Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Raid on Marianna - September 21, 1864
On September 21, 1864, the Federal raiders pushed north into the Shoal River area of eastern Okaloosa and western Walton Counties (then all part of Walton).
This photograph of the Shoal River is from the photographic collection at the Florida State Archives.
In 1864, the beautiful river was the location of several large cattle ranges. The most significant of these were owned by the extensive Cawthon family. Headed by William Cawthon, this family owned vast real estate holdings stretching from near Dothan, Alabama, all the way down into Northwest Florida.
The raiders pushed into the Shoal River area during the evening of September 21st. In addition to securing beef cattle and rounding up any horses they could find, they also took several men prisoner. Among these were William and Lafayette Cawthon, sons of the prominent rancher and members of the 15th Confederate Cavalry. They were at Lafayette's home on leave at the time and were taken prisoner without a fight.
Either Asboth already knew of the presence of a camp of Confederate cavalry at nearby Eucheeanna, then the county seat of Walton County, or he learned it from a Union sympathizer in the Shoal River area. The next morning he turned east in a move that brought him within range of Eucheeanna for a strike at daybreak on the 23rd.
Our series on Asboth's 1864 raid on Marianna will continue. Until the next post, you can learn more by visiting www.battleofmarianna.net. Also please consider my book on the subject, The Battle of Marianna, Florida. You can obtain ordering information by clicking here.