1861 Construction of the first cross-peninsula railroad from
Fernandina to Cedar Key was completed today. David Levy Yulee,
United States Senator from Florida, was the driving force behind
this railroad. Although used very little because of the outbreak of
the War between the States in April, the railroad made Cedar Key a
major urban site in the immediate postwar years. (See Charles
Fishburne, History of Cedar Key)
1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck seized
the blockade-running British steamer Lauretta off the Indian
River Inlet today. The Lauretta was carrying a cargo of salt.
1861 John B. Galbraith assumed the office of Florida Attorney
1863 Forces from the Federal gunboat Sagamore
attempted to capture the Confederate blockade-runner
Florence Nightingale as it was loading a
cargo of cotton in Mosquito Inlet near New Smyrna. The Federal
gunboat Sagamore shelled the area from its position at sea
and then sent men on barges to capture the ship. The captain of the
Florence Nightingale set fire to the ship to prevent its
capture. Confederate forces on land repelled the Federal boarding
crews. The fire on the blockade runner were then extinguished, and
the Florence Nightingale successfully put to sea despite
having lost its main mast and most of its provisions.
1864 Confederate General Pierre Beauregard arrived at Camp
Milton on McGirt’s Creek. He was seeking to organize three infantry
brigades under General J. J. Finegan and Alfred H. Colquitt, a
cavalry brigade under Colonel Robert H. Anderson, and an artillery
brigade under Lieutenant Colonel Charles Colquitt Jones.
1865 In an effort to avoid capture by the U.S.S. Fox,
the crew of the blockade runner Rob Roy ran her
ashore and set fire to her in Deadman’s Bay. The cargo removed from
the blazing ship by the crew of the U.S.S. Fox consisted of
cavalry sabers and farm implements.
1862 United States naval forces, under the command of
Flag Officer Samuel DuPont, today reported that they had control of
Cumberland Island and Sound, Fernandina and Amelia Island, and the
river and town of St. Mary’s.” Fort Clinch on Amelia
Island was occupied by forces from the U.S.S. Ottawa
and became the first Confederate fort to be re-taken by Union
forces. The Federal navy also captured the Confederate steamer
Darlington with a cargo of military supplies. Confederate
forces retreated inland, carrying their heavy guns.
1865 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle captured the blockade
runner Phantom as she attempted to enter the Suwannee River.
The blockade runner Phantom was carrying a cargo of liquors
and bar iron.
1865 A Federal naval squadron of twelve steamers and four
sloops, commanded by Commander R. W. Shufeldt, today joined Federal
army troops commanded by Brigadier General John Newton in an assault
on St. Marks Fort below Tallahassee. Although the attack on the fort
was unsuccessful, Federal ship succeeded in blockading the mouth of
the St. Mark’s River. Confederate officials anticipate that this was
the opening gambit in a campaign to capture Tallahassee.
1861 Floridian Stephen R. Mallory was confirmed by the
Confederate Congress as the Secretary of the Navy. Two of Florida’s
Representatives, Jackson Morton and James B. Owens, vehemently
oppose his confirmation.
1862 The Federal ship, U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba
captured the sloop, O.K., of the coast near Cedar Keys today.
While being taken to St. Mark’s, the O.K. floundered.
1863 The U.S.S. James S. Chambers seized the
blockade-running Spanish sloop Relampago and schooner Ida
today. The Ida, beached at Sanibel Island, could not escape
and was destroyed by a crew from the U.S.S. James S. Chambers.
1865 The Federal flotilla recently assembled and which
assaulted St. Mark’s yesterday landed 1,000 Union troops near
St. Mark’s lighthouse. The troops prepared to move inland. In
Tallahassee, Confederate authorities were hastily assembling
whatever forces they can muster to stave off the anticipated attack
on the capital city.
MARCH 5, 1862
The U.S.S. Water Witch today captured the schooner
William Malley off St. Andrew’s Bay.
MARCH 5, 1864
Confederate cavalry hero Captain J. J. Dickinson was today ordered
to proceed with his men to Palatka and to place himself under the
command of the commanding officer of the 4th Florida Cavalry
MARCH 5, 1865
Federal forces have occupied the left bank of the St. Mark’s River
as far inland as Newport. Federal commander General John Newton was
expected to move his forces toward
Federal success here will mean that Tallahassee will fall.
Confederate forces were moving to prevent the successful passage of
the Union force.
