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This Day In Florida History During the Civil War  

OCTOBER 1861-1865

october 1

OCTOBER 1, 1862 The Federal Expeditionary Force, under the command of Brigadier General John M. Brannan, landed at Mayport Mills on the St. Johns River. The land troops were accompanied by the Union gunboats Paul Jones, Cimarron, Water Witch, Hale, Uneas and Patroon.

OCTOBER 1, 1867 The first post-Civil War voter registration results were filed in Tallahassee. Some 15, 441 African-Americans registered to vote compared to 11,151 whites.

october 2

OCTOBER 2, 1862 - Federal troops landed at Buckhorn Creek, between Pablo and Mount Pleasant Creeks near Jacksonville. Troops under Brigadier General John M. Brannan attacked Confederate emplacements at St. Johns Bluff. Union gunboats were slowly moving up the river, shelling all houses and barns they encountered.

OCTOBER 2, 1863 - A Federal detachment from the gunboat, Port Royal, attacked salt works near St. George’s Sound. Six boilers, two large vats and several kettles were destroyed.

OCTOBER 2, 1864 - The U.S. schooner, O.H. Lee, arrived in Key West today. The schooner was scheduled to take up blockade duty off the coast near St. Mark’s.

october 3

OCTOBER 3, 1862 - The Federal attack on Confederate positions along the St. Johns River was halted because of intelligence that three Georgia regiments were being rushed to reinforce Confederate forces. Confederate forces, evacuated from positions at St. Johns Bluff, arrived by train in Baldwin for reorganization and re-equipping.

october 4

OCTOBER 4, 1862 - The U.S.S. Somerset, under the command of Lieutenant Commander English, attacked Confederate salt works at Depot Key. The landing party from the U.S.S. Somerset was augmented by a strong force from the U.S.S. Tahoma, under the command of Commander John C. Howell. The salt works were destroyed. Salt was recognized as a “strategic material” for the Confederacy.

OCTOBER 4, 1863 - The master of the United States schooner Two Sisters reported that he was unsuccessful in catching a suspected Confederate schooner off the coast of Bayport.

october 5

OCTOBER 5, 1857 - Madison Starke Perry, fourth governor of Florida (October, 1857-October 7, 1861), took the oath of office today in Tallahassee. Perry, elected as a Democrat, had represented Alachua County in the 1850 Florida Senate. Perry’s administration was a busy one that saw the settlement of the boundary dispute with Georgia, the expansion of railroads in the state, and the re-establishment of the Florida militia. Perry was governor when Florida seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861. Perry was succeeded in the governor’s chair by John Milton. Following his tenure as governor, Perry served as the Colonel of the 7th Florida Regiment until illness forced his retirement. He died at his Alachua County plantation in March 1865.

OCTOBER 5, 1861 - Lt. Seton Fleming assumed the position of Adjutant of the 2nd Florida Infantry.

OCTOBER 5, 1862 - The City of Jacksonville was occupied today by Federal forces. The city was practically deserted. Union pickets encountered Confederate cavalry two miles east of the city. Confederate units were camped about 12 miles west of Jacksonville.

OCTOBER 5, 1863 - Major Pleasant W. White, Confederate Commissary Agent for Florida, received a request from General Braxton E. Bragg for Florida cattle to feed the Army of Tennessee. (The White Papers are in the Tebeau Collection at the Library of Florida History in Cocoa.)

october 6

OCTOBER 6, 1862 - Floridians were voting today for state offices (Senate and House of Representatives) under the new Confederate Constitution of Florida.

OCTOBER 6, 1863 - The sloop, Last Trial, which had sought shelter in Key West because of heavy weather, was searched by Federal officials and 26 sacks of salt discovered on board. With no cargo manifest and no flag on board, the sloop was declared a blockade runner (a fact admitted by the sole crewman on board) and a prize of war. Her captain, George Elliot, was arrested in Key West.

