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This Day In Florida History During the Civil War  

JANUARY 1861-1865

January 1

January 2

January 2, 1861 The artillery duel between Confederate and Union forces at Pensacola continued until about 4 o’clock this morning. Casualties were minimal for both sides.

January 2, 1862 General Robert E. Lee has asked Brigadier General J. H. Trapier to increase the number of cannons and manpower on Cumberland and Amelia Islands to protect Fernandina from a Union attack.

January 2, 1863 Florida units with the Confederate Army of Tennessee were still engaged in the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone’s River) in Tennessee. Captain Augustus O. MacDonnell of the 1st and 3rd Florida Consolidated narrowly escaped serious injury when his sword was shattered by a shell fragment.

January 2, 1864 The Confederate Congress has approved the following Floridians as adjutants in Florida regiments and battalions: James B. Johnson, 5th Infantry Regiment , R. J. Reid, 2nd Infantry Regiment, W. McR. Jordan, 3rd Infantry Battalion, B. F. Parker, 4th Infantry Battalion, James O. Owens, 6th Infantry Battalion, George Dawson, 7th Infantry Regiment, F. Philips, 1st Cavalry Regiment; C. B. Paslay, 7th Infantry Regiment

January 2, 1865 Senators Augustus E. Maxwell and James M. Baker, along with Representative Robert B. Hilton, join other Confederate legislators as the Confederate Congress re-convenes after a one-day New Year’s Day recess

January 3

January 3, 1861 Delegates to the Florida Secession Convention meet in Tallahassee to take up the question of secession. Edmund Ruffin of Virginia arrived to confer with Governor Madison Starke Perry and members of the convention.

January 3, 1863 John Branch, the sixth Territorial Governor of Florida, died today in Enfield, North Carolina. (For more information, see entry for August 11.)

January 3, 1863 The Battle of Murphreesboro (Stone’s River) came to an end today. General Braxton E. Bragg withdrew from the battle despite apparent victory during the first two days. Florida units in the Army of Tennessee suffered a large number of casualties. (See entry for December 31.)

January 3, 1865 The U.S.S. Kanawha today captured the Confederate schooner Mary Ellen today in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

January 4

January 4, 1861 Governor Madison Perry and his advisors made the decision to seize Federal properties in Florida.

January 4, 1862 The Union blockader, U.S.S. Sagamore, was sighted near Santa Rosa Island.

January 4, 1863 William Dunn Moseley, Florida’s first governor under statehood (1845-1849), died today. Moseley was born at Moseley Hall, Lenoir County, North Carolina, on February 1, 1795. He attended the University of North Carolina with such notables as James K. Polk, later president of the United States. After college, he practiced law in Wilmington, North Carolina, and entered public service as a state senator. He was defeated in the North Carolina gubernatorial race of 1834. In 1835, Moseley purchased a plantation in Jefferson County, Florida, and resided there until 1851. A member of the Territorial Legislature, Moseley defeated Richard Keith Call, the third and fifth Territorial governor of Florida, in the contest to become the first governor of the new state of Florida. In 1851, Moseley moved to Palatka, where he was a planter and fruit grower.

January 5

January 5, 1861 The Quincy Guards, commanded by Colonel Duryea, seized the Chattahoochee Arsenal today. The troops confiscate 500,000 rounds of musket cartridges, 300,000 rounds of rifle cartridges, and 50,000 pounds of gunpowder.

January 5, 1861 The Florida Secession Convention reconvened today. John C. McGehee, a passionate state-rights planter from Madison County, was elected permanent chairman. McQueen Macintosh of Apalachicola introduced a resolution declaring Florida’s right to secede and urged the passage of a proclamation declaring that the state was no longer a part of the United States.

January 5, 1863 Crews from the U.S.S. Sagamore seized the British blockade runner Avenger in Jupiter Inlet. The Avenger was carrying a cargo of coffee, gin, salt, and other goods.

