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This Day In Florida History During the Civil War  

DECEMBER 1861-1865

december 1

DECEMBER 1, 1861 - Confederate General Braxton E. Bragg reported that he had approximately 3,000 men under his command in Pensacola, but arms for only about 600 of them.

DECEMBER 1, 1862 - The Union ship, the U.S.S. Sagamore, today captured the blockade-runner, By George, off the coast of the Indian River. The captured vessel was carrying a cargo of coffee and salt.

DECEMBER 1, 1862 - The United States gunboat, Tioga, captured the schooner Nonsuch, after a four- hour chase. Although the Nonsuch was flying British colors, she was carrying a cargo of coffee and cartridge paper. She was taken to Key West for adjudication.

DECEMBER 1, 1864 - The Florida Legislature today approved an appropriation for $60,000 to care for the sick and wounded soldiers of the state.

december 2

DECEMBER 2, 1862 - Colonel William G. M. Davis of the 1st Florida Cavalry received his appointed today as a Brigadier General and was assigned to command Confederate forces at Knoxville and parts of East Tennessee.

DECEMBER 2, 1862 - The Florida Comptroller, Walter Gwynn, reported that the state expended $958,260.76 during the fiscal year that ended on October 31. The state received $1,068,397.58 in taxes and other revenues.

DECEMBER 2, 1863 - As of this date, Federal naval authorities reported that thirty-four Union ships were attached to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, which enforced the naval blockade of Florida from Cape Canaveral on the East Coast to St. Andrews Bay on the Gulf Coast.

DECEMBER 2, 1863 - Men from the Federal bark, Restless, laying at anchor at St. Andrews Bay, marched inland to Lake Ocala. At Lake Ocala, they destroyed three separate salt works belonging to a Mr. Kent. The operations, which could produce 130 pounds of salt per day, were worked by a force of seventeen men, who were captured and paroled. In addition to the boilers, two flatboats, six oxcarts and other equipment were destroyed. A large quantity of salt was thrown into the lake.

december 3

DECEMBER 3, 1863 - Governor John Milton signed the legislative bill today incorporating the Monticello and Thomasville railroad Company.

DECEMBER 3, 1864 - A Federal task force, using men from the U.S.S. Nita, Stars and Stripes, Hendrick Hudson, Ariel, and Two Sisters destroyed a large salt works at Rocky point, near Tampa Bay today. Seven boilers and other equipment were destroyed. There were no casualties.

december 4

DECEMBER 4, 1862 - Colonel Caraway Smith of the 2nd Florida cavalry was assigned to command the coastal defenses of Florida from Dead Man’s Bay west to Dickerson Bay. Smith’s headquarters was at Camp Leon near Tallahassee.

DECEMBER 4, 1864 - Brigadier General Robert Bullock of the 7th Florida infantry regiment was severely wounded today in fighting near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Jacob A. Lash, major, took over command until a replacement arrived.

DECEMBER 4, 1864 - The blockade runner Peep O’Day was captured today by boats from the U.S.S. Pursuit near the Indian River. The blockade runner Peep O’Day was carrying a cargo of cotton.

december 5

DECEMBER 5, 1862 - The Florida Treasurer announced today that the State of Florida had issued $1,886,640.15 in treasury notes as of this date. Of these notes, $1,486,601.28 was in circulation.

DECEMBER 5, 1863 - Federal General Alexander Asboth reported that Confederate forces were fortifying a position at Fifteen-Mile Station. Asboth also reported that large numbers of deserters were coming through his lines to take the oath of allegiance to the Union.

DECEMBER 5, 1864 - Governor John Milton signed into law a bill that created special courts for trying slaves, free Negroes, and mulattos accused of capital offenses. Milton also signed a bill that places all white male inhabitants of Florida between the ages of 16 and 55 into militia service.

december 6

DECEMBER 6, 1861 - Governor John Milton today signed the bill changing the name of New River County to Bradford County in honor of Captain Richard Bradford, who was killed in the Battle of Santa Rosa Island on October 9, 1861.