MARCH 6, 1861
The Palatka Guards, a volunteer detachment of about 300 men, leaves
for Fernandina as ordered by Governor Madison Starke Perry.
MARCH 6, 1861
Braxton E. Bragg, a Mississippi planter, West Point graduate, and
Mexican War Veteran, was named to command the Confederate forces in
Pensacola. He was a Brigadier general.
MARCH 6, 1862
The U.S.S. Pursuit today captured the schooner Anna
Belle off Apalachicola.
MARCH 6, 1865
The Federal attempt to capture Tallahassee was thwarted today by a
motley collection of Confederate troops, soldiers on leave or
recuperating from medical problems, and cadets from the West Florida
Seminary ( now Florida State University), at
about twenty miles south of the city. Despite a considerable
numerical advantage, the Federal troops could not overcome the
Confederates’ use of natural defenses to reach the city.
Following the failure of this Union attempt, Federal troops
withdrew to St. Marks. Tallahassee remained the only Confederate
capital east of the Mississippi to escape capture and occupation by
Union forces during the Civil War.
Two Federal efforts to cross
were repelled this morning. When
Confederate reinforcements arrived, the Union commanders ordered
their troops to retreat to the safety of the naval vessels at anchor
near St. Mark’s lighthouse. Federal losses in the Battle of
were put at 21 killed, 89 wounded, and 38 missing. Confederate
authorities reported 3 killed, 22 wounded, and none missing.
(For more information on the Battle of Natural Bridge, see the
Winter 1999 issue of The Florida Historical Quarterly.
1862 The mayor of Jacksonville today issued a proclamation
urging citizens of that city to stay in their homes and to pursue
their normal vocations in the face of an anticipated Federal assault
on the city. Confederate authorities have informed the mayor that
they will make no effort to defend Jacksonville.
1865 The Federal flotilla at anchor off St. Mark’s lighthouse
today weighed anchor and sailed away. The Union attempt to seize
Tallahassee was an abject failure. The expedition lost a total of
148 men killed, wounded or missing.
1861 The Charleston Mercury reported that Confederate
Representatives in Congress James B. Owens and Jackson Morton
continued their attack on Florida’s Stephen Mallory, the new
Confederate Secretary of the Navy, for being a self-seeker and of
having shown “bad faith toward Florida, his native state.” Mallory
was still officially a member of the United States Senate, a
position that he would continue to occupy until the Senate
officially accepted his resignation, which it did on March 11.
1862 This afternoon a Federal force of several ships and a
transport with the 4th New Hampshire Infantry aboard left Fernandina
for the St. Johns River. They were joined by forces from Port Royal,
South Carolina, under the command of Colonel Thomas Wentworth
MARCH 8, 1862
The U.S.S. Sagamore today captured the sloop
Enterprise, which had left the Mosquito Inlet for Nassau with a
cargo of cotton.
1864 Union General Truman Seymour asks for artillery
reinforcements for Jacksonville to ensure that the city will not be
taken. He reported that Confederate forces have moved to King’s Road
and were also in the Six-Mile/cedar Creek area.
1865 Union forces left Jacksonville yesterday for an
expedition into Marion County. Their progress westward continued
today and has largely been unimpeded by Florida Confederate troops.
MARCH 9, 1861 Governor Madison Starke Perry received
the first Confederate requisition of Florida troops from Secretary
of the Army L. Pope Walker.
MARCH 10, 1862
Federal naval forces under Lieutenant T. H. Stevens temporarily
occupied Jacksonville today.
MARCH 10, 1862
St. Augustine has been evacuated by two companies of Confederate
troops that had been stationed there. A Federal invasion was
considered likely to happen within the next twenty-four hours.
MARCH 10, 1863
A Federal force, made up primarily of African-American troops,
reoccupied Jacksonville today. It was opposed unsuccessfully by the
Florida 2nd Cavalry and the Florida 2nd Infantry Battalion, which
retreated in the face of a bombardment from Federal gunboats.
MARCH 10, 1863
The U.S.S. Gem of the Sea today captured the sloop Petee,
which was attempting to run the blockade at Indian River Inlet with
a cargo of salt.
MARCH 10, 1864
Union forces occupied Palatka this morning without opposition.
Although they did not oppose the occupation of the city, Confederate
forces were reported on the outskirts of the town. Federal
forces were concerned about the location of small river
steamers used to transport troops and supplies along the St. Johns
MARCH 11, 1861
General Braxton E. Bragg arrives in Pensacola and relieves Major
General William H. Chase of his command of all Confederate
troops in or near the city.