January 5, 1865 An expedition from the U.S.S. Winnebago seized two copper kettles used for distilling turpentine, 1,280 copper pipes, and four sloop-rigged boats in the Gulf of Mexico today.

January 6

January 6, 1861 U.S. Senator Stephen F. Mallory of Florida recommends that the state’s Secession Convention secede. This declaration followed a caucus of Southern senators called by Jefferson Davis and John Slidell of Mississippi.

January 6, 1863 The U.S.S. Pocahontas captured the blockade runner Antona today off Cape San Blas, Florida.

January 6, 1863 The U.S.S. Ariel today captured the sloop Good Luck, a blockade runner from New Smyrna near Key Biscayne Bay.

January 7

January 7, 1861 Federal soldiers guarding Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) in St. Augustine surrender the post to a company of local volunteers. In Tallahassee, the Secession Convention, after hearing appeals from Edmund Ruffin of Virginia, E.C. Bullock of Alabama, and L.S. Spratt of South Carolina, approves the McIntosh resolution by a vote of 62-5 for immediate secession. A committee of 13 was appointed to prepare the official secession ordinance.

January 8

January 8, 1861 Governor Madison Starke Perry ordered the occupation of Fort Clinch (Amelia Island) by Florida troops. He also authorized Colonel William Chase to seize the Federal forts at Pensacola if he can.

January 8, 1861 In the Secession Convention, the Ordinance of Secession was introduced for debate. The efforts of George T. Ward of Leon County and Jackson Morton of Santa Rosa County to defer secession until Georgia and Alabama have seceded were defeated.

January 8, 1863 In a rather busy day of activity, the Union Navy ships of the Blockading Squadron engaged in efforts along the entire coast of Florida. In North Florida, the U.S.S. Uncas reported an attack by land-based Confederates as it moved along the Nassau River. Three Federals were wounded. In Tampa Bay, the U.S.S. Tahoma captured the blockade runner Silas Henry with a cargo of cotton. The Silas Henry had run aground in Tampa Bay. The U.S.S. Sagamore seized the British sloop Julia ten miles north of Jupiter Inlet with a cargo of salt. The Julia was the ship suspected for carrying away the light from the Cape Florida lighthouse.

January 8, 1864 Two armed boats from the U.S.S. Roebuck were dispatched to Jupiter Inlet to halt the influx of small blockade-runners from the Bahamas.

January 9

January 9, 1861 Federal troops in Pensacola make ready to defend Federal forts against confiscation by Florida troops.

January 9, 1861 Floridians were in a quandary about the news that South Carolina troops had fired on the Union vessel Star of the West, which was carrying reinforcements for Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

January 9, 1861 In Tallahassee, the final debate on the Ordinance of Secession concludes in late afternoon. Delegates agree to postpone a final vote until tomorrow.

January 9, 1862 Elias Yulee, brother of David levy Yulee, was nominated by Confederate President Jefferson Davis for a commission as major in the Confederate Army.

January 9, 1863 According to federal dispatches, an empty and unmanned schooner, the Flying Cloud, has been boarded near the St. Lucie River.

January 9, 1863 The U.S.S. Ethan Allen today destroyed a large salt works south of St. Joseph’s Bay. The works were capable of producing 75 bushels of salt per day.

January 10

January 10, 1864 Boat crews from the U.S.S. Roebuck, under the command pf Acting Master John Sherrill, captured the blockade-running Confederate sloop, Maria Louise, with a cargo of cotton off Jupiter Inlet, Florida.

January 11

January 11, 1861 The Ordinance of Secession, approved by the Secession Convention yesterday, was signed today. Florida became an “independent nation” until it joined the Confederate States of America on January 28. Soon-to-be governor, John Milton, unfurls the new flag of Florida, a white silk banner with three stars. The stars represent the three southern states that have seceded—South Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida.

January 11, 1864 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle, under the command of Acting Ensign Cyrus Sears, captured the British blockade runner, Fly, near Jupiter Inlet. Boat crews from the U.S.S. Roebuck, under the command of Acting Master Sherrill, captured the British Blockade runner, Susan, and its cargo of salt at Jupiter Inlet.