DECEMBER 6, 1862 - Governor John Milton signed a bill today suspending the collection of taxes in counties under Union control.

DECEMBER 6, 1864 - The U.S.S. Sunflower today captured the Confederate sloop, Pickwick, along the Gulf Coast near St. George’s Sound.

DECEMBER 6, 1864 - Governor John Milton called for the restoration of 3-days-a-week mail service between Gainesville and Tampa. The service had been reduced to a once-a-week run.

december 7

DECEMBER 7, 1861 - John K. Mitchell was appointed Commander in the Confederate Navy, while Henry K. Stevens received a commission as Lieutenant. Both men were Floridians.

DECEMBER 7, 1863 - The commander of the U.S.S. Sagamore received orders to proceed to the mouth of the Suwannee River and to capture two river pilots stationed there. The pilots were suspected of piloted three Confederate steamers carrying contraband up the river at the end of their voyages to Havana.

DECEMBER 7, 1864 - The Federal blockade at Fernandina was lifted by order of Union President Abraham Lincoln. Ships of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron were ordered by Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgreen to obey this order, but to carefully screen the incoming ships to ensure they had not visited other ports that were still blockaded.

december 8

DECEMBER 8, 1862 - The Pensacola and Georgia Railroad was opened to Gee Gee’s Turnout, four miles from Quincy.

DECEMBER 8, 1863 - The Florida Sentinel suspended publication today because of a lack of paper.

DECEMBER 8, 1863 - Former State paymaster, R.C. Williams, was cleared of charges made in November that he had defaulted with $11,400 in state funds.

december 9

DECEMBER 9, 1861 - The Calhoun rangers, activated by Special State Order 83, reported for duty today at Camp Milton, near Apalachicola.

DECEMBER 9, 1863 - The Federal Navy reported the U.S.S. Circassin would serve as a supply ship operating between Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast of Florida and the coast of Texas.

DECEMBER 9, 1864 -  The Florida Brigade, consisting of the 2nd, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Florida Infantry regiments attacked Federal positions at Bellfield, Virginia, today after a two-day march. Federal units refused to become involved in combat and the Florida units returned to their camp.

december 10

DECEMBER 10, 1861 - General Braxton E. Bragg, on duty in Pensacola, reported that he was having great difficulty persuading his troops to reenlist for the “duration of the war.” Many of the initial 90-day terms of enlistment were expiring and some troops were ready to abandon their units and go home.

DECEMBER 10, 1862 - The Federal ship, U.S.S. Sagamore, reported the capture of the British blockade-runner, Alicia, near the Indian River on the Atlantic Coast.

DECEMBER 10, 1862 - The M. Sandford, a Federal transport steamer, was reported aground near the Turtle Harbor Lighthouse. A contingent of the 156th New York Volunteers was aboard. The U.S.S. Gemstock and the U.S.S. Blackston evacuated the 500 men and officers of the unit.

DECEMBER 10, 1863 - Officers and men from the Union steamer, Bloomer, report the destruction of salt works near St. Andrews Sound this morning. Twenty-seven buildings, 200 kettles, 2,000 bushels of salt, and warehouses containing enough supplies for three months’ operations were destroyed. The value of the materiels destroyed was estimated at $500,000 (US).

DECEMBER 10, 1864 - The U.S.S. O.H. Lee captured the British blockade runner, Sort, off Anclote Key today. The Sort was carrying a cargo of cotton.

december 11

DECEMBER 11, 1862 - In action near Fredericksburg, Virginia, today the 8th Florida Infantry Regiment suffered losses. Twenty men were lost in battle, while an addition 2 were captured.