MARCH 11, 1862
The U.S.S. Wabash landed today in St. Augustine. The ship’s
commander, C. R. P. Rodgers, negotiates with city leaders and
occupies Fort Marion and the city. There was no opposition.
MARCH 11, 1862
Two Confederate gunboats under construction in Pensacola Bay have
been burned to prevent their capture by Federal naval forces.
MARCH 11, 1863
Confederate forces attacked Union positions in Jacksonville today
and forced the Federal soldiers to retreat to their gunboats.
Confederate forces penetrated the city as far as the Judson House
Square before retreating. Confederate losses were placed at one man,
lost or killed.
MARCH 11, 1864
Federal naval forces report a great deal of activity today and the
capture of several blockade runner. The U.S.S. San Jacinto
reported the capture of a schooner with a cargo of turpentine and
132 bales of cotton in the Gulf of Mexico, while the U.S.S.
Beauregard reported the capture of the British sloop Hannah
off the coast of Mosquito Inlet. The commander of the
Beauregard, acting in concert with the Federal schooner,
Norfolk Packet, pursued the British schooner, Linda,
up the Indian River Inlet. Although Union forces were forced to take
to the shore when they boat was grounded, the Linda,
lowered its sails and surrendered after shots were fired. The
British vessel was destined for new Smyrna with a cargo of salt,
liquors, coffee, and dry goods.
MARCH 11, 1865.
Mudd set the broken leg of actor John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of
Lincoln. There were serious doubts about his participation in the
conspiracy in 1865 and practically no one today believes that Mudd
was in any way connected to the conspiracy. Dr. Mudd was a distant
relative of noted television correspondent, Roger Mudd.
MARCH 11, 1869
Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned in Fort Jefferson in Florida’s
Dry Tortuguas, was released today after being pardoned by President
Andrew Johnson. Mudd had been convicted of being part of the
conspiracy to kill Federal President Abraham Lincoln
MARCH 12, 1863
According to Confederate pickets outside Jacksonville, Federal
forces occupying the city were reinforced by the arrival of two
Union gunboats today.
MARCH 13, 1863
The U.S.S. Huntsville today seized the British
blockade runner Surprise off the mouth of Charlotte Harbor.
The Surprise was bound for Havana with a cargo of cotton.
MARCH 13, 1864
The U.S.S. Columbine, operating in support of Union troops
moving up the St. Johns River, today captured the Confederate
steamer General Sumter on Lake George. The Confederate
steamer General Sumter was carrying passengers to the
MARCH 13, 1864 Union
forces reported a combined
Confederate force of cavalry, infantry, and artillery was moving
about six miles inland from the town of Palatka.
1863 Confederate intelligence
reported indicated the presence of three Federal regiments in
Jacksonville, two made up of white soldiers and one of Negroes.
These reported also indicate the presence of four to five gunboats
with 25-30 heavy guns. These guns were capable of providing
artillery fire for the Federal land forces throughout the city.
MARCH 15, 1864
Confederate Major General Patton Anderson, the Confederate commander
in Florida, today issued Special Order 8, which calls for the
impressment of 700 slaves for the purpose of constructing defenses
against the Federal forces now occupying Jacksonville.
MARCH 16, 1862
The U.S.S. Oswasco captured two Confederate schooners in the
Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The Eugenia
and the President were carrying cargoes
of cotton. In Richmond, the Confederate Congress passed a resolution
urging that no cotton be planted in the Confederacy this year. The
purpose of this resolution was to put pressure of British textile
manufacturers to force the British government to officially
recognize the Confederacy.
MARCH 16, 1863
The U.S.S. Octorara today reported the capture of two
blockade runners, the Rosalie and the Five
Brothers off the east coast of Florida.
MARCH 16, 1864
The 48th New York Volunteer Infantry, part of the Federal force
occupying Palatka, was attacked today by a small force of
Confederate cavalry. Two federal soldiers were captured.
MARCH 16, 1865
The U.S.S. Pursuit captured the British schooner Mary
today as the British ship attempted to run the blockade at Indian
MARCH 17, 1864
Federal forces occupying Palatka continue to experience probes by
Confederate cavalry units as they anxiously await the arrival of the
Union gunboat, Ottawa, whose weapons will provide
protection for the land forces.
MARCH 19, 1862
General J. H. Trapier was relieved of
command of the Confederate Department of Florida today. He was
replaced temporarily by Colonel W. S. Dilworth. Trapier was ordered
to report for duty on the staff of General Albert Sydney Johnston.