January 12

January 12, 1861 Confederate forces seize the U.S. Navy Yard at Pensacola. Forts McRee and Barrancas were also taken. Federal forces garrisoned Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island.


January 12, 1861 - Fort Barrancas and the navy yard at Pensacola, were seized. The late commander of the navy yard, in a dispatch to Government says: 11 Armed bodies of Florida and Alabama, troops appeared before the gate of the navy yard, and demanded possession. Having no means of resistance, I surrendered and hauled down my flag. They are now in possession."

( From The Record of the Rebellion, Volume I, page 14 )

January 12, 1861 - A dispatch to the Florida senators announced the same as follows. "We repaired down here and captured Fort Barraneas and navy yard, and then paroled the officers, granting them permission to continue to occupy their quarters. We are now in possession. This move was in consequence of the Government garrisoning Fort Pickens, which has before remained unoccupied. You will propose to the Administration, resuming the status quo antebellum and we will immediately evacuate."

The Pensacola navy yard contains a hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars' worth of ordnance stores. - Richmond Enquirer, January 14, 1861. ( from The Record of the Rebellion, Volume I, Page 14)

January 13

January 13, 1861 Shots from the Federal garrison in Fort Pickens forced a Confederate reconnaissance detachment to abandon their effort to reconnoiter the area around the fort.

January 13, 1863 Benjamin F. Allen assumed office as Florida’s Secretary of State. Allen was appointed by Governor John Milton to replace Fred L. Villepigue, who was ruled ineligible for the office by the Florida Attorney General because he held a commission in the Confederate Army. Allen, who was a private in the Florida Light Artillery Company, was seeking a discharge in order to assume his new office.

January 13, 1863 A Confederate officer from Lake City met with the commander of the U.S.S. Norwich, operating in the St. John’s River, in an effort to re-open postal routes between Florida and northern states. Confederate officials, by command of General Joseph J. Finegan, forward letters from northern

January 13, 1864 Boat crews from the U.S.S. Two Sisters, under the command of Acting Master Thomas Chatfield, captured the schooner William off the Suwannee River today. The William carried a cargo of salt, bagging, and rope.

January 14

January 14, 1861 The United States Senators from Florida, David Levy Yulee and Stephen F. Mallory, were officially informed today of Florida’s secession from the Union.

January 14, 1862 The bodies of three Union sailors were recovered on the beach at St. George’s Island and given a military burial.

January 14, 1864 Small boats from the U.S.S. Roebuck chased the blockade-running British sloop, Young Racer, and forced her aground north of Jupiter Inlet. The sloop, which was carrying a cargo of salt, was destroyed by her crew.

January 14, 1864 The U.S.S. Union, under the command of Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, captured the blockade-running steamer, Mayflower, and its cargo of cotton near Tampa Bay today.

January 15

January 15, 1864 The federal schooner, U.S.S. Beauregard, today captured the British schooner, Minnie, about twenty miles south of Mosquito Inlet. The captured ship was carrying a cargo of salt, liquors, and earthenware.

January 15, 1865 Florida units attached to the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate) were engaged in heavy fighting today at Petersburg, Virginia.

January 15, 1864 Captain John Westcott of the 2nd Florida Infantry Battalion has been promoted to major by the Confederate War Department. His effective date of rank will be January 24, 1863.

January 16

January 16, 1862 Union sailors and soldiers took possession of Sea Horse Key and Cedar key today. Although there were no casualties, Union forces destroyed the railroad depot and wharf, several box cars loaded with supplies, several ships and boats, and a considerable supply of guns and ammunition. Capture of Cedar Key effectively ends the importance of the newly constructed railroad from Fernandina to this Gulf town.

January 16, 1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck captured the Confederate sloop Caroline today as it was attempting to run the blockade into Jupiter Inlet. The Confederate sloop Caroline was carrying a cargo of salt, gin, soda, and dry goods.

