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This Day In Florida History During the Civil War  

August 1861-1865

august 1

AUGUST 1, 1861 The steamer, U.S.S. Mohawk, took up a blockade position outside St. Marks.

AUGUST 1, 1861 Confederate President Jefferson Davis recommended the promotion of Edmund Kirby Smith and William W. Loring, two prominent Floridians, to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate army.

AUGUST 1, 1862 Yellow fever broke out aboard Federal naval vessels in Key West, forcing several vessels to leave the harbor in search of safe refuge.

august 2

AUGUST 2, 1861The 5th Florida Infantry Regiment (about 1,500 men) departed Monticello today for service with Stonewall Jackson’s command.

AUGUST 2, 1864 William Miller, the head of the Confederate Conscript Bureau in Alabama and Florida, was commissioned as a brigadier general today. Miller had been seriously wounded while on duty with the 3rd Florida Infantry regiment. He had also previously served with the 1st Florida Infantry Regiment.

AUGUST 2, 1864 The schooner, U.S.S. Stonewall, moved up the Manatee River and destroyed a sawmill, a gristmill, and a sugar mill that reportedly belonged to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. No Federal casualties were reported

august 3

AUGUST 3, 1862 Commenting on the response of Florida men to calls for Confederate service, Governor John Milton informs General Edward A. Perry that some counties doe not have enough men left to have “a militia officer, Judge of Probate, Clerk or Sheriff.” More than 15,000 Floridians served with state or national Confederate forces.

AUGUST 3, 1864 Troops of the 8th U.S. Colored Troops arrive in Palatka in time to save a 25-man detachment of Union 40th Massachusetts Cavalry. Federal losses were three killed, and eight captured; Confederate losses, if any, were unknown. Federal troops abandon Palatka.

august 4

AUGUST 4, 1862 The 6th and 7th Florida Infantry Regiments, the 1st Florida Cavalry, and the Marion Artillery were assigned to Davis’ 2nd Brigade of the Confederate Department of Tennessee and were stationed at Knoxville.

AUGUST 4, 1864 Federal General Birney’s Brigade from Florida, some 3,000 troops, arrive as reinforcements for Hilton Head, South Carolina. Many of these troops were former slaves, who have been recruited into the U.S. Colored Infantry.

august 5

AUGUST 5, 1861 The Federal Ship Jamestown, operating off the coast near Fernandina, captured the Alvarado, the first reported capture of a blockade runner in Florida waters. The residents of Amelia Island, who witnessed the capture, attempted to come to the aid of the stricken blockade runner. The Union ship captain, fearing a rescue foray from the nearby shore, ordered the Alvarado burned.

AUGUST 5, 1863 Residents of Tallahassee had the opportunity to purchase civilian goods brought in by blockade runners at a public auction held by A. Hopkins and Company. Among the lots offered for sale were 12,000 hooks and eyes, three dozen pocket knives, and 48 cases of toilet soap.

august 6

AUGUST 6, 1862 The blockade runner Columbia arrived in Key West under guard by the U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba. The blockade runner Columbia’s cargo was all war materiel, including rifles, powder, cartridges, blankets, and cannons. Although the ship’s master claims to be a British vessel, Federal naval authorities do not accept this as being true.

AUGUST 6, 1863 Alterations started on the British-built Oreto that would transform her into the Confederate gunboat Florida at Green Cay, Bahamas. This action provided part of the basis for a $15,000,000 claim against Great Britain by the United States at the end of the war.

AUGUST 6, 1864 The Federal gunboat Metacomet arrived in Pensacola with Confederate and Union wounded from fighting around Mobile.

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AUGUST 8, 1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore captured the English sloop, Clara Louisa, ten miles north of the Indian River. Later that date, the U.S.S. Sagamore also captured the British schooners, Southern Rights and Shot. Still later that day, the U.S.S. Sagamore captured the American schooner, Ann (off Gilbert’s Bar). All the ships were suspected of trying to run the blockade at either the Indian River or Jupiter Inlet.

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AUGUST 9, 1863 The Florida Kilcrease Artillery, under Captain F.L. Villepique, left Tallahassee to take up a new duty station at Savannah.

august 10

AUGUST 10, 1861 The Third Florida Infantry was mustered into Confederate service today on Amelia Island.

AUGUST 10, 1864 Confederate cavalry and a detachment of the 102nd U.S. Colored Infantry clashed near Baldwin (north Florida). A section of railroad tracks was destroyed by the Federal troops. This was part of a series of on-going clashes between the two armies.

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AUGUST 12, 1862 The Federal steamer, R.R. Cuyler, arrived at Key West to begin its tour of duty with the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.

AUGUST 12, 1863 The U.S.S. Beauregard was on station at the Haul Over Canal, thirteen miles north of Cape Canaveral. The U.S.S. Pursuit was stationed off the coast at Jupiter Inlet. Confederate blockade-runners were suspected of using the Indian River area to land contraband cargoes.