MARCH 19, 1865
Florida troops were fighting under the command of General Joseph E.
Johnston at Bentonville, North Carolina, in an effort to prevent
Federal General William T. Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant from linking
their armies together. Florida units include the 3rd Infantry
Regiment, 4th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Regiment, and the 7th
MARCH 20, 1863
Confederate and Federal forces clashed today in a minor skirmish at
St. Andrew’s Bay.
MARCH 20, 1864
The U.S.S. Tioga captured the Confederate sloop Swallow
off Florida’s east coast today. The sloop had a cargo of cotton,
rosin, and tobacco and was bound for Nassau. Twelve Confederates
MARCH 21, 1862
Two Federal gunboats, the Penquin and the Henry
Andrew, operating in the area around New Smyrna, today attacked
Confederate salt works near Mosquito Inlet.
MARCH 21, 1865
Theodore W. Brevard, in command of the 11th Florida Infantry and
Bonaud’s Battalion, was commissioned a Brigadier General in the
Confederate Army. Brevard was a prominent Florida politician who had
served as the Comptroller of the State from 1855-1860. He also
served from April 3, 1854 until November 27, 1854 in the same
MARCH 22, 1862
The federal gunboats Penquin and Henry Andrews
attempted to land forces at New Smyrna today. Units of the 3rd
Florida Infantry refused to allow them to land. The commanders of
the two ships were killed, along with three enlisted men. The
Confederate forces suffered no losses.
MARCH 22, 1862
A landing party from the Federal ship, the U.S.S.
Mercedita, went ashore at Apalachicola today. They discovered
that the town had been abandoned.
MARCH 22, 1863
The Federal ship U.S.S. Arizona captured the Confederate
sloop Aurelia off Mosquito Inlet today. The
Confederate ship had a cargo of 60 bales of cotton and was bound for
MARCH 24, 1863
William Sherman Jennings, the 18th governor of Florida (1901-1905),
was born today near Walnut Hill, Illinois. [For more information,
see entry for January 8.]
MARCH 25, 1861
The Federal ship, U.S.S. General Rusk, arrived in Key
West today with a complement of 300 men for service at Fort
Jefferson ( Dry Tortugas ) and in the city.
MARCH 25, 1862
A party of Confederate guerillas attacked a Federal picket station
near Jacksonville this morning. One Union soldier was killed, one
severely wounded, three captured, and the remaining two men in the
seven man detail managed to escape.
MARCH 25, 1863
John M. Martin of Florida took his seat today in the Confederate
House of Representatives.
MARCH 25, 1863
The U.S.S. Fort Henry captured the blockade runner
Ranger off the coast of Cedar Key today.
MARCH 25, 1863
Federal soldiers from the Jacksonville garrison advanced to
Three Mile Branch today. After destroying a few miles of railroad
track and burning several houses, they were forced to retreat to the
city when Confederate artillery positions opened fire.
MARCH 25, 1864
In the face of his disastrous defeat at Olustee, Federal General
Truman Seymour received orders to turn his Florida command over to
Union Brigadier General J. P. Hatch.
MARCH 25, 1864
The United States schooner, Stonewall, send a landing
party ashore near Sarasota today. Finding nothing suspicious, the
men returned to the ship, in the afternoon, the Stonewall
anchored near fish houses on the shore by soon withdrew when nothing
suspicious was sighted.
MARCH 26, 1863
Floridians, like most Southerners, reacted angrily today when the
Confederate Congress approved the Impressment Act, which
allowed Confederate tax collectors to impress food and other
articles useful to the Confederacy.
MARCH 27, 1863
The U.S.S. Hendrick Hudson today seized the British schooner
Pacifique at St. mark’s.
MARCH 29, 1862
Federal officers in Jacksonville sent five companies of soldiers to
investigate a report that a large force of Confederates was
in the vicinity of Three Mile Creek. The Union soldiers
determined that a force of nearly 100 Confederates had been the area
earlier today, but had since left.
MARCH 29, 1863
Federal army and naval forces evacuated Jacksonville today. As they
evacuated, Union soldiers set fire to much of the town.
MARCH 30, 1862
Units of the 97th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment were dispatched to
make contact with Confederate forces operating in the vicinity of
MARCH 31, 1862
Federal officers in Jacksonville report the presence of about 2,700
Confederate troops in East Florida.