January 16, 1864 The U.S.S. Stars and Stripes captured the British blockade runner Laura off the Ocklockonee River with a cargo of whiskey, cigars, and assorted merchandise.

January 17

January 17, 1861 Jackson Morton of Santa Rosa County, Patton Anderson of Jefferson County, and James B. Owens of Marion County were appointed as Florida’s delegates to the Southern Convention scheduled to meet in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4.

January 17, 1862 The U.S.S. Connecticut captured the British blockade-runner, Emma, off the Florida Keys.

January 17, 1863 A Federal naval officer reported that he had found 45 bags of salt on a conch bar near Jupiter Inlet. It was also reported that a small boat with two Confederates has been captured near the St. Lucie River.

January 17, 1866 John Beard assumed office today as Florida’s Comptroller.

January 18

January 18, 1861 Despite demands by Confederate forces in Pensacola, Union Lieutenant Adam Slemmer refuses to surrender Fort Pickens to them.

January 18, 1862 The Federal gunboat Sagamore, operating off the Gulf Coast near the Apalachicola River, sent several boats ashore to investigate conditions on St. Vincent’s Island. The Federal officer in charge reported that the fort on the island had been burned and abandoned.

January 18, 1864 The U.S.S. Stars and Stripes captured the British blockade-runner Laura today off the Ocklockonee River after a chase of nearly seven hours. The Laura was carrying a cargo of cigars, whiskey, and general merchandise.

January 19

January 19, 1861 A Federal force under the command of Brevet Major L. G. Arnold occupied Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas today. In St. Augustine, Colonel G. C. Gibbs announced that the city was preparing its defenses against a Federal attack.

January 19, 1862 The U.S.S. Itasca, under the command of lieutenant Charles H. B. Caldwell, today captured the Confederate ship, Lizzie Weston, off the coast of Florida enroute to Jamaica with a cargo of cotton.

January 19, 1863 The effectiveness of the Federal blockade of the Southern coast was revealed in this captured letter from Nassau: “There are men here who are making immense fortunes by shipping goods to Dixie…Salt, for example, was one of the most paying things to send in. Here in Nassau it is only worth 60 cents a bushel, but in Charleston brings at auction from $80 to $100 in Confederate money, but as Confederate money is no good out of the Confederacy they send back cotton or turpentine, which, if it reaches here, is worth proportionally as much here as the salt is there….It is a speculation by which one makes either 600 or 800 per cent or loses all.”

January 19, 1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck today captured the British blockade-runner Eliza about a mile inside Jupiter Inlet with a cargo of fourteen bales of cotton. Roebuck also captured the British sloop Mary inside Jupiter Inlet later in the day. The Mary had a cargo of 31 bales of cotton.

January 20

January 21

January 21, 1861 Florida’s United States senators David Levy Yulee and Stephen R. Mallory, along with U.S. Representative George S. Hawkins, formally withdraw from the United States Congress today. This following Florida’s secession from the Union.

January 21, 1861 Florida’s Secession Convention adjourns in Tallahassee.

January 21, 1862 The Confederate schooner Olive Branch bound from Cedar Key to Nassau with a cargo of turpentine was captured by the U.S.S. Ethan Allen.

January 21, 1863 The Federal steamer U.S.S. Uncas in the St. John’s River fired on Confederate pickets near Cedar Creek. A Parrott gun on board the Union vessel exploded, seriously wounding one man whose arm was shattered and amputated.

January 21, 1865 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle arrived in Cedar key today with the British schooner Augusta in tow. The British vessel will be taken to key West and claimed as a war prize by Acting Ensign Charles N. Hall and his crew.

January 22

January 22, 1863 The Federal steamer U.S.S. Bibb left the St. John’s River for Port Royal, South Carolina, today. It carried a white refugee named Jackson, who reported to Federal officials that the Confederates had a man-of-war carrying eight guns on the Chattahoochee River. He also reported that the steamer Cuba was preparing to run the blockade via the Suwannee River.

