Hugh W. Barclay
23rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Company K, "Choestoe Guards"
to Editor of Athens Banner Herald of Athens, Ga.
(The nearest newspaper to Blairsville, Georgia)
published March 9,1864
written February 25, 1864
Florida, Feb. 25, 1864
Camp 23rd Ga. Reg. near Baldwin [Florida]
Mr. Editor: Believing a brief account of the engagement at Ocean Pond would be interesting to your readers, I am induced to write. Colquitt's brigade to which I belong, was in camp at the time near Olustee Station, twelve miles east of Lake City. At about 8 o'clock on the morning of the 12th (sic, 20th) inst., we were informed that the Yankees were advancing. A part of the brigade was immediately ordered to some rifle pits hastily constructed near at hand; the remainder forming line of battle in the open field. In this position we patiently awaited the coming of the foe for an hour, when our General, who is a fair man, concluded to meet halfway, and two regiments the 13th [sic] and 28th Ga. were sent forward, the 23rd Ga. following soon after.
These soon opened the fight, when all the troops were brought forward. The enemy's first line in which all the known tribes were represented, negroes included, after some resistance was broken. The fight was now conducted in Indian style, both sides availing themselves of the protection of pine trees of which kind there was plenty. Our men continued to advance, never halting, making in the meantime the woods ring with the terrible rebel yell, and as a negro or a Yankee run from tree to tree muskets enough were generally leveled at them to stop their career.
After this manner we drove them about three miles when night put an end to the scene. On the following morning I rode over the field and was surprised to find so many killed, as the fighting had been most altogether a running one. At least two hundred negroes and Yankees lay dead on the field, and as to the captured I have no reliable information, I suppose about three hundred. We captured eight pieces of artillery, thirty four hundred stand of small arms, canteen, oil cloths, knapsacks, watches, & c., any quantity. It was a complete victory. We are now distant from Jacksonville twenty miles, and have just received marching orders. I think we will advance. .........................................................................H.W.B.
See Battle of Ocean Pond at Olustee, Florida web site. This letter is definitely from Lt. Hugh W. Barclay, 23rd G.V.I.R., Co. K “Choestoe Guards” of Union County. There is no other H.W.B. in the 23rd. He was mustered in as a 2nd Lieutenant on August 31, 1861; elected 1st Lieutenant in 1862; captured at Chancellorsville, Virginia May 3, 1863; paroled at Fort Delaware, Delaware May 1863; exchanged at City Point, Virginia May 23, 1863; elected Major of the 30th Battalion Georgia Cavalry August 15, 1864. Elected Lieutenant Colonel of the 11th Regiment Georgia Cavalry October 25, 1864; and signed roster as Lieutenant Colonel Commanding February 2, 1865. There is no later record.
Hugh W. Barclay survived the war and went to Texas.
Before he died in Texas, he wrote his autobography.