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This Day In Florida History During the Civil War  

FEBRUARY 1861-1865


FEBRUARY 1, 1861 Two companies of Confederate volunteers have been assigned to guard the Chattahoochee Arsenal, while some 1,500 Confederate troops from Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama were encamped at Pensacola Bay. Several batteries have been set up facing Forts Pickens, Barrancas and McRee.

FEBRUARY 1, 1862 A Union gunboat anchored near the St. marks Lighthouse today and began to shell the salt works near there. The Confederate gunboat Spray moved into the area and exchanged shots with the Federal boat. Elsewhere, the schooner Isabel was captured today in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast by the U.S.S. Montgomery.

FEBRUARY 1, 1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma captured the British schooner Margaret near St. Petersburg. A second Union ship, the U.S.S. Hendrick Hudson assisted in the capture. In other action, the U.S.S. Stars and Stripes bombarded a Confederate encampment at Long Bar near St. Marks today. A Confederate steamer was also fired on by the Union ship.


FEBRUARY 2, 1861 Governor Madison Starke Perry addressed a request to the Florida Legislature to reorganize and strengthen the Florida militia in order to protect the state against a possible Union attack.

FEBRUARY 2, 1862 The Confederate War Department in Richmond today requisitioned two-and-one-half war regiments from the State of Florida for service in the Confederate Army.

FEBRUARY 2, 1863 A Federal naval officer on a reconnaissance mission on the Indian River reported the discovery of several packages and 41 sacks of salt in a cache near Jupiter Inlet. He destroyed them all.

FEBRUARY 2, 1864 Federal Major General Quincy A. Gillmore, commander of the Department of the South, requests the support of two or three gunboats for a planned occupation on the west bank of the St. Johns River.

FEBRUARY 2, 1865 Confederate Major General Sam Jones assumed command of the District of Florida today. At sea, the U.S.S. Pinola captured the British blockade runner, Ben Willis, in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast, The blockade runner, Ben Willis carried a cargo of cotton for British textile mills.


FEBRUARY 3, 1862 The Confederate steamer Florida had reportedly successfully eluded Federal ships blockading the coast of Florida and was safely at sea.

FEBRUARY 3, 1862 The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Union Bank of Florida was held today in the bank’s offices in Tallahassee.

FEBRUARY 3, 1864 Governor John Milton, planning to leave Tallahassee, received a telegram today warning him that about 100 deserters have organized to capture him and turn him over to the Federal ships blockading the Gulf Coast.

FEBRUARY 3, 1865 The British schooner John Hale , flying the English colors, was captured today near St. marks by the Union schooner Matthew Vassar. The John Hale’s cargo consisted of lead, rope, blankets, and shelter covers. Union officers suspect that the John Hale’s crew had thrown arms and ammunition overboard prior to capture.


FEBRUARY 4, 1861 Delegates from Florida join with delegates from Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana today in Montgomery, Alabama, to organize the provisional government of the Confederate States of America.

FEBRUARY 4, 1863 A crew for the U.S.S. Sagamore today captured the Confederate schooner Pride near the Indian River Narrows. The Confederate schooner Pride’s cargo of 188 bushels of salt and its crew were captured.

FEBRUARY 4, 1864 A boat from the Federal schooner, Beauregard, sent to Jupiter Inlet to look for blockade runners today captured the Confederate boat Lydia, which was on her way to the Inlet from Sand Point. The Confederate boat Lydia, was carrying two bales of cotton and five barrels of turpentine.

FEBRUARY 4, 1864 Union General Quincy A. Gillmore continued preparations for his attack on the west bank of the St. Johns River. Federal Brigadier General Truman Seymour was ordered to load his troops on ships in preparation for a rendezvous with other Union units at the mouth of the St. Johns.


FEBRUARY 5, 1861 The Florida Senate approves a bill to incorporate the town of Monticello in Jefferson County.

FEBRUARY 5, 1862 The U.S.S. Keystone State captured the British blockade runner, Mars, off the coast at Fernandina. The British blockade runner, Mars was carrying a cargo of salt.

