While Sherman moves closer to the South Carolina capital of Columbia, further south in Florida a small battle is fought this day.
Near Cedar Key the Battle of Station Four unfolds early in the morning when a contingent of Union raiders, comprised of a contingent of men from the 1st and 2nd Florida U.S. Cavalry and the 2nd U.S. Colored Troops and numbering about 400, are attached by a somewhat smaller detachment of Confederate cavalrymen.
After four hours of fighting that include some casualties on both side, the Confederates, running low on ammunition, fall back. Rather than pursuing their foe, Union forces take the opportunity to also fall back. Each side goes its own way, both claiming victory.
Meanwhile, today’s Georgia Baptist Christian Index summarizes a letter from army missionary Rev. A. Van Hoose, stationed in Mississippi. Voicing confidence in the Confederate Army that belies reality, Hoose also summarizes why the South’s soldiers are not yet ready to give up the fight.
This brother and army Missionary of the Georgia Central Association, writes us a long and interesting letter from Columbus, Miss., which place he reached on the 26th of January. He was much interrupted on this trip back to the army, and was eight days on the way after he left Macon. He informs us that the real loss of our army in the Tennessee campaign has been exaggerated; but he thinks it better for the army and the country that the recent changes made in the army should have been made. He says Stewart’s corps will occupy a central position from which he can move in any direction necessary for foiling the foe. The watchful and indomitable Forrest will be in the right place to give information of the movements of the enemy and meet him and drive him back at every point. On Sabbath, Jan. 29th, he preached two sermons. He says there is manifestly less interest in religious matters in the troops than when he left them at Florence, owing to the absence of religious services and to continual marching and fighting, yet they all seemed delighted to see him again and treat him with great respect and kindness. The soldiers, though desirous of peace, still had rather fight than give up slavery or go back to the Union ….
Sources: The Battle of Station Four (link) and (link); “Rev. A. Van Hoose,” Christian Index, February 16, 1865