Early in February 1864, Major General Quincy A. Gillmore, commanding the Federal Department of the South with headquarters at Hilton Head, South Carolina, ordered Brigadier General Truman Seymour, commander of the District of Hilton Head, to prepare his forces for a seaborne expedition. Subsequent orders, issued after the embarkation of the troops, directed the expedition to the east coast of Florida. On February 7, Seymour’s forces reached the mouth of the St. Johns River. They ascended the river to Jacksonville and soon took possession of the town. Meeting only token resistance in the area, they began raiding operations outward from Jacksonville. As advance units of the Federal forces pushed toward the interior of the state, Brigadier General Joseph Finegan, the Confederate commander in East Florida, was gathering forces at Lake City approximately sixty miles west of Jacksonville.
Breeze, Lawrence E.
"The Battle of Olustee: Its Meaning for the British,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 43
, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol43/iss3/3