AUGUST 12, 1864 Two Confederate cavalry companies, accompanied by an artillery battery, advanced today against the 102nd U.S. Colored troops who are destroying tracks. Four men from the 75th Ohio were taken prisoner. The Federals dispatched cavalry troops from Baldwin to drive the Confederate forces back. Union losses were one killed and four captured.

august 13

AUGUST 13, 1862 Confederate General Joseph Finegan issues a request for slave owners to make their slaves available for work on the fortifications at St. Marks.

AUGUST 13, 1864 Union naval commanders were under tremendous pressure from insurance underwriters to capture or sink the Confederate raider C.S.S. Tallahassee, under the command of Commander John Taylor Wood. The Confederate raider C.S.S. Tallahassee captured or destroyed nine vessels in two days. Secretary Sumner Welles dispatched a flotilla of more than nine ships to hunt for this raider.

august 14

AUGUST 14, 1861 The Union blockader, Mohawk, which had been operating off the coast of St. Marks captured and scuttled a Confederate ship to close off the channel to further use.

AUGUST 14, 1864 Union General Alexander Sandor Asboth (an Austrian refugee and friend of Louis Kossuth) ordered his troops, about 1,400 men, to leave Pensacola & move across the Perdido River for operations near Mobile Bay.

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AUGUST 15, 1864 The Florida 2nd and 5th Cavalry Battalions were engaged by Federal troops in the Battle of Gainesville, which will last until August 19.

august 16

AUGUST 16, 1863 The U.S.S. DeSoto captured the Confederate ship Alice Vivian in the Gulf of Mexico. The Confederate ship Alice Vivian’s cargo was cotton bound for European markets.

AUGUST 16, 1864 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle returned to Key West today. The U.S.S. Honeysuckle was on station along the Indian River Inlet. The bark, James L. Davis, has been dispatched to take up this station. Until the bark, James L. Davis arrives on station this area has no blockade enforcers on duty.

august 17

AUGUST 17, 1862 The 7th New Hampshire Volunteers (Union) has been transferred to St. Augustine to relieve the 4th New Hampshire, which will be stationed at Hilton Head, SC.

AUGUST 17, 1863 The U.S.S. DeSoto captured the Confederate steamer, Nita, in the Gulf of Mexico.

AUGUST 17, 1864 Union forces were decisively defeated at Gainesville by Confederate cavalry troops under the command of Major J.J. Dickison. The Federal forces lost 28 killed, five wounded, and 200 taken prisoner. The Confederate loss was one killed and five wounded.

AUGUST 17, 1864 The 17th Connecticut Infantry, under the command of Colonel William H. Noble, occupied the country near Starke. The 17th camped at Shake Rug Corner, near the Bellamy Road, that night.

august 18

AUGUST 18, 1864 Colonel William H. Noble, commanding the 17th Connecticut Infantry (U.S.), ordered some 4,000 pounds of cotton to be burned at the McCrae Plantation near Starke. Skirmishes between Confederate cavalry and Federal troops between Gainesville and Starke continued.

august 19

AUGUST 19, 1863 Armed boats from the U.S.S. Norwich and the U.S.S. Hale attacked two Confederate signal stations on the St. Johns River. One signal station, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel A. H. McCormick, was taken. Five Confederate soldiers were captured, along with a trove of equipment. A sudden rain storm prevented the capture of the second station.

AUGUST 19, 1864 An excerpt from the civil war diary of Hiram Smith Williams, who settled in Rockledge in 1872 and who served two terms as a state senator in the 1880s. Williams was a member of the 40th Alabama Regiment and was a combat engineer during the Atlanta Campaign.

“Our operations since the last record have been along our lines to East Point, the junction of the W[est] P[oint] and Atlanta and Macon road. In the meantime we have lived well. Blackberries plenty. Bought a bushel of wheat and had it ground into flour this getting 32 lbs. for ten dollars. Also have had any amount of green corn. Have been blockading roads in the front to our left, where we found plenty of good foraging. We are now at East P[oin]t where we have been building forts and fortifying generally. Got my baggage all safe except a few trifling articles the other day. For which, I was very truly thankful, as I had not change of clothing since they’ve been gone. This afternoon we received orders to go in the front of our left wing. Had rather dangerous times. We were only separated from the enemy’s advance line of skirmishers by one field.”

            Lewis N. Wynne and Robert A. Taylor (Editors), This War So Horrible: The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press)

august 20

AUGUST 20, 1862 The Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment, under the command of Colonel William S. Dilworth, assumed it new duty station at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

AUGUST 20, 1863 The Union bark Restless captured the Confederate schooner Ernti with 135 bales of cotton.

AUGUST 20, 1863 An armed Union party attacked two Confederate signal stations on the St. Johns River. One was captured, but a heavy rain squall prevented the capture of the second.

AUGUST 20, 1864 The first edition of the Union, a predecessor of Florida of the Florida Times-Union, was originally published as a “war news” sheet.

august 21

AUGUST 21, 1862 The U.S.S. Keystone State captured the British schooner, Fanny, off the coast of Amelia Island. The Fanny was carrying a cargo of salt.

