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This Day In Florida History During the Civil War  

JULY 1861-1865

july 1

July 1, 1864 The U.S.S. Merrimac, under the command of Acting Lieutenant W. Budd, captured the blockade-running sloop Henrietta at sea west of Tampa. The Henrietta was carrying a cargo of cotton.

July 1, 1864 A Federal expedition from Fort Meyers sailed for Bayport on the west coast of Florida, near Cedar Keys. It was composed of the 2nd U.S. Colored Infantry and the 2nd Union Florida Cavalry [white], some 240 men in all.

july 2

july 3

July 3, 1863 Boats from the U.S.S. Fort Henry, under the command of Lieutenant McCauley, captured the sloop, Emma, north of Sea Horse Key [Cedar Key] with a cargo of tar and Confederate mail.

july 4

July 4, 1868 Military government came to an end when civilian control of the state government was restored. Federal troops continued to occupy Florida until the striking of the Compromise of 1877. The [Tallahassee] Floridian reported that the Republican Party held a Presidential campaign rally to celebrate this auspicious occasion and that the crowds from all over the state, particularly newly enfranchised freedmen, made up “Probably the largest crowd here, ever before at any time.”

july 5

July 5, 1863 The U.S.S. DeSoto, with Captain W. M. Walker in command, captured the blockade runner, Lady Maria, off the coast of Clearwater, Florida, with a cargo of cotton.

July 5, 1864 A Federal column of black and white soldiers advanced from Cedar Keys on the Gulf Coast into the interior. After the column had advanced for a few miles, it was attacked by Confederate cavalry and retreated to Cedar Keys. The Federal force suffered eight wounded. Confederate losses were unknown.

july 6

July 6, 1864 A Federal column of black and white soldiers advanced from Cedar Keys on the Gulf Coast into the interior. After the column had advanced for a few miles, it was attacked by Confederate cavalry and retreated to Cedar Keys. The Federal force suffered eight wounded. Confederate losses were unknown.

july 7

July 7, 1862 The U.S.S. Penquin, under the command of Lieutenant J. C. Williamson, was ordered to Key West for duty with the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.

July 7, 1863 The Trustees of Florida’s Internal Improvement Fund withdrew from public sale all lands lying within two miles of a coast or marsh. The purpose of this action was to prevent speculators from buying all lands suitable for salt production. Salt was an essential item for civilian and military use during the Civil War.

July 7, 1864 The small schooners, U.S.S. Ariel [Acting Master Russell], U.S.S. Sea Bird [Acting Ensign Ezra L. Robbins], and the U.S.S. Stonewall [Acting Master Henry B. Carter], accompanied by the 29-ton sloop, Rosalie, [Acting Master Coffin], transported Union troops on a raid on Brooksville. After disembarking the troops, the Ariel and the Sea Bird proceeded to Bayport, where a landing party captured a quantity of cotton and burned the custom house.

july 8

July 8, 1862 In response to a July 4 letter from S. R. Mallory which informed Governor John Milton that the 2nd Florida regiment had lost 471 soldiers since May 1 and which suggested that the governor start a recruitment drive for that unit, Milton replied to General James Longstreet on this date that an effort would be made. Milton states that this will be a hard task since so many have already been mustered into Confederate service and that “those who are left are scattered throughout the state.”

July 8, 1863 Two U.S. Navy cutters, the Restless and the Rosalie, captured the schooner Ann and an unnamed sloop in Horse Creek, Florida, with cargoes of cotton.

july 9

July 9, 1862 The Federal schooner Wanderer was ordered to check the Indian River Inlet to determine whether that waterway was being used by Confederate blockade runners.

July 9, 1863 A boat crew from the U.S.S. Tahoma, commanded by Lieutenant Commander A. A. Semmes, captured an unnamed flatboat with a cargo of sugar and molasses near Manatee River, Florida.

july 10

July 10, 1861 Colonel Brown, Federal commander of Fort Pickens in Pensacola Harbor, received reinforcements of New York Volunteers, but informed the Secretary of War that more were needed to hold the fort against an anticipated Confederate assault.

July 10, 1862 A Federal ship departs Egmont Key for Key West with a full manifest of Union sympathizers and runaway slaves.

July 10, 1864 U.S.S. Roebuck, Acting Master William L. Martine commanding, captured the blockade-running British schooner, Terrapin, at Jupiter Inlet with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.

july 11

July 11, 1864 A landing party from U.S.S. James L. Davis, under the command of Acting Master Griswold, destroyed Confederate salt works near Tampa. These works were capable of producing 150 bushels of salt per day. The vats, reportedly owned by secessionists “Haygood” and “Carter,” were reported to Federal authorities by a Mr. Johnston of Tampa.