DECEMBER 11, 1863 - The United States bark, Restless, with the assistance of two other Federal ships, the Bloomer and the Caroline, began shelling Confederate works in the town of St. Andrews today. Confederate forces in the area were stationed there to protect the valuable salt works in the area.

december 12

DECEMBER 12, 1861 - Under Special Orders No. 264, issued by the Confederate War Department in Richmond, General Braxton E. Bragg’s command was the Florida Panhandle and extended westward to include the Pascagoula Bay and the part of the state of Mississippi that lies east of the Pascagoula River.

DECEMBER 12, 1863 The Union steamer, Bloomer, continued its operations against Confederate salt works on the Gulf Coast. The Bloomer  continued operations in the West Bay area.

december 13

DECEMBER 13, 1861 - Polk County* was created today by the Florida legislature from lands that had previously constituted parts of Brevard and Hillsborough Counties. Named for president James Knox Polk, the eleventh president of the United States, Polk County was the 39th Florida County. ( *This citation is taken from Samuel Proctor, Florida A Hundred Years Ago. This document, published by the Florida Civil War Centennial Commission, is contradicted by Allen Morris, Florida Handbook, which cites February 8, 1861, as the date for the county’s creation.)

DECEMBER 13, 1861 - The Florida Legislature approved a one-year moratorium on the payment of taxes for the year 1860-1861.

DECEMBER 13, 1862 - The Florida 1st and 3rd Florida Regiments returned to Chattanooga today from the Confederate campaign in Kentucky. Because of the high casualty rate the units have suffered, they will be re-organized as the 1st and 3rd Consolidated Regiment.

DECEMBER 13, 1862 - On the Virginia front, the 2nd Florida Infantry Regiment suffered casualties of four killed and 34 wounded.

DECEMBER 13, 1863 - The Union bark, Roebuck, today captured a Confederate sloop off the coast of the Indian River. The Confederate sloop had a crew of two men and was carrying a cargo of 16 bags of salt and one box of “notions.”

DECEMBER 13, 1864 - The Confederate Bureau of Conscription today issued General Circular No. 36, which authorizes the impressment of free Negroes and slaves into the Confederate Army. Florida’s quota of such impressments was fixed at 500.

december 14

DECEMBER 14, 1860 - Robert C. Williams assumed office today as the Comptroller of Florida. He held this office until May 26, 1863, when he was replaced Walter Gwynn.

DECEMBER 14, 1861 - More than 1,000 Federal troops arrived to reinforce the Union garrison holding Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola Bay.

december 15

december 16

DECEMBER 16, 1861 - General Robert E. Lee ordered a regiment of Mississippi troops, under the command of Colonel William F. Dowd, to supplement the 1,300 Confederate soldiers at Fernandina.

DECEMBER 16, 1861 - The State Comptroller reported that Floridians have paid $227,374.11 so far. This is Florida’s assigned quota of the Confederate Direct Tax.

DECEMBER 16, 1862 Confederate General Joseph J. Finegan established his headquarters to Lake City.

december 17

DECEMBER 17, 1861 - The Florida Legislature appropriated $10,000 for the purchase of cloth to be given to patriotic women’s societies to manufacture uniforms.

DECEMBER 17, 1861 - The Legislature authorized the City of Pensacola to print $25,000, to be issued in small bills, for which the city’s resources were pledged to redeem.

DECEMBER 17, 1861 - The Legislature, meeting since November 18, adjourned today.

DECEMBER 17, 1863 - The U.S. bark, the Roebuck, reported the capture today of the British blockade-runner, Ringdove, and its five-man crew off the Indian River Inlet.

december 18

DECEMBER 18, 1861 - Brigadier General R. F. Floyd, commander of Confederate forces at Apalachicola, reported that he had 612 men under his command.

DECEMBER 18, 1863 - Federal soldiers destroyed salt works around St. Andrews Bay today. An estimated 500 “works,” 33 wagons, 12 flat boats, two sloops, six ox-carts, 4,000 bushels of salt, 700 buildings, and more than 1,000 kettles and iron boilers were destroyed. Union officials estimated the combined productive capacity of the destroyed works at 15,600 bushels a day.

december 19

DECEMBER 19, 1862 - Major A. A. Canova was appointed Confederate Chief of Subsistence today in Florida.