AUGUST 21, 1864 The following Florida units in Confederate service in Virginia participated in the battle at Weldon Railroad: Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry Regiment, Florida 2nd Infantry Regiment, Florida 5th Infantry Regiment, Florida 8th Infantry Regiment, Florida 9th Infantry Regiment, Florida 10th Infantry Regiment, Florida 11th Infantry Regiment

august 22

AUGUST 22, 1864 An excerpt from the civil war diary of Hiram Smith Williams, who settled in Rockledge in 1872 and who served two terms as a state senator in the 1880s. Williams was a member of the 40th Alabama Regiment and was a combat engineer during the Atlanta Campaign.

            “Yesterday we received orders about 2 ocl[oc]k to report to Corps HQ, for which I was not sorry as we were at work in the rain on breastworks for another Div[ision]. Camped at Utoy Church half a mile in rear of our line of battle, to the left of our Div[ision]. This morning we were ordered to make a lot of cheaveau-de-frize’s for the protection of our line. They are made something like a horse rack, consequently the boys have christened them by that name. Worked hard at it all day.”

            Lewis N. Wynne and Robert A. Taylor (Editors), This War So Horrible: The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press)

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august 24

AUGUST 24, 1862 Company H, 2nd Florida Cavalry, transferred this date from Marion County to Alachua County. Under the command of Captain John J. Dickison, the unit was assigned to Camp Lee where it will be outfitted for service in the field.

august 25

AUGUST 25, 1862 Federal General Rufus Saxton secured the approval of the United States War Department to enlist 5,000 African-American troops.

AUGUST 25, 1863 The United States tender, Fox, was on station at Key West.

AUGUST 25, 1866 The Florida Freedman’s Bureau Homestead Office opened today. More than 3,000 homesteads, more than in any other southern state, were awarded to Florida freedmen. Each homestead averaged 80 acres.

august 26

AUGUST 26, 1861 The Confederate Congress approved an expenditure of $420,000 for the construction of three gunboats to protect the coast and rivers of Florida.

AUGUST 26, 1863 The United States schooner, Beauregard, captured the schooner, Phoebe, off the coast of the Indian River. First sighted off Jupiter Inlet on August 23, the schooner, Phoebe was allowed to anchor at the Inlet. When a crew was dispatched to the shoreline, the United States schooner, Beauregard’s, commander considered this a violation of the permission and a likely attempt to ferry goods to Confederates.

august 27

AUGUST 27, 1861 The Howell Guards, a company from Leon County, left Tallahassee today with the eventual destination of joining the 2nd Florida Infantry regiment [as Company M] in Richmond, Virginia.

AUGUST 27, 1862 The U.S.S. South Carolina attacked and destroyed the abandoned Confederate schooner, Patriot, which was aground near Mosquito Inlet. The U.S.S. R. R. Cuyler captured the schooner Anne Sophia off the coast of Jacksonville today.

august 28

AUGUST 28, 1862 Colonel Edward A. Perry of the 2nd Florida Infantry Regiment was promoted to Brigadier General.

august 29

august 30

AUGUST 30, 1862 Florida infantry units have played an important role in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) in Virginia. The 2nd, 5th, and 8th Infantry regiments were involved.

AUGUST 30, 1863 The Federal blockade of the Florida coastline was proving effective in hampering the activities of privateers and blockade-runners. The U.S.S. Potomska was on duty near Fernandina, while the Norwich and E.B. Hale were patrolling the St. Johns River system.

august 31

AUGUST 31, 1863 The Federal bark, Gem of the Sea, captured the Confederate sloop, Richard, which was owned by John Mooney and James Fuell of West Florida.

AUGUST 31, 1863 News was received in Tallahassee that men of the 5th and 8th Florida Infantry Regiments captured at Gettysburg were imprisoned on Johnston’s Island.

AUGUST 31, 1864 The following Florida units participated in Confederate General John Bell Hood’s ill-fated attempt to break the lines of General William T. Sherman at Jonesboro (south of Atlanta): Florida Marion Artillery, Florida 1st Cavalry Regiment, Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry Regiment, Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment, Florida 4th Infantry Regiment, Florida 6th Infantry Regiment, Florida 7th Infantry Regiment.

An excerpt from the civil war diary of Hiram Smith Williams, who settled in Rockledge in 1872 and who served two terms as a state senator in the 1880s. Williams was a member of the 40th Alabama Regiment and was a combat engineer during the Atlanta Campaign.

            “The ordeal is past and J[ohn] B[ell] Hood is gone under. Went to East P[oin]t yesterday morning, remained there all day, and this morning early came down to Jonesboro. Our infantry reached here, and charged the enemy in their works as usual, only to be repulsed with heavy loss. This horrid useless waste of human life, this wholesale butchery is terrible and should damn the authors through all time.”

            “Our company reached the place just as the fight commenced, but did not see much of it. Had a hearty laugh at one of our Lieutenants, who was carrying a musket and teakettle. Directly a shell burst near him and away went the gun while he struck out in a dog trot. A few minutes after another shell bursted and a piece or rather spent fragment struck him on the leg, when away went the teakettle and away went the Lieutenant, who was seen no more until we were far out of danger. Thank god, I have stronger nerves than that.”

            “Our boys have been repulsed all along the line, and I see it requires no military man to tell that Atlanta is gone.”