Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Battle of Marianna, Florida - September 27, 1864, 12:20 p.m.
The bayonet charge by the men from the 82nd and 86th U.S. Colored Infantries forced Norwood and the main body of the Marianna Home Guard into the burial ground behind St. Luke's Church.
There they continued to fight, shooting from behind tombstones and trees, as the Union troops returned fire.
The intent of the Confederates seems to have been to continue withdrawing deeper into town, forcing the Federals to engage in "urban warfare" of sorts. This plan came to an end when the Union troops of the flanking party gave up their attempts to take the bridge and closed in on the home guards from behind.
Norwood and his men were ultimately surrounded here in the cemetery, but continued to fight. A Union officer convinced some of them to surrender, but as this group was laying down its weapons, another group of Southerners continued to fire and wounded the officer. His outraged troops resumed firing on all of the Confederates and the battle continued at short range.
Finally, another Union officer convinced the Confederates of the futility of continuing the battle and again managed to convince them to surrender. As they were laying down their weapons, however, the still outraged men from the U.S.C.I. regiments fired a volley into them, wounding several.
At this stage of the battle, Captain George H. Maynard of the 82nd U.S.C.I. stepped forward and placed his pistol to the head of one of his own men, threatening to shoot the first man that dared shoot a prisoner. The action brought the main fighting to an end and the men of Norwood's command gave up their arms to overwhelming numbers.
Maynard later received the Congressional Medal of Honor in part for his actions at St. Luke's Church in Marianna.
Our series will continue, but you can always read more by visiting www.battleofmarianna.net.