Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Raid on Marianna - September 25, 1864 (Part One)


This is a rare wartime sketch of Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth on the move. Asboth is the figure in the foreground.
As the sketch illustrates, the general was a lover of animals and often took his two large dogs (one of them is seen here) into the field with him.
Prior to the war Asboth worked as an engineer and surveyor and was responsible for the surveys that established what we know today as New York's famed Central Park. A major supporter of the Central Park Zoo, the general captured wild animals throughout the war - including a Florida black bear - and had them crated up and sent to New York to expand the zoo.
As the sketch shows, he generally disdained formal uniform and usually wore a striped blanket with a hole cut for his head as a poncho instead of a uniform coat.
Such habits made the general extremely popular with his men and throughout the war ordinary soldiers that served under him wrote glowing accounts of the former Hungarian freedom fighter.
The main body of the Federal column crossed the Choctawhatchee River at Cerrogordo on Septemebr 25, 1864. The river was running high and the crossing so arduous that the entire day was spent in the effort. The night of the 25th was spent in camp on the east bank of the river opposite Cerrogordo.
Our series on Asboth's Raid on Marianna will continue. Until the next post, you can read more by visiting www.battleofmarianna.net or by purchasing a copy of my book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida.

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