FEBRUARY 5, 1864 The U.S.S. DeSoto today captured the Confederate blockade runner Cumberland in the Gulf of Mexico. The Confederate blockade runner Cumberland, a 700-ton steamer, was carrying a cargo of guns and ammunition, including 100 barrels of gunpowder.

february 6

february 7

FEBRUARY 7, 1863 Federal naval authorities report the destruction of two casks of sperm oil, 47 sacks of salt, and one boat sail near Jupiter Inlet. These materials were presumed to be Confederate stores.

FEBRUARY 7, 1864 Union troops under General Truman A. Seymour landed at Jacksonville. This was the fourth occupation of the city by a Union army. The troops were to be used in a major Federal push into the center of the Sunshine State, a push that would culminate with the Battle of Olustee on February 20. Many of the African-American troops in the Union force were former free blacks and runaway slaves from the north Florida area.

FEBRUARY 7, 1864 The Confederate steamer St. Mary’s, trapped in McGirt’s Creek above Jacksonville, was sunk by the U.S.S. Norwich. The steamer’s cargo of cotton was destroyed to prevent capture by Union forces.

february 8

FEBRUARY 8, 1861 LaVilla Institute and the College of St. Augustine were incorporated today.

FEBRUARY 8, 1861 Baker County, the state’s 38th county, was established today. The county was named in honor of James McNair Baker (1822-

FEBRUARY 8, 1861 Polk County, Florida’s 39th county, was established today. Named in honor of James Knox Polk, the 11th president of the United States (1845-1849). County Seat: Bartow

FEBRUARY 8, 1861 The Confederate Constitution has been approved by the delegates to the Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, and has been submitted to the Southern states for their approval.

february 9

FEBRUARY 9, 1861 The steamer Everglade today unloaded its cargo of 1,500 muskets at Fernandina. The muskets were from the Charleston Arsenal.

FEBRUARY 9, 1861 The U.S.S. Brooklyn arrived off Pensacola today with troops to support the Union occupation force at Fort Pickens. The troops were not off loaded as both Union and Florida forces maintain an uneasy peace in the area.

FEBRUARY 9, 1861 Jefferson Davis of Mississippi has been elected Provisional President of the Confederate States of America. Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, an opponent of secession, has been elected Vice-President.

FEBRUARY 9, 1863 The Quincy extension of the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad began operations today. The train trip from Quincy to Tallahassee took only two hours. The train continued to its terminus at Lake City.

FEBRUARY 9, 1864 The Union gunboat Para sailed thirty miles up the Nassau River today, shelling the woods along both sides of the river and taking an inventory of several lumbering plants.

FEBRUARY 9, 1864 The 97th Pennsylvania, a Federal force encamped at Fernandina, today raided the surrounding area and captured a small force of Confederates in a nearby swamp.

FEBRUARY 9, 1864 Union forces today occupied Baldwin (about 19 miles west of Jacksonville) and captured cotton, artillery pieces, a train of cars, and enough forage for 1,000 men in the field for four days.

FEBRUARY 9, 1864 A small skirmish occurred between Confederate cavalry units and Federal forces at the south fork of the St. Marys River. The Union forces successfully forded the river and captured the village of Sanderson, some thirty miles west of Jacksonville. Retreating Confederate forces set fire to supplies of cotton, corn, and turpentine.

february 10

FEBRUARY 10, 1864 Union forces today encountered Confederate outposts a few miles east of Lake City. The Federal troops captured about 20 Confederates and destroyed almost $1 million in property. Federal forces lost 5 men killed and 10 wounded.

february 11

FEBRUARY 11, 1863 Colonel J. S. Morgan of the 90th Regiment of New York Volunteers, headquartered at Key West, today issued an order that “All white persons residing within the limits of this command having husbands, sons or brothers in Rebel employment, or who have at any time declined taking the oath of allegiance to the U.S. Government were hereby required to transport in person at these headquarters on or before Tuesday, the 17th instant, and register their names.”

february 12

FEBRUARY 12, 1861 The Reverend A. D. Pellicer, formerly a resident of Sr. Augustine, rendered the opening prayer for the opening of the Confederate Congress.

