Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Raid on Marianna - September 16, 1864
Today we begin a new series on Asboth's 1864 raid on Marianna.
This photograph shows the National Park Service Visitor Center at Fort Barrancas near Pensacola. The historic fort is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore and is located on board the Pensacola Naval Air Station. It is open to the public daily.
The post - a serious of barracks, structures and camps - adjacent to Fort Barrancas was the primary Union base for troops in the Pensacola Bay area during the Civil War.
It was here that Union Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth established his headquarters after being assigned to the command of the District of West Florida in 1863. By the fall of 1864, he had assembled a force here that included the 2nd Maine Cavalry, 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry, 7th Vermont Veteran Volunteers, 82nd U.S. Colored Infantry and 86th U.S. Colored Infantry. Horses were in short supply, a fact that diminished his offensive capability.
In early September Asboth received intelligence that Confederate troops were engaged in an effort to fortify the city of Marianna, then the largest community in the interior of Northwest Florida. His informants also told him that 300 Union prisoners were being held in the city provided good intelligence on the status and positions of Confederate forces in the region.
Believing that the conditions were right for a strike, on September 16, 1864, the general began to organize his forces for a raid on Marianna. Advance parties were sent across Pensacola Bay to Navy Cove (Gulf Breeze) to secure a landing point for the main force and staff meetings were held to assemble a command for the planned expedition.
Our series on the 1864 Raid on Marianna will continue. Until the next post you can read more by visiting www.battleofmarianna.net. Also please consider my book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida, now available at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/dalecox.