January 22, 1863 It was reported that Federal Brigadier General Adam J. Slemmer was captured in the recent Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Slemmer first came to the attention of Floridians when he was a Lieutenant in command of Fort Barrancas in January 1861. It was Slemmer who ordered Federal troops to concentrate in Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola Harbor.

January 23

January 23, 1861 Confederate garrisons at St. Augustine removes lenses from the St. Augustine and Jupiter Inlet lighthouses forcing them to shut down.

January 23, 1865 The British blockade runner Fannie McRae was captured today by the Federal tender Fox between St. Marks and Deadman’s Bay in the Warrior River.

January 24

January 24, 1862 Confederate President Jefferson Davis has recommended Joseph J. Finegan of Fernandina beach be given a commission as Lieutenant Colonel in the Confederate Army.

January 24, 1863 The U.S.S. Paul Jones was assigned to deliver ammunition and other stores to ships on patrol duty in the St. John’s River. The Paul Jones was also instructed to proceed up the river “as far as you may deem necessary” on a reconnaissance mission. After that mission was completed, the ship was to join the federal blockade off Florida’s east Coast.

January 25

January 26

January 26, 1861 The Marion Artillery of St. Augustine announced today that it had fortified Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) with several 32-pounders and 8-inch howitzers.

January 26, 1862 The U.S.S. Sagamore left its moorings at St. Vincent’s Island and moved further up the channel of Apalachicola Bay.

January 27

January 27, 1862 Brigadier General Samuel Jones has been assigned to command the Army of Pensacola relieving General Braxton E. Bragg.

January 27, 1864 Union General Alexander Asboth, in command of Federal forces at Pensacola, reported that 1,200 Confederates were encamped at nearby Pollard. He also reported that two companies of Confederate cavalry were camped at the head of Choctawhatchee Bay.

January 27, 1865 Lieutenant Charles A. French of the U.S.S. Ino captured an unknown ship with a cargo of cotton and sugar today on the Manatee River.

January 28

January 28, 1861 Former U. S. Senator David Levy Yulee informed Stephen Mallory that the Federal warship, U.S.S. Brooklyn, was bound for Fort Pickens with two companies of soldier aboard. Mallory immediately informed friends in the Union capital that Confederate forces would not attack as long as conditions did not change. When this information was passed along to outgoing President James Buchanan, he ordered the troops be kept aboard the ship and not landed.

January 28, 1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore captured and destroyed the British blockade runner, Elizabeth, today at the mouth of Jupiter Inlet.

January 28, 1864 The U. S. schooner, Beauregard, captured the British blockade-runner Racer about ten miles north of Cape Canaveral. The English vessel had left New Smyrna bound for Nassau with a cargo of cotton.

January 28, 1864 The British steamer Rosita was captured today by the U.S. Army transport steamer Western Metropolis about eighty miles out of Key West. The British steamer Rosita was carrying a cargo of liquor, cigars, and assorted merchandise.

January 29

January 29, 1862 The U.S. Storeship Supply captured the Confederate schooner Stephen Hart south of Sarasota with a cargo of arms and ammunition.

January 29, 1864 Governor John Milton informs General Pierre Beauregard, commanding the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, that Confederate army deserters were organizing themselves into bands in the state. The areas of the strongest groups were in LaFayette, Washington, Walton, Taylor and Levy counties in West Florida. They deserters were also operating in strong bands from Tampa to Fort Myers in Southwest Florida.

January 29, 1865 The 34th U. S. Colored Troops have been transferred to Florida

January 30

January 30, 1862 The U.S.S. Kingfisher captured the blockade runner Teresita today in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

January 30, 1862 General J. H. Trapier, in command of Confederate forces in Florida, reported that he had the following number of men under his command: Infantry: 133 officers, 1,994 enlisted men, Cavalry: 46 officers, 1,080 enlisted men, Artillery: 6 officer, 89 enlisted men

January 31

January 31, 1863 Confederate authorities reported that in the District of East Florida, there were 810 men and officers on duty, while the District of Middle Florida had a total of 751 men and officers.