DECEMBER 19, 1863 - Several “exiled” Union men left St. Augustine today for Port Royal aboard the Federal steamer Maple Leaf.

DECEMBER 19, 1864 - A federal expedition from Barrancas and consisting of the 97th U.S. Colored infantry reached Pollard today. A supply depot, filled with military clothing and equipment, was destroyed. Several bridges and miles of railroad track over the Little Escambia River were destroyed.

december 20

DECEMBER 20, 1862 - Florida Commissioners J. M. Chambers and J. F. Bozeman reported the completion of underwater obstructions on the Apalachicola River.

DECEMBER 20, 1863 - The Union steamer Fox attacked a Confederate steamer aground at the mouth of the Suwannee River. The crew abandoned the ship after the Union steamer Fox fired howitzers and dispatched an armed boarding party. It was thought the Confederate steamer was the Little Lilly. The Federals, unable to operate the engine, set fire to the vessel.

DECEMBER 20, 1864 - Floridians watched the approach of General William T. Sherman’s army on Savannah and the evacuation of that city by the Confederate army. Some Confederate military officials feared that Sherman would now turn his attention to the State of Florida.

DECEMBER 20, 1865 - David Shelby Walker, Florida’s eighth governor (December 20, 1865-July 4, 1868), took office today. Shelby was born in Russellville, Kentucky, on May 2, 1815. After attending private schools in Kentucky and Tennessee, he settled in Leon County, Florida, in 1837. Walker was a member of the first Legislature under statehood as a Senator from Leon County (1845) and a Representative from Leon County in 1848. From 1849 until 1854, he served as the Register to Public Lands and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He was Mayor of Tallahassee, and in 1860, became a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court, a position he held until he became governor. Although Walker opposed secession, he supported Florida when it left the Union. Walker’s administration had the difficult task of restoring civil government during reconstruction. He returned to the practice of law in 1868 and was appointed Circuit Court judge in 1876, a position he held until his death on July 20, 1891.

december 21

DECEMBER 21, 1858 - Bradford County, the 36th county in Florida, was established today as “New River County.” On December 6, 1861, the name of the county was changed to honor Captain Richard Bradford, the first Florida officer killed in the Civil War. He died at the Battle of Santa Rosa Island on October 9, 1861. The County seat is Starke.

DECEMBER 21, 1862 - The U.S.S. Gem of the Sea left Key West today to take up station off Jupiter Inlet, the Indian River, and Cape Canaveral.

DECEMBER 21, 1864 - The U.S.S. Tallapoosa was ordered by Federal Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to proceed from the Boston Naval Yard directly to Key West for duty with the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.

december 22

DECEMBER 22, 1862 - The U.S.S. Huntsville, under the command of Acting Lieutenant W. C. Rogers, seized the Confederate schooner, CSS Courier, off the Tortugas today. The CSS Courier was carrying a cargo of salt, coffee, sugar and dry goods.

december 23

DECEMBER 23, 1861 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis forwarded the names of William Davis, George W. Pratt, and John M. Hendry, all Floridians, to the Congress with a recommendation that they be commissioned as chaplains in the Confederate Army.

DECEMBER 23, 1863 - A detachment of Federal troops, commanded by Henry A. Crane, was dispatched to Charlotte Harbor to disrupt the flow of Florida cattle to Confederate armies. It was estimated by Federal authorities that 2,000 head of cattle were herded northward each week to supply the Army of Tennessee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

december 24

DECEMBER 24, 1862 - The U.S.S. Charlotte, under the command of Acting Master Bruner, today captured the Confederate steamer Bloomer in the Choctawhatchee River, Florida.

DECEMBER 24, 1863 - The U.S.S. Fox, with Acting Master Asbury in command, today seized the British blockade runner, Edward, off the mouth of the Suwannee River after a two-hour chase. The Edward was captured after trying to run down the smaller Union ship. She was carrying a cargo of lead and salt.

