Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Raid on Marianna - September 18, 1864

This is a view of Pensacola Bay from the heights at Fort Barrancas. The dark form in the distance on Santa Rosa Island is Fort Pickens.

On this date, September 18th, in 1864, the main body of Asboth's force completed its crossing of the bay to Navy Cove at present-day Gulf Breeze.

The quartermaster steamer Lizzie Davis made repeated trips back and forth across the bay to move men, horses, artillery and supplies from Barrancas Post to the landing point.

Asboth himself left Barrancas on the 18th and crossed over with his staff. Later on the same afternoon, with an advance force, he headed east along the old Military or "Jackson" Road. Although tradition at the time held that the road had been constructed by Andrew Jackson, it actually post-dated his march through Northwest Florida by about 6 years. A part of the old Federal Road, the route followed by Asboth and his men had been widened from a Native American trail by Captain Daniel Burch in 1824.

The section of road followed by the Union troops ran along the north shore of Santa Rosa Sound, parallel to the beach from Pensacola Bay east to Choctawhatchee Bay. The troops advanced to the Narrows of Santa Rosa Sound, near present-day Fort Walton Beach, where a base camp was established on the night of the 18th.

Our series on Asboth's 1864 raid on Marianna will continue. Until the next post, you can read more by visiting www.battleofmarianna.net. Also please consider my 2007 book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida, available for order online by clicking here.

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