The Union army, commanded by Brigadier General Truman Seymour, spent the night of February 19th at Barbers Station, about twenty-five miles east of Lake City. Their commander was a thirty-nine year old Vermonter, son of a Methodist minister and 1846 graduate of West Point. An artilleryman, Seymour served in the Mexican and Florida wars, receiving several brevet promotions. He was present at the Fort Sumter bombardment in April, 1861, and in early 1862 was promoted to brigadier general, serving in the Army of the Potomac's Fifth Corps during the Peninsula Campaign. At Second Bull Run, South Mountain and Antietam he performed capably, particularly in his brigade's capture of Turner's Gap, Maryland. Seymour was sent to the Department of the South late in 1862, where he gained notoriety for the unsuccessful and controversial assault on Battery Wagner in July 1863. Wounded at Wagner, he saw little field duty for the remainder of the year.
One of the most experienced subordinates of Major General Quincy Gillmore, commander of the Union Army's Department of the South, Seymour was chosen to command a portion of the troops selected for the Florida campaign. Following Gillmore's return to department headquarters at South Carolina, Seymour found himself in overall charge of the expedition. Full-bearded, but with a deceptively youthful appearance, Seymour's reputation was that of an aggressive, sometimes rash commander, who often succeeded in battle, but at a heavy cost. Seymour's performance at Olustee reaffirmed this estimate of his generalship, and he was severely criticized in the northern press after the defeat.
Despite such criticism, Seymour next received assignment to the Army of the Potomac. Confederate forces captured him at the Wilderness in May 1864, but following exchange he commanded a division in the Sixth Corps during the war's latter stages. After the end of the war Seymour remained in the Regular Army until 1876. He then resided in Florence Italy, dying there in 1891.
After the initial Florida landings, Seymour placed a number of units on garrison duty at Jacksonville and other locations., He then organized his remaining units into three infantry brigades, a brigade of cavalry and mounted infantry, and supporting artillery elements. The first brigade of Seymour's small army, commanded by Colonel William B. Barton, consisted of the Forty-seventh, Forty-eighth, and 115th New York Infantry. These veteran units provided the Federal commander with his most reliable infantry force in the Florida campaign.,
Reports on early skirmishes, February 11, 1864
Reports on initial advance into Florida, February 11, 1864
Reports on initial advance into Florida, February 12, 1864
Request permission to remain across the St. Mary's, February 13, 1864
Reports on progress into Florida, February 17, 1864 [first report of that date?]
Reports on progress into Florida, February 17, 1864 [second report of that date?]
Reporting success in raid on Gainesville, February 17, 1864
General Orders No. 5, February 17, 1864
Initial report of the Battle, February 20, 1864
Explaining the defeat at Olustee, February 22, 164
Letter to Brigadier General Finegan, CSA, February 23, 1864
BGen Seymour reports on casualties at Olustee, February 25, 1864
Report to General Gillmore, February 26, 1864
Report on Union and Confederate Wounded, March 2, 1864
General Orders No. 13, to his troops, March 10, 1864
Commends units and officers on their performance, March 25, 1864
Editor's Note: Seymour was a graduate of West Point and was on duty at Fort Sumter when the Confederates opened fire and the Civil War began. After the fort was surrendered to the Confederates, the U.S. Army officers present had their photograph taken, then Captain Truman Seymour among them.
Boston Journal article on Brigadier General Seymour's laxness, March 10, 1864
External Web sites related to the Battle of Olustee
Wikipedia page on Truman Seymour
Union Order of Battle
Battle of Olustee home page