Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17, 1864 on Pensacola Bay

September 17, 1864, was one of the busiest days of the war on the waters of Pensacola Bay.

The Quartermaster steamer Lizzie Davis, a former Confederate blockade runner captured off Mobile Bay earlier in the war and on loan from the U.S. Navy, began the process of transporting 700 men and their horses across the bay from Barrancas to Navy Cove at what is now the city of Gulf Breeze. It was the first stage of a raid that would occupy the last two weeks of September and cover more miles than Sherman's famed March to the Sea.

Asboth's Raid was one of the most significant episodes of the Civil War in Florida. It involved skirmishes at  Eucheanna, Campbellton and Vernon as well as a fierce encounter remembered today as the Battle of Marianna. By the time he returned to Pensacola Bay, bleeding from severe wounds, Brigadier General Alexander Asboth would inflict the worst economic devastation of the war experienced in Florida on Walton, Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties. Not only that, his raid resulted in the capture of 81 Confederates, many of them young boys or men over military age taken prisoner at Marianna; the liberation of 600 African American slaves, the largest such mass liberation in Florida during the war; the capture of hundreds of head of horses, mules and cattle, and the destruction of barns, homes, farms and a church.

I retraced the route and events of the raid last year (check the archives for September 2009), so this year I thought I would feature some of the other stories associated with Asboth's raid. Hopefully you will find them interesting.  Check tomorrow evening for the first.

You can always read more about the raid at www.battleofmarianna.com.

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