Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18, 1864 - Along the old Jackson Road

The raid on Marianna passed through the Naval Live Oaks Reserve on September 18, 1864, following an old trail that some by that time called the "Old Jackson Road" even though it was never used by Andrew Jackson.

The section of trail followed by the Union troops as they left Gulf Breeze still exists today and probably looks remarkably like it did in 1864. It is located north of the highway in the Naval Live Oaks Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore and can be followed on foot through the national park area.

The Naval Live Oaks were originally set aside as a national preserve for the U.S. Navy. The massive oak trees provided ideal timbers for use in the construction of wooden ships. The age of wooden fighting ships eventually passed and today the beautiful preserve is part of the national seashore and offer stunning scenery along both Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound, hiking trails, picnic areas and a visitor center with historical exhibits.

The Jackson Trail itself is actually a section of the old Federal road, built in the 1820s to connect Pensacola and St. Augustine. This section follows an older Indian trail. Funded by the U.S. Congress, the road was the first built by the United States after it took possession of Florida to connect the east and west coasts of Florida.

Accounts of the 1864 raid indicate it had been raining heavily as the soldiers in Asboth's column made their way east up the old road. Much of the route was muddy and portions were underwater.

You can learn more about the preserve at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/navalliveoaks and more about the Marianna raid at www.battleofmarianna.com.

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