DECEMBER 24, 1863 - The U.S.S. Sunflower, under the command of Acting Master Van Sice, captured the blockade runner Hancock near the lighthouse at Tampa Bay. The blockade runner was carrying a cargo of salt and borax.

december 25

DECEMBER 25, 1863 - The Florida 2nd Infantry Battalion (re-assigned to the Florida 10th and 11th Infantry Regiments on June 8, 1864), today engaged Federal forces attacking Fort Brooke, present-day Tampa.

december 26

december 27

DECEMBER 27, 1862 - The U.S.S. Roebuck captured the British schooner Kate as it was attempting to run its cargo of salt, coffee, copper, and liquor into the mouth of the St. Mark’s River.

DECEMBER 27, 1863 - Confederate scouts reconnoitering the Union camp near the Myakka River fired a shot into the camp, but the Federal soldiers did not return fire. The Union soldiers, however, doubled their pickets and kept on the alert for further activity.

DECEMBER 27, 1864 - U.S. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered the paddle wheel steamer, Mahaska, and the schooner, Sophronia, to Key West for service with the blockading squadrons.

december 28

DECEMBER 28, 1862 - Soldiers with the Florida 4th Infantry regiment were engaged in fighting at Lebanon Pike, Tennessee, today.

december 29

DECEMBER 29, 1862 - The British sloop Flying Fish was captured off the Tortugas by the U.S.S. Magnolia.

DECEMBER 29, 1863 - Boat crews from the U.S.S. Stars and Stripes destroyed a blockade runner, Caroline Gertrude, aground on a bar at the mouth of the Ocklockonee River. Union sailors, attempting to salvage the cargo of cotton, were subjected to a heavy fire from Confederate cavalry units ashore and returned to their ship after setting the Caroline Gertrude ablaze.

december 30

DECEMBER 30, 1862 - General Joseph J. Finegan reported today that he had 595 infantrymen, 797 cavalry troops, and 255 men assigned to artillery units in his command in Central and North Florida. Union forces were listed at 2,057 for all land forces.

DECEMBER 30, 1863 - Acting Ensign Norman McLeod and members of the crew of the U.S.S. Pursuit today destroyed two salt works at the head of St. Joseph’s Bay.

DECEMBER 30, 1863 - Confederate soldiers attacked Union troops from the U.S.S. Rosalie who were encamped near the mouth of the Myakka River. The U.S.S. Rosalie turned its guns on the Rebel forces and the Federal troops withdrew to the ship. Proceeding further up the river, the Rosalie encountered Confederate forces, who fired at them from the riverbanks.

december 31

DECEMBER 31, 1861 - Confederate authorities reported that there were 195 officers and 3,323 enlisted men on active duty in Florida. Union officials listed 80 officers and 2,023 enlisted men on duty.

DECEMBER 31, 1863 - There were skirmishes between Confederate and Union troops near St. Augustine today. The Confederate forces consisted of the Florida 2nd Cavalry, under the command of Captain John J. Dickison.

DECEMBER 31, 1863 - Confederate General Pierre Beauregard reported that there were now 3,709 Confederate troops stationed in the district of East and Middle Florida.

DECEMBER 31, 1862 - The Confederate Army of Tennessee, under the command of General Braxton E. Bragg, engaged a Federal army under the command of General William Rosecrans at Murfreesboro (Stone’s River), Tennessee. Although the Confederates had heavy losses, their assault against the Union forces was successful. At the end of the day, both armies faced each other across the open battlefield. Florida units participating in this battle, which lasted until January 3, 1863, were:

Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry Regiment

Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment

Florida 4th Infantry Regiment

DECEMBER 31, 1864 - Major General Samuel Jones relieved General Pierre Beauregard of command of Confederate forces in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

DECEMBER 31, 1864 - Federal forces in Florida now numbered 5,414.