FEBRUARY 12, 1864 Federal forces commanded by Brigadier General Truman Seymour have concentrated at Baldwin in preparation for a major push westward into the heart of Florida.

february 13

FEBRUARY 13, 1864 Confederate forces under the command of General Joseph Finegan have concentrated at Camp Beauregard near Olustee on Ocean Pond. General Finegan selected the position because of the protection offered by two small lakes. It was also the location of the major road and railroad into the interior of the state. Confederate soldiers have started the task of building entrenchments and fortifications. It appears a major battle will be fought on or near this spot.

february 14

FEBRUARY 14, 1861 The Florida Legislature today incorporated the Alachua County railroad Company and authorized it to raised $200,000 in capital to construct a railroad from Waldo to Newnansville.

february 15

february 16

FEBRUARY 16, 1861 The British consul at Pensacola throws down the gauntlet to challenge the possible blockade of the Confederate States of America when he issues clearance papers for a ship carrying a cargo of cotton for British textile mills.

FEBRUARY 16, 1864 Federal forces withdraw from Gainesville following a skirmish with Confederate cavalry under the command of Captain J.J. Dickison.

FEBRUARY 16, 1864 The U.S.S. Para escorted Federal troops up the St. Mary’s River to Woodstock Mills, Florida, to obtain lumber. The U.S.S. Para engaged Confederate troops along the river bank. Union transports successfully loaded a large amount of lumber and began to withdraw down the river.

february 17

FEBRUARY 17, 1862 Federal naval forces on duty in the Gulf of Mexico today attacked the home of Abel Miranda on the Pinellas Peninsula (Tampa Bay), destroying citrus trees and livestock. Sailors then confiscated supplies of bacon, corn, syrup and potatoes and carried them off to their base on Egmont Key.

FEBRUARY 17, 1864 A boat expedition from the U.S.S. Tahoma destroyed a large salt works near St. Marks. A large quantity of salt was also destroyed.

FEBRUARY 17, 1865 The U.S.S. Mahaska captured the schooner Delia off the coast of Bayport, Florida, and seized its cargo of pig lead and sabers.

february 18

FEBRUARY 18, 1861 Jefferson Davis of Mississippi took the oath of office as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America. Among the military companies firing cannon salutes for President Davis were troops bound for Pensacola.

FEBRUARY 18, 1862 The Federal gunboat, Ethan Allen, entered Clearwater harbor today and captured the schooner Spitfire and the sloops Atlanta and Caroline.

february 19

february 20

FEBRUARY 20, 1862 A company of volunteers from Leon County were mustered into Confederate service today with Richmond N. Gardner as captain.

FEBRUARY 20, 1864 The largest Civil War battle to take place in the State of Florida occurred today at Ocean Pond/Olustee. Union and Confederate forces were about evenly matched with 5,500 soldiers each. The Confederates, under the command of General Joseph J. Finegan, had prepared defenses in the area (see citation for February 13). The failure of the Union commander, General Truman Seymour, to commit his forces in concert and as a whole gave the Confederates a strategic advantage. At the end of the day, the Confederates controlled the battlefield and Federal forces were in a hasty retreat toward Jacksonville and the safety of the guns of the Union navy.

Union Casualties: 203 killed, 152 wounded, 506 missing. Confederate casualties: 93 killed, 847 wounded, 6 missing. Union losses of material: 400 accouterment sets, 130,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 1,600 small arms, five cannons.

FEBRUARY 20, 1865 The Battle of Fort Myers, the southernmost land battle of the Civil War, took place today. With no clear winner, both Union and Confederate commanders claimed victory.

february 21

FEBRUARY 21, 1861 Stephen R. Mallory of Florida was appointed Secretary of the Confederate States Navy today by President Jefferson Davis.

FEBRUARY 21, 1864 The U.S.S. Para today captured the small Confederate steamer Hard Times on the St. Marys River.

FEBRUARY 21, 1865 Confederate forces launched an unsuccessful attack against Union forces at Fort Myers. Nine Federal prisoners were seized, one Union soldier killed, and some livestock was seized.

