Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Battle of Marianna, Florida - September 27, 1864, 12:10 p.m.
The Union troops drove the main force of the Marianna Home Guard back from the north side of the street and into the yard surrounding St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
The church, which looked much like the present structure although it was built of wood instead of brick, was surrounded by a stout board fence that the Confederates used as a makeshift fortification.
Heavy fighting took place here as the home guards and volunteers took up positions behind the fence and continued to exchange fire with the Union troops in the street.
General Asboth has been seriously wounded at the barricade and command of the Federal troops fell to his second in command, Colonel L.L. Zulavsky. Unable to dislodge the Southerners from the churchyard fence with gunfire alone, the colonel ordered his two companies of mounted infantrymen to dismount and prepare for a bayonet charge.
Forming the middle of Lafayette Street, the two units of picked men from the 82nd and 86th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiments fixed bayonets and charged the fence. Eyewitnesses described them going "up and over" it, driving back the fiercely resisting Confederates.
Norwood pulled his men to the rear of the church as the battle entered a new and even more deadly phase.
Our series will continue. You can always read more about the Battle of Marianna at www.battleofmarianna.net.