|View of Santa Rosa Sound|
He ultimately decided on a mixed force of cavalry and mounted infantry. It would include three battalions from the 2nd Maine Cavalry, one battalion from the 1st Florida Cavalry U.S. and two detachments of picked men from the 82nd and 86th U.S. Colored Troops. The total strength of the command would be 700 men and all would be mounted. Heavy firepower would be provided if necessary by the two 12-pounder howitzers manned by men from Company M, 2nd Maine Cavalry.
|Four Mile Landing|
Discussing his planned movement with men from the 1st Florida Cavalry (U.S.), Asboth decided to expand the scope of his operations. Scouting parties had just come in from Walton County and from them he learned that two small detachments of Confederate cavalry were camped at Eucheeanna enforcing the conscription (i.e. the draft). They also told him that the fall harvest was underway and that it was the ideal time to strike farms in that area.
|Old Jackson or Federal Road|
In the process, Asboth hoped to capture the Confederate cavalry camped at Eucheeanna to prevent Southern scouts from carrying word to Marianna of his advance.
Meanwhile, as the general continued his planning and organizational work, U.S. Navy ships in the lower Gulf of Mexico encountered a strong tropical system. It does not seem to have been a hurricane, but was a wide tropical storm. Over the coming days, it would play a major role in how the raid turned out.
I will continue to post on the West Florida Raid throughout this month. If you would like to learn more or follow along, I encourage you to consider my book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida. You can order it by clicking the ad at left. It is also available as an instant download for Amazon Kindle users by clicking here: The Battle of Marianna, Florida. The book is also available for instant download at iBooks.
You can always read more about the raid by visiting www.battleofmarianna.com.