OCTOBER 6, 1864 - Lieutenant W. P. Randall of the Federal bark, Restless, reported that men from his ship destroyed salt works at St. Andrews Bay--fifty boilers, 90 kettles, 31 wagons, 500 cords of wood, and 150 buildings of various kinds.

october 7

OCTOBER 7, 1861 - Madison Starke Perry (see October 5 entry) turned the reins of state government over to Governor John Milton, the fifth governor of Florida (October 7, 1861-April 1, 1865) Milton, who was born on April 20, 1807, in Jefferson County, Georgia, was a lawyer who practiced in Georgia, Alabama, and New Orleans before coming to Florida as the captain of a volunteer company in the Seminole War. In 1846, he moved to Jackson County. In politics, Milton was an powerful Democrat and an ardent states’ righter. In 1850, Milton was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.

An early secessionist, Milton was instrumental in leading Florida out of the Union (3rd southern state to do so) and he encouraged Governor Perry to seize Federal military establishments in the state.

During the Civil War, Milton cooperated with Confederate authorities, unlike some other southern governors. He worked with Commissary Agent Pleasant W. White to forward Florida cattle and salt to Confederate armies.

When the Confederacy collapsed, Milton retired to his home near Marianna, and, on April 1, 1865, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. In his last statement to the Florida Legislature, he stated that “...death would be preferable to reunion.”

OCTOBER 7, 1862 - A Federal army transport captured the Governor Milton on the St. Johns River near Enterprise.

OCTOBER 7, 1864 - The C.S.S. Florida was seized today by the U.S.S. Wachusetts in Bahia Harbor, Brazil, after a surprise attack while the Confederate ship was at anchor under the protection of the Brazilian government. The U.S.S. Wachusetts was under the command of Commander Napoleon Collins, whose defiance of international law and the expressed prohibitions of the Brazilian government led to his eventual court-martial and dismissal from the Union Navy. Secretary Sumner Welles, however, restored Collins to his command. Brazilian protests over this blatant violation of international law continued until 1866.

october 8

OCTOBER 8, 1862 - Confederate forces under General Braxton E. Bragg engaged a Union army under the command of General Don Carlos Buell outside Perryville, Kentucky ( Chaplin Hills ). Despite the fact that neither army commander was aware of the importance of this battle and never committed all of their resources to the fight, the Battle of Perryville ended the Confederate invasion of Kentucky. Union forces were 37,000 strong, while the Confederate army had a strength of only 16,000. Union casualties were 845 killed; 2,851 wounded; and 515 missing. Confederate casualties were 519 killed; 2,635 wounded; and 251 missing. Florida units involved in the Battle of Perryville were the Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment and the Florida 1st Cavalry Regiment.

OCTOBER 8, 1863 - Union Brigadier General Alexander Asboth was named to command of Federal forces in West Florida.

october 9

OCTOBER 9, 1861 - Federal forces on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola were scattered in a surprise raid by Confederate troops.

OCTOBER 10, 1862 -  A Court of Inquiry, directed by Captain Wilkinson Call, today decided that Lieutenant Colonel Charles F. Hopkins was not guilty of dereliction of duty in regard to the evacuation of the St. Johns Bluff position on October 2, 1862.

OCTOBER 9, 1863 - The Union schooner, Two Sisters, set sail from Cedar Key after spending three days making repairs to its sail.

october 10

OCTOBER 10, 1861 - General Edmund Kirby Smith, a native of St. Augustine, was named to command the Confederate districts of Middle and Eastern Florida.

OCTOBER 10, 1863 - The Federal schooner Two Sisters turned a small boat carrying two men back to the shore while on patrol duty off the coast of Bayport.

october 11

OCTOBER 11, 1861 - Confederate forces in Tampa captured two sloops, the William Batty and the Lyman Dudley, both home based in Key West, and thirteen sailors who were made prisoners and taken to Fort Brooke.

