.

      I agree with you here, although maybe not for the same reasons.
      Thanks for your interest in this.
      It should be noted that I have located no support for my claim that bad Intel was to blame for such a decisive defeat, other than that Fed Cavalry reported light "home guards" only around Ocean Pond.

      > A quick review of the OR 9listed on one of the
      > sites referenced in your e-mail) reveals that
      > Gilmore pressured Seymour into the campaign
      > against Lake City Lake City against Seymour's
      > better judgement.

      If you read Gillmore's reports, he denies this, so I think it turned into a blame game,

      Gillmore:"On the 18th. I was greatly surprised at receiving a letter from General Seymour... stating that he intended to advance without supplies... I at once dispatched General Turner (my chief of staff) to Jacksonville to stop the movement."
      from http://battleofolustee.org/reports/gillmore1.htm

      Gillmore: "General Seymour was never intrusted, and it never was my intention to intrust him with the execution of any general plan in Florida"
      from http://battleofolustee.org/reports/gillmore11.htm

      Now just before reading these OR's [just now], I was just going by the Smithsonian Guide stating that Gillmore had told Seymour to stay and guard Jacksonville. Other sources say Gillmore ordered the expedition. So I chose to say Seymour proceeded "perhaps on his own initiative." I'm not sure anyone has gotten to the bottom of this.

      >The OR's also reveal that Seymour was aware of a force
      >of between 4,000 and 5,000 rebels in the area.

      That is indeed interesting, good job of spotting that. I would have to guess he believed his cavalry found no sign of them in the Olustee area.

      > Rash is hardly the word I would use to
      > describe Seymour.
      > Disrespectful perhaps, but not rash.

      The Smithsonian Guide indicates he was an experienced combat veteran "who had held command in a series of major actions" without evidently particularly distinguishing himself.

      > Florida was not a war unto itself, but part of
      > a larger national strategy requiring the cooperation
      > of disparate
      > commands.... As such, Gilmore and Seymour
      > were likely only a diversion for a
      > much larger operation yet to come.

      Stay tuned for what Lincoln had in mind. As far as further future operations go, they switched to the Tallahassee area. It would seem the Confederate Generals Finegan and Colquitt succeeded not only in winning the battle but also the campaign.
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