Monday, February 1, 2010

Captain Jesse J. Norwood's Marianna Home - A New Roster

The Marianna Home Guard is one of the best known "citizen soldier" units of Florida's involvement in the War Between the States.

Commanded by Captain Jesse J. Norwood, the company was formed in Marianna during the late summer of 1864 under the direct supervision of Governor John Milton. The governor had issued an executive order in July calling on every man and boy in the state aged 15 and up to form into militia or "home guard" companies to defend Florida against expected Union invasion.

The Marianna Home Guard would become the most famed of these units, almost fighting to death in defense of the Jackson County city when it was attacked by Union troops on September 27, 1864. In a stand remembered by some as "Florida's Alamo," Norwood and his men fought a much larger Federal force to a stalemate until they began to run low on ammunition.

For many years the anniversary of the Battle of Marianna was observed in Florida as Marianna Day. Despite the well known nature of the Marianna Home Guard's stand at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, the unit has always been shrouded in mystery. There was no official roster and the membership of the unit has been a matter of question almost since the smoke cleared.

For my new book - The History of Jackson County, Florida: The War Between the States - be released later this week, I spent a great deal of time researching Norwood and his men and have assembled the most complete roster I've been able to develop to date. It is included in the appendices of the new book, but I've also posted it on my Battle of Marianna website. If you would like to take a look, please visit and just look for the link on the right hand side of the main page.

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