Thursday, October 8, 2015
Monday, September 21, 2015
This year's events include memorial services and tours. The reenactment, which takes place every other year, will return next year.
Here is a schedule of events for 2015:
Friday, September 25
Confederate Memorial Service
Sponsored by the Dr. Theophilus West Camp, SCV
Saturday, September 26
Union Memorial Service
Sponsored by Old Kitchen Books
Battle of Marianna Monument in Confederate Park
11 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m.
Guided Battlefield Tours
Depart from historic Russ House & Visitor Center on Lafayette Street
11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church & Grounds open to the public.
Sponsored by Children of the American Revolution
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
|A four-gun Confederate battery fires during the reenactment.|
State park officials estimate that more than 4,000 spectators visited Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park for the event. Sunday afternoon's main battle reenactment saw crowds that stretched from one end of the reenactment field to the other.
|Buzz Gifford speaks at the eagle dedication.|
The event was made noteworthy by the dedication of a new sculpted eagle atop the main battlefield monument. The original eagle had deteriorated over time, but a massive effort by the Natural Bridge Historical Society (CSO), the Florida Park Service, the staff of Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, and others led to the sculpting of a new eagle. It was lifted into place shortly before the weekend and its dedication was an important part of this year's memorial service.
|Visitors learn about artillery from Capt. Allen Gerrell|
The event takes place each year on the weekend closest to the battle anniversary (March 6). For more information on the history of the battle, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/nbindex.
Here are some additional photos from this year's event:
|Dale Cox, author of The Battle of Natural Bridge, speaks at the memorial service.|
|A Confederate line of battle stands its ground.|
|A battery fires by section during the reenactment.|
|Column of Union troops takes heavy fire.|
Thursday, March 5, 2015
|St. Marks Lighthouse|
After a myriad of problems caused by storms, shallow water, darkness and unexpected resistance from Major William H. Milton and a handful of men from the 5th Florida Cavalry (CS), Gen. John Newton brought his troops to shore at the St. Marks Lighthouse. The main body of the Union force was comprised of the main bodies of the 2nd USCT (U.S. Colored Troops) and 99th USCT. These were supported by a strong battalion of dismounted men from the 2nd Florida Cavalry (US). The U.S. Navy contributed two 12-pounder howitzers to the expedition along with gun crews to man them. Since Newton had no horses, the guns were dragged by men from the 99th USCT.
The Federals rested briefly on the higher ground near today's Mounds Pool nature trail in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge before starting north along the old road through the marshes to the wooden bridge over East River. A small force of Confederates had taken up the flooring of the bridge and positioned a single cannon on the opposite shore.
|East River at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge|
The Confederates got off only one blast of their cannon as USCT troops stormed the bridge, charging across the stringers despite the absence of the floor planks. Confusion broke out in the Confederate ranks and Scott's line broke in retreat. The Union soldiers captured the colonel's cannon, found the stacked floor planks from the bridge and soon Newton's entire command was across East River.
|The Confederate breastworks were on the far bank of the river.|
Additional Confederate troops were quick in coming up. A detachment of C.S. Marines arrived from the gunboat CSS Spray, then stationed at St. Marks. Volunteers from Campbell's Siege Artillery also came up from Fort Ward at St Marks (today's San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park). Although they had no field guns, the artillerymen brought their musket and joined the fight as "red-legged infantry."
|St. Marks River at Newport|
Seeing the smoke from the burning bridge rise above the treetops, Gen. Newton pushed forward the dismounted men of the 2nd Florida Cavalry (US) with orders to save the crossing. Led by Major Edmund Weeks, they stormed into the open on the east side of the St. Marks River and came under heavy fire from the Confederates on the opposite shore.
|Looking up the St. Marks River at Newport.|
The Confederates had no cannon with which to reply to this bombardment, but clung to their breastworks in the face of the superior fire.
The bombardment did not go as Gen. Newton had hoped. The Federal gunners fired too high so their shells sailed over the Southern breastworks and into the town of Newport itself. Civilians fled or took shelter as cannonballs crashed into houses and exploded in the streets. One shell struck a home in which a number of African American slaves had taken shelter. Seven were killed in the blast.
When the Federals finally stopped firing, however, the Confederates were still in their breastworks. Newton would not be able to force a crossing at Newport.
|Old Plank Road at Newport. Confederate troops shadowed|
Newton's advance to Natural Bridge by moving up this road.
The annual reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge takes place this weekend and is expected to be largest ever as the battlefield commemorates the 150th anniversary of the engagement. To learn more about the battle and this weekend's planned events, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/nbindex.
If you would like to read an in-depth account of the battle, please consider my book:
The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida (Paperback)
The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida (Kindle)
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
|Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood in DeFuniak Springs|
The original raid took place on September 23-24, 1864, when Union troops under Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth struck the village of Eucheeanna (then called Euchee Anna) while advancing to the Battle of Marianna. A small detachment of Confederate cavalry was routed and the community and surrounding areas were severely looted.
|Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood|
The Walton Guards, Inc. will be hosting Civil War camps, living history demonstrations and skirmishes through the weekend. Friday, January 23, will be School Day with special events for school groups from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday will feature encampments, demonstrations and a skirmish at 12:15 p.m. The main skirmish will be Sunday afternoon, January 25, at 1:30 p.m. (Central) by the lake.
|Lake DeFuniak in DeFuniak Springs, Florida|
All events will take place at Lake DeFuniak in the center of historic DeFuniak Springs. The address for the historic Florida Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood building on the lakefront is 1290 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs, Florida.
Learn more about the history of the Marianna raid at www.battleofmarianna.com.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Built in 1834-1839, the arsenal was named for the Apalachicola River and served as an important supply depot and weapons repair facility during the Second Seminole War. It was the location of important U.S. Army gunpowder experiments during the 1850s.
The tense but non-violent seizure of the arsenal by the Quincy Young Guards on January 6, 1861, opened the War Between the States in Florida.
To read more about the incident, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/arsenal1.