OCTOBER 11, 1862 - Federal forces evacuated the City of Jacksonville today and returned to Hilton Head, SC.

october 12

OCTOBER 12, 1861 - The U.S.S. Dale, under the command of Commander Edward M. Yard, captured the schooner Specie off the coast of Jacksonville with a large cargo of rice.

OCTOBER 12, 1864 - Union troops, operating from Jacksonville, moved south along the eastern bank of the St. Johns River, laying waste to orange groves.

OCTOBER 12, 1864 - Federal Rear Admiral Cornelius K. Stribling arrived in Key West to assume command of the East Coast Blockading Squadron.

october 13

OCTOBER 13, 1861 - The U.S.S. Keystone State captured the Confederate steamer Salvor near the Dry Tortugas Islands with a cargo of cigars, coffee, and munitions.

OCTOBER 13, 1862 - Union troops occupying St. Augustine were described by the Savannah (GA) Republican as being respectful of the local population and were commended for supplying the city’s poor with rations from Federal warehouses.

OCTOBER 13, 1863 - The U.S.S. Two Sisters was on a reconnaissance mission near Clearwater. The Union gunboat Tahoma joined the other Federal ships (Adela, Stonewall Jackson, and Ariel) on blockade duty at the mouth of Tampa Bay.

october 14

OCTOBER 14, 1861 - Confederate General Braxton E. Bragg assumed command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida today.

OCTOBER 14, 1862 - Throughout Florida efforts were underway to collect used clothing suitable for Virginia winters and funds to purchase the material that cannot be acquired through donations to equip Florida troops for the upcoming winter in the Army of Northern Virginia.

OCTOBER 14, 1863 - The 8th Florida Infantry Regiment participated today in the Battle of Bristoe Station when General A. P. Hill’s corps struck the retreating rear units of Union General George Meade’s Army of the Potomac. Although Hill’s assault disrupted the Union retreat, it did not break their lines and Meade was able to prepare defensive positions around Centreville, VA. Lieutenant Colonel William Baya of the 8th Florida was listed among the wounded.

october 15

OCTOBER 15, 1862 - Crews from the U.S.S. Fort Henry , operating on the Apalachicola River, captured the Confederate sloop, G. L. Brockenborough, with a cargo of cotton.

OCTOBER 15, 1863 - The U.S.S. Honduras captured the British steamer, Mail, near St. Petersburg. On board were 176 bales of cotton, six barrels of turpentine, and about $2,500. The capture of the Mail followed a three-hour chase by the U.S.S. Honduras, which was assisted by three other Union ships--the U.S.S. Two Sisters, the Sea Bird, and the Fox. It was reported that the Union Navy now has thirty-three ships in its East Gulf Blockading Squadron, based in Key West.

OCTOBER 15, 1864 - A column of Federal troops raided orange groves south of Jacksonville and east of the St. Johns River. More than 300 barrels of oranges were captured. Some of the oranges were distributed to Union troops in the area, and the remainder were shipped to the Union stronghold at Hilton Head, SC.

october 16

OCTOBER 16, 1861 - Confederate Major W. L. L. Bowen, commander of Fort Brooke (Tampa), ordered the two sloops captured recently (see entry for October 11) to be turned over to the Confederate naval commissioner as legal prizes of war.

OCTOBER 16, 1863 - The U.S.S. Tahoma and the U.S.S. Adela were ordered to seize two Confederate blockade- runners, the Scottish Chief (owned by Tampa resident James MacKay) and the Kate Dale. The Union plan was to shell the town and Fort Brooke and, under the cover of darkness, to send men ashore to destroy the blockaderunners. The citizens of Tampa held an emergency meeting to form a military company to defend the city against the Union forces. Confederate troops from the 2nd Florida Infantry Battalion were on hand to help repel the Federal invasion.

october 17

OCTOBER 17, 1863 - The Union ships, Adela and Tahoma, shelled Tampa today. A number of casualties were inflicted. On land, Federal troops reached the Hillsborough River at about 6:00 a.m. Sighting the Scottish Chief and the Kate Dale, they set both ships on fire. The Scottish Chief had a cargo of 156 bales of cotton, while the Kate Dale carried 11 bales. Confederate forces, under the command of Captain James Westcott, attacked the Federals later in the evening and killed five soldiers, wounded ten, and took seven prisoner. Confederate losses were not reported.

