|Camp Finegan was on the railroad that connected|
Jacksonville and Baldwin in Northeast Florida.
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Having established a beachhead at Jacksonville the previous afternoon (see Union Troops take Jacksonville), the Federals pushed west for Camp Finegan, which stood in what are now the western suburbs of Jacksonville. A Confederate cavalry force was there under Lt. Col. McCormick, Second Florida Cavalry, along with two companies of the Milton Light Artillery under Captains Joseph Dunham and Henry Abel.
Informed by pickets of the landing of the enemy at Jacksonville, McCormick put his men into line of battle to protect both the camp and the railroad as the Union mounted force approached:
|Jacksonville rail station, 1864|
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Collection
A more detailed account of the Confederate disaster at Camp Finegan was provided by Brig. Gen. Truman Seymour (US), who exercised direct command of the advancing force:
Colonel Henry came first in contact with the enemy's line of battle at Camp Finegan, about 8 o'clock, and rode it down, pursuing for several miles and capturing 5 field guns, with caissons, battery wagon, and forge complete, and 3 flags. In the camp was found a considerable quantity of transportation material, of clothing, and of camp equipage. - Brig Gen Truman Seymour (US) to Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore (US), February 17, 1864.
|Brig. Gen. Truman A. Seymour, USA|
...They approached Camp Finegan as the command there were in the act of retiring. Their largely superior numbers deterred Lieutenant-Colonel McCormick, commanding, from attacking them, and in the darkness of the night he withdrew his command with caution and address and joined me at Camp Beauregard, near Ocean Pond, on the Olustee, on the 13th instant. The enemy with celerity pressed on to Baldwin, capturing on their way 5 guns of Companies A and B, Milton Light Artillery, which had been ordered to Baldwin. - Brig. Gen. Joseph Finegan (CS) to Brig. Gen. Thomas Jordan (CS), February 26, 1864.
|Brig. Gen. Joseph Finegan, CSA|
According to a report by Captain Abel, the commander of Company B., Milton Light Artillery, the Confederate cannon captured in the attack were three 3-inch rifle from his own company and two 6-pounder bronze smoothbores from Captain Dunham's company. He also confirmed the loss of the caissons, forge and battery wagon.
As the night went on, the Federal army continued its push west up the railroad for the important crossing of Baldwin. I will post more about that in the next article.
Be sure to learn more about the Battle of Olustee and see the new mini-documentary on the battle by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/olustee.