|Apalachee Bay off the mouth of the St. Marks River|
On board the vessels were the main bodies of the 2nd and 99th U.S. Colored Troops and Companies C, D and E of the 2nd Florida U.S. Cavalry. The men of the 99th were packed aboard the Magnolia, while the companies from the 2nd USCT filled the decks of the Honduras. The Alliance carried the men of the 2nd Florida U.S. Cavalry along with Brigadier General John Newton and his headquarters staff.
|Another view of Apalachee Bay|
The flotilla of Union warships ordered to the mouth of the St. Marks by Admiral C.K. Stribling were expected to assemble with the three transports the next morning.
On shore, the Confederates could not see the Federal ships off the coast and still had no idea that they were there.
|Earthworks of Fort Ward at St. Marks, Florida|
Tied up alongside the fort was the gunboat CSS Spray, a small high pressure steamer that had been converted from civilian to military use by the C.S. Navy. It carried a crew of Confederate sailors and marines.
|Powder Magazine of Fort Ward|
|Earthworks of Fort Houstoun in Tallahassee|
General Newton would convene a conference of key U.S. officers the next day to deliberate a plan of action for dealing with these lightly manned defenses. Heavy banks of fog, meanwhile, prevented the Confederates from learning of the danger lurking just offshore.
I will post more tomorrow. To learn more and to view the new mini-documentary on the Battle of Natural Bridge, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/nbindex.
To learn more about this weekend's planned reenactment, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/nbreenactment.