|Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth (US)|
Writing from Barrancas Post adjacent to Fort Barrancas near Pensacola, Brigadier General Alexander Asboth (US) outlined a plan for what would be the deepest penetration of Confederate Florida by Union troops during the entire War Between the States (or Civil War):
...I am to start a cavalry raid in the northwest portion of West Florida. Going up the Santa Rosa Island and swimming the horses across the East Pass to the mainland, I will proceed to Point Washington and from thence to Marianna and vicinity, returning via St. Andrews salt works. My object is to capture the isolated rebel cavalry and infantry in Washington and Jackson Counties, and to liberate the Union prisoners at Marianna, to collect white and colored recruits, and secure as many horses and mules as possible. - Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth (US), September 12, 1864
|Asboth (second from left) with his dog.|
The commander of the Union District of West Florida, Alexander Asboth was one of the more intriguing individuals of the 19th century.
Asboth eventually became Kossuth's chief of staff and was the only one of the governor's associates to accompany him in his carriage when the revolution collapsed and Kossuth fled into Hungary. The United States sent the warship USS Mississippi to bring them to America.
Settling in New York, the colonel became a naturalized citizen and worked successfully as a surveyor and engineer during the 1850s. He is best known for his invention of a paving process and as the surveyor who determined the lines for New York's famed Central Park.
|Elkhorn Tavern at Pea Ridge, Arkansas|
General Asboth went on to command the Third Division of the Union army in Missouri and was badly wounded at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. In that battle he advanced with two cannon and a small force of infantry into the face of General Earl Van Dorn's attacking Confederate army and held it back until the main Union army could reverse front and avoid destruction.
|Fort Barrancas near Pensacola, Florida|
The signing of the general's report of September 12, 1864, opened the door for the Marianna raid. The specifics of his plan would change over the next six days but it was 150 years ago today that Union forces committed to an attack on Marianna, Florida.
To learn more about the Battle of Marianna and Asboth's West Florida Raid, please consider my book:
(Book) The Battle of Marianna, Florida
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You can also learn more by visiting www.battleofmarianna.com.