OCTOBER 17, 1863 - The famed “Cow Cavalry” continued its roundup of cattle in the Tampa region for movement to Confederate troops in Virginia and Tennessee.

october 18

OCTOBER 18, 1863 - Federal soldiers wounded in yesterday’s skirmish near Tampa were evacuated to the lighthouse on Egmont Key. In a display of 19th century gallantry, Confederate Captain James Westcott, who commanded the successful action against the Federals, informed the Union soldiers that their dead would be buried with full military honors in Tampa.

OCTOBER 18, 1864 - Approximately 200 Federal soldiers from Fort Barrancas in Pensacola attacked a small group of Confederate cavalry in Milton. One Union soldier was killed and several others wounded. There is no record of Confederate losses.

october 19

OCTOBER 19, 1863 - The Chief Commissary officer for General Braxton E. Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, Major J. F. Cummings, today appealed to Florida Commissary Agent Major Pleasant W. White for more Florida cattle for Confederate soldiers fighting in northern Georgia. He informed White that “Captain Townsend, assistant commissary of subsistence, having a leave of absence for thirty days from the Army of Tennessee, I have prevailed on him to see you and explain to you my straightened condition and the imminent danger of our army suffering for want of beef.” (For more information about this subject, see Robert A. Taylor, Rebel Storehouse: Florida in the Confederate Economy (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995, p. 162.)

OCTOBER 19, 1864 - Federal raiders, operating along the shores of Escambia Bay, confiscated approximately 1,500 bricks, several doors, and a large amount of window sash for use on Federal fortifications/buildings in the Pensacola area.

An expedition made up of men from the U.S.S. Stars and Stripes made its way up the Ocklockonee River in West Florida. Today and tomorrow, this expedition destroyed an extensive Confederate fishery on Marsh’s Island and captured a detachment of Confederate soldiers assigned to guard the fishery.

october 20

OCTOBER 20, 1863 - The U.S. tender Annie captured the British blockade runner Martha Jane near Bayport. On board was a cargo of 26,609 pounds of sea island cotton, $1,206.88 in gold, silver and U.S. currency, and $127.70 in Confederate money.

OCTOBER 20, 1863 - The Confederate schooner Ann of Nassau and another small sloop were captured with cargoes of sea island cotton near Bayport as well.

OCTOBER 20, 1863 - Major J. F. Cummings, Chief Commissary for the Army of Tennessee, continued to press Major Pleasant W. White for more beef for troops in North Georgia. “The army is to-day on half rations of beef and I fear within a few days will have nothing but bread to eat. This is truly a dark hour with us, and I cannot see what is to be done. All that is left for us to do is to do all we can, and then we will have a clear conscience, no matter what the world may say.” (For more information about this subject, see Robert A. Taylor, Rebel Storehouse: Florida in the Confederate Economy (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995, p. 162.)

OCTOBER 20, 1864 - The U.S. Navy Department ordered the U.S.S. San Jacinto to report to Key West for blockade duty.

october 21

OCTOBER 21, 1863 - The U.S. bark Gem of the Sea captured a small sloop with four men and a single barrel of turpentine. One of the men was Richard Maiers, the former marshal of Key West.

OCTOBER 21, 1864 - The U.S.S. Sea Bird, under the command of Ensign E. L. Robbins, captured the blockade running British schooner Lucy off Anclote Keys. The Lucy was carrying an assortment of cargo.

