Thursday, January 10, 2008

Webbville - Plantation of Lt. Col. W.D. Barnes

This hilltop a few miles northeast of Cottondale in western Jackson County was the site of Webbville, the plantation of Lt. Col. W.D. Barnes of the 1st Florida Infantry Barnes.
Webbville was originally the site of a small town established during the 1820s. For a time the community rivaled nearby Marianna for the title of County Seat of Jackson County, but by the time of the War Between the States the town had vanished. The rich farmland of the area remained important, however, and Webbville transitioned from town to plantation during the 1840s and 1850s. By the time the war began in 1861, the farm was the property of W.D. Barnes.
Born in 1830 and an officer of the circuit court before the war, Barnes began his military career on August 5, 1862, when he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in Company G, 2nd Florida Cavalry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant and named adjutant of the 2nd Cavalry in September of the same year.
When the 1st Florida Infantry Reserves were formed during the late spring and summer of 1864, Barnes was transferred to the new regiment and promoted to lieutenant colonel. In this role, he commanded a portion of the main battle line during the Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida, on March 6, 1865, and assumed command of the regiment following the wounding of Colonel J.J. Daniel.
He served until the end of the war and returned to Jackson County to resume his prewar agricultural and legal occupations. He is buried at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Marianna.
During the Union raid on Marianna in September of 1864, the Webbville plantation was severely damaged by Federal troops. Eyewitness accounts report that Union foragers ransacked the plantation on the morning of September 27, 1864, just hours before the Battle of Marianna. As much damage as possible was done to the property and, in addition, most of the enslaved laborers there were liberated and joined the Union column as it advanced on the county seat.


Anonymous said...

I am enjoying your history on Jackson County. Do you know anymore about Col. Barnes? I am a Barnes decendent, and wonder if there might be more info on him.

Dale said...

Thank you for your note. Yes, I have quite a bit of information on him. Email me by going to and I will be glad to share what I have with you.