July 11, 1864 The following Florida units were participants in the Battle of Atlanta (July-September 1864):

Florida Marion Artillery , Florida First Cavalry Regiment , Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry Regiment , Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment , Florida 4th Infantry Regiment , Florida 6th Infantry Regiment , Florida 7th Infantry Regiment

july 12

July 12, 1861 The East Florida State Seminary holds its closing exercises for the year.

July 12, 1862 The Federal gunboat, Tahoma, arrives at Key West with the Confederate schooner, Uncle Mose, and its cargo of cotton as the prize.

July 12, 1863 The 1st, 3rd and 4th Florida Infantry Regiments were part of the fighting near Jackson, Mississippi. According to official reported, these units, plus the 47th Georgia and Cobb’s Battery, took 200 prisoners and the colors of the 28th, 41st, and 53rd Illinois Regiments.

July 12, 1864 U.S.S. Ariel, the Sea Bird, the Stonewall, and the Rosalie transported Union troops for a raid on Brooksville, where they captured a quantity of cotton. The troops also burned the customs house.

July 12, 1864 Federal troops advance on Confederate pickets at Cedar Creek at the railroad. Two Confederate scouts from the 2nd Florida Cavalry were captured and killed.

July 12, 1864 Master W. L. Martine of the bark, Roebuck, reported that twenty-six refugees have arrived at Indian River Inlet and asked for transportation to St. Augustine.

july 13

July 13, 1861 The 2nd Florida Infantry Regiment was assembled at the Old Brick Church in West Jacksonville and mustered into Confederate service. The Alachua Guards, Leon Rifles, Columbia Guards, Hammock Guards (Marion County), Gulf State Guards of Jackson County, St. Johns Greys, St. Augustine Rifles, Hamilton Blues, Davis Guards of Nassau County, and the Madison Rangers.

July 13, 1861 Two detachments of Confederate Coast Guards were called to active duty by Brigadier General J. Taylor.

July 13, 1863 Confederate report that they opened fire on three launches in the St. Mark’s River opposite old Port Leon. Although the men in the launches return fire, no Confederate casualties were reported.

July 13, 1864 Union and Confederate troops clash at Little and Big Trout Creek.

July 13, 1865 William Marvin was appointed Provisional Governor of Florida by President Andrew Johnson and directed him to call a constitutional convention to write a new constitution for the state as a condition for being readmitted to the Union. Although the Convention met in Tallahassee on October 28 and wrote a new governing document, the new constitution, which would have become effective on November 7, was never activated because Congress assumed responsibility for establishing the rules for readmission and Johnson’s program was rejected.

july 14

July 14, 1861 A detachment of the Florida Mounted Volunteers was sent to take up station at Fort Meade. Under the command of 1st Lieutenant J. R. Durrance, the unit includes a sergeant, a corporal, and fifteen enlisted men.

July 14, 1863 The U.S.S. Jasmine, with Acting Master Alfred L. B. Zerega, captured the sloop Relampage, near the Florida Keys. The Relampage was heading out of Havana with a cargo of copper boiler tubing.

July 14, 1864 A detachment of Federal cavalry landed at Broward’s Neck, Duval County.

july 15

July 15, 1862 The Florida Sentinel reported that Florida has contributed eight regiments of infantry, two light artillery companies, one regiment of cavalry, and two independent partisan cavalry companies to the war effort.

July 15, 1863 U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba, under the command of Commander Wyman, captured the steamer, Lizzie, off the coast of Florida

July 15, 1864 Confederate forces under Captain McElbey of the 5th Florida Cavalry were located at Green’s Plantation on the road to Baldwin. Federal forces were advancing down the road. A small skirmish was fought at Little Trout Creek. The Confederate forces retreat toward Baldwin, while the Federal forces move to the vicinity of Otter Creek.

july 16

july 17

July 17, 1861 Already facing shortages of essential civilian goods, such as newsprint, the St. John’s Mirror of Jacksonville was published with pages one-fourth the regular size.

July 17, 1862 The 6th and 7th Florida Infantry regiments, along with the Marion Light Artillery, were ordered to Tennessee to protect that state against and anticipated Federal campaign.

July 17, 1863 The C.S.S. Florida, with Commander John Newland Maffitt at the conn, put into Bermuda to obtain coal and make repairs. In addition, the crew of the Florida buried J. L. Lynch, the Assistant Paymaster, who had died of consumption. Maffitt, upon reaching Bermuda, send word to the port commander that he planned to salute the British flag and asked whether or not the British would return the salute. Colonel William Munro, the British commander, consulted with the Governor and informed Maffitt that the British would return gun for gun any salute offered. This, perhaps, was the only time such an honor was paid to the Confederate naval flag.--See Frank L. Owsley, Jr., The C.S.S. Florida, Her Building and Operations, pp. 74-75.

