Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Battle of Marianna, 148 years ago today

Battle of Marianna Monument
The Battle of Marianna, Florida, one of the sharpest small encounters of the War Between the States, took place 148 years ago today.

Here are some facts about this encounter that you may not know:
  • 25% of Marianna's war-time population vanished in a single day, either killed, wounded, captured or voluntarily going away with the Union troops.
  • 600 slaves followed the Union troops back to Pensacola, the largest single emancipation of slaves in Florida during the war.
  • Jackson, Washington, Holmes and Walton Counties sustained more economic damage during the Marianna raid than did any other counties in Florida during the entire war.
  • The Confederate commander, Colonel Alexander Montgomery, was a seasoned field officer who had remained on the field in command of the 3rd Georgia Infantry at the Battle of Second Manassas, despite being seriously wounded.
  • The Union commnader, Brigadier General Alexander Asboth, was a former Hungarian freedom fighter who was credited with helping to save the Union army at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. He was seriously wounded in that encounter and was wounded again at Marianna.
  • The raid ended mail service to the interior counties of the Florida Panhandle and it would not be restored until well after the end of the war.
  • Four Confederate soldiers and volunteers burned to death in St. Luke's Episcopal Church after refusing to surrender.
  • The Ely-Criglar home, which was in the line of fire during the Battle of Marianna, is thought to be the most battle-scarred private home in Florida.
  • The Confederate commander, Colonel Montgomery, was taken prisoner and refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Union at the end of the war and was held in prison for months after the final collapse of the Confederacy.
  • The Union commander, General Asboth, was a surveyor and engineer before the war. He supervised the surveys for famed Central Park in New York City.
  • There are multiple accounts, both Northern and Southern, that verify the participation of the women of Marianna in the fighting.
  • At least one Confederate, 15-year-old Woody Nickels of the Marianna Home Guard, was murdered by Union troops after the battle.
  • Armstrong Purdee, an 8-year-old slave taken from the Waddell Plantation, rode through the entire Battle of Marianna on the back of a Union soldier's horse. He later became Marianna's first black attorney. His daughter still lives in Jackson County.
  • Captain George Maynard, 82nd U.S. Colored Troops, received the Congressional Medal of Honor in part for his courage in saving the lives of Confederate prisoners of war at Marianna.
  • Boys as young as 12, 13 and 14 took part in hand to hand combat as members of the Marianna Home Guard, Greenwood Club Cavalry and Campbellton Cavalry.
To learn more about the Battle of Marianna, please visit, and please consider my book: The Battle of Marianna, Florida: Expanded Edition. It is also available as an instant download for Amazon Kindle and on iBooks.

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