FEBRUARY 22, 1862 Jefferson Davis was inaugurated today as the first regular, non-provisional president of the  Confederacy..

february 22

FEBRUARY 22, 1862 Command of the Federal Department of Florida was assumed by Brigadier General Lewis G. Arnold.

FEBRUARY 22, 1863 Boat crews from the U.S.S. Gem of the Sea moved up the Indian River narrows today, discovering several places where cotton had been stored and a shipyard.

february 23

FEBRUARY 23, 1863 The U.S.S. Gem of the Sea today captured the Confederate steamer Charm about five miles up the St. Sebastian River.

FEBRUARY 23, 1864 The 4th Florida Infantry regiment was consolidated today with the 1st Florida Cavalry, Dismounted, in winter quarters at Dalton, Georgia. The consolidation was needed after both units suffered tremendous losses in fighting at Missionary Ridge, Tennessee.

FEBRUARY 23, 1865 A Federal expedition under the command of General John Newton sailed from Key West today for the west coast of Florida. St. Marks was believed to be the destination of this amphibious force.

february 24

FEBRUARY 24, 1862 The U.S.S. Harriet Lane captured the Confederate schooner Joanna Ward off the coast of Florida today. The U.S.S. Harriet Lane was commanded by Lieutenant Jonathan M. Wainwright, the grandfather of General Jonathan M. Wainwright who was forced to surrender Bataan to the Japanese in World War II.

FEBRUARY 24, 1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma today captured the Confederate schooner Stonewall near Key West.

FEBRUARY 24, 1864 The U.S.S. Nita pursued a Confederate steamer, the Nan-Nan, in the Suwanee River today. When it appeared that capture was inevitable, the Confederate crew set fire to the vessel. The Confederate steamer, the Nan-Nan was carrying a cargo of about sixty bales of cotton and was armed with a six-pounder cannon and plenty of ammunition.

FEBRUARY 24, 1865 The Federal expedition under the command of General John Newton reached Punta Rassa today. It immediately departed for Cedar Key late in the afternoon.

february 25

FEBRUARY 25, 1862 The U.S.S. Mohican and the U.S.S. Bienville captured the British blockade runner Arrow off the coast of Fernandina today.

FEBRUARY 25, 1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck seized the blockade running British sloop Two Brothers in Indian River, Florida. The British ship was carrying a cargo of salt, liquor and nails.

february 26

FEBRUARY 26, 1862 The U.S.S. Bienville captured the schooner Alert off St. John’s, Florida, today.

FEBRUARY 26, 1864 A boat expedition from the U.S.S. Tahoma destroyed a large salt works on Goose Creek, near St. Marks.

FEBRUARY 26, 1865 The U.S.S. Marigold captured a British blockade runner with an assorted cargo in the Straights of Florida between Havana and Key West.

february 27

FEBRUARY 27, 1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck seized the British blockade-running schooner Nina with a cargo of liquors and coffee at Indian River Inlet. The U.S.S. Roebuck also captured the schooner Rebel with a cargo of salt, liquor and cotton at Indian River Inlet.

february 28

FEBRUARY 28, 1862 Confederate General Samuel Jones assumed command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida from General Braxton E. Bragg.

FEBRUARY 28, 1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore arrived at Mosquito Inlet today to investigate reported of a Confederate schooner being loaded with cotton for England. The commander of the U.S.S. Sagamore, fearing hidden Confederate gun emplacement, lobbed shells into the inlet in the hope that the Confederates would burn the ship to prevent its capture.

FEBRUARY 28, 1864 The U.S.S. Clyde arrived at Cedar Key to take on coal.

FEBRUARY 28, 1865 Armed boats for the U.S.S. Honeysuckle forced the blockade running British schooner Sort aground on a reef near the mouth of Crystal River, Florida, where she was abandoned. British schooner Sort was the same schooner captured in December 1864 by the U.S.S. O. H. Lee.

FEBRUARY 28, 1865 The Federal amphibious force under the command of General John Newton arrived off Ocklockonee Buoy (near St. Marks Bar) today. Confederate scouts reported that 13 Federal steam ships and three sailing vessels have rendezvoused there in preparation for a land invasion.

february 29   no leap year events recorded