July 17, 1864 A detachment of Federal cavalry occupy Callahan in Duval County and burned two rail cars loaded with iron. They also arrest Wingate Broward and Joseph Hagans, while confiscating a number of horses and heads of cattle.

july 18

July 18, 1863 The U.S. District Court in Key West approved the appropriation of the captured Confederate sloop, Rosalie, into the Union navy for use as part of the squadron blockading Charlotte Harbor.

July 18, 1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore, a Union gunboat, destroyed a Confederate starch mill at Cape Florida.

July 18, 1864 Union troops from Bayport were on the march inland (some 40 miles) for the purpose of destroying plantations, confiscating livestock, and to test Confederate resistance. The Union force was made up of 240 men from Ft. Myers.

july 19

July 19, 1861 The Montgomery Mounted Rifles, a Confederate force, landed on Santa Rosa Island. The Confederates attacked a small boat that was on its way to the shore from the Union ship, Mohawk. The Federal crew suffered a number of wounded, and the officer in charge of the landing party was killed.

July 19, 1863 Federal soldiers from the U.S.S. Fort Henry, anchored at Cedar Key, captured twenty-two bales of cotton on an expedition up the Waccasassa River.

July 19, 1864 Confederate units reoccupy their lines near Cedar Key.

july 20

July 20, 1861 The 1st Florida Cavalry Regiment, under the command of Colonel G. W. M. Davis, was assembled at Camp Mary David, about six miles south of Tallahassee. The regiment consisted of 10 companies drawn from Columbia, Nassau, Suwanee, Leon, Levy, Duval and Alachua counties.

July 20, 1863 Union and Confederate forces skirmished along the mouth of the Waccasassa River. Two Union soldiers were killed.

July 20, 1864 On July 20, an expedition of 400 men from the 2nd U. S. Colored Infantry and the 2nd Florida Cavalry (U.S.) moves from Cedar Keys to St. Andrews bay on a mission into the interior. The campaign continued until July 29, with tremendous destruction of property and the confiscation of 115 slaves.

july 21

July 21, 1862 Federal naval officials were concerned over the disappearance of the U.S.S. Beauregard near the mouth of the Crystal River. Union officials report that the ship and its crew were likely captured by Confederate forces or lost at sea.

July 21, 1863 The Quartermaster General of the Confederacy issued a call for as many Florida palmettos as can be harvested for use in Richmond hospitals.

July 21, 1863 The Confederate blockade runner, James Battle, arrived in Key West with a cargo of 600 bales of cotton.

July 21, 1864 Confederate forces burn and destroy two trestles on the Cedar Keys Railroad about five miles south of Baldwin.

july 22

July 22, 1863 A small boat from the U.S.S. Fort Henry, commanded by Orderly Sergeant C. Nugent, made a midnight reconnaissance into Bayport.

July 22, 1864 Colonel James Shaw, commanding the 7th U.S. Colored Infantry, embarks on an expedition up the St. Johns River to Black Creek.

July 22, 1864 A Federal force composed of elements of the 7th Vermont Veterans Volunteers, the 82nd U.S. Colored Infantry, the 1st Florida Cavalry (U.S.), the 14th New York Cavalry, and the 1st Florida Battery (U.S.) attacked Confederate forces at the newly-completed Fort Hodgson (Camp Gonzales) 15 miles north of Pensacola. Eight Confederates were captured, in addition to the regimental flag of the 7th Alabama Cavalry and a considerable amount of provisions.

July 22, 1864 The following Florida units participate in the ill-fated Battle of Atlanta on this date:

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 (not directly involved)

july 23

July 23, 1863 Union forces at Jacksonville begin a five day campaign against Confederate fortifications at McGirts Creek (north of Jacksonville). In this campaign, Federal troops drive Confederates forces from their breastworks, tear up a section of railroad, and burn the railroad bridge over the St. Marys River.

july 24

July 24, 1862 The U.S.S. Quaker City, with Commander __ Frailey at the helm, captured the blockade runner, Orion, at Campeche Bank, south of Key West.

July 24, 1863 The gunboat, U.S.S. Sagamore, reported that it had discovered eleven barrels of turpentine at Haul Over, thirteen miles north of Cape Canaveral. The Federals speculated that local Confederates were planning to sent it out on a blockade runner.

July 24, 1864 Union forces cross the South Fork of Black Creek (near Jacksonville) and attack two trestles on the Baldwin-Gainesville Railroad.

july 25

July 25, 1861 The 3rd Florida Infantry Regiment was organized on Amelia Island. William S. Dilworth was elected Colonel; J. T. Wright received the most votes for Lieutenant Colonel; while Lucius A. Church was elected Major.

July 25, 1863 Colonel G. Troup Maxwell of the Florida 1st Cavalry declares himself to be a candidate for the Confederate Congress.

july 26

July 26, 1861 Thomas E. Jordan was appointed postmaster of Pensacola by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who also appointed Chandler C. Yonge as the Confederate attorney for the Florida district.

July 26, 1862 A Union reconnaissance of the Indian River region found no activity in the area.

July 26, 1864 Confederate Major General Patton Anderson was transferred from his post as Commander of the Confederate District of Florida to duty with Major General John Bell Hood in Atlanta. General John K. Jackson assumed Anderson’s command.

july 27

July 28, 1863 Under the command of Lieutenant Commander English, the U.S.S. Beauregard and Oleander, accompanied by boats U.S.S. Sagamore and Para, attacked New Smyrna, Florida. After shelling the town, the Union forces destroyed several vessels, destroyed a sloop loaded with cotton, and burned large quantities of cotton on shore. In addition, Marines landed and destroyed all buildings that had been occupied by Confederate troops.

July 27, 1864 Union General Birney, operating out of Jacksonville, captured Baldwin.

july 28

July 28, 1864 The following units from Confederate Florida participated in the Battle of Ezra Church as Major General John Bell Hood attempted to break Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s siege of Atlanta:

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 , Florida Marion Artillery continued to serve the Confederacy in the Siege of Atlanta as part of the Hoxton Battalion, Artillery, 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee.

Hiram Smith Williams, a member of the 40th Alabama Regiment during the war and a resident of Rockledge, Florida, from 1872 until 1921, noted in his diary:

            “Up and off early this morning to the Arsenal in the North West part of the city. Here were rested until about 11:00 o’clock when the whole army was moved rapidly to the left. We were ahead of all the infantry, and the first thing we knew, the cavalry fell back past us, and the balls falling around us showed that the enemy was near. Such confusion I never saw, the troops hurrying past us and forming in line of battle, while the continuous roar of musketry showed that they were hotly engaged. Falling back half-a-mile we stopped to await orders near the road, and I can truthfully say that I never saw so many wounded men in the same length of time before.... A few more such affairs as this and that of the 22nd (the Battle of Atlanta) and we will have no army left. This day’s work has done more to de-moralize our army than 3 months under General [Joseph E.] Johnston.” From This War So Horrible: The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams (University of Alabama Press), edited by Lewis N. Wynne and Robert A. Taylor.

july 29

July 29, 1863 The Union ship, U.S.S. Rosalie, under the command of Acting Master Peter F. Coffin, seized the British blockade runner, Georgie, in the Caloosahatchee River near Fort Myers. The schooner had been abandoned and carried no cargo.

july 30

july 31

July 31, 1863 Florida’s 22nd governor, Sidney Johnston Catts [January 2, 1917-January 4, 1921] was born near Pleasant Hill, Alabama on this date. The son of wealthy planter parents, Catts received an unusually broad education at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, Howard College, and Alabama Polytechnic Institute. In 1882, he received a LL.B. degree from Cumberland University. An ordained Baptist minister (1886), Catts was a candidate for Congress from the Fifth District of Alabama in 1904. Unsuccessful and in dire financial straights, Catts moved to DeFuniak Springs, Florida. In 1916, Catts lost the Democratic primary, but won the general election as the nominee of the Prohibition Party. Catts’ administration was turbulent and marred by several allegations of fraud, including the appointment of family members to positions of importance.

Catts was defeated in his bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator in 1920. He was twice defeated (1924 and 1928) in efforts to regain the governorship. Controversy continue to dog Catts after leaving public office, and near the end of his life, he was accused of being a part of a counterfeiting ring.

Catts had undeniable popular appeal with many Floridians and his unsuccessful races to regain the office of governor were hotly contested. Catts was credited with authoring the statement, “People in Florida have only three friends--Jesus Christ, J.C. Penney and Sidney J. Catts!”

Catts died at DeFuniak Springs on March 9, 1936.

July 31, 1864 Brigadier General John P. Hatch was assigned to command of the Federal District of Florida.

July 31, 1864 Confederate Brigadier General John K. Jackson recommended Captain J. J. Dickison for promotion to Colonel, based on his activities in leading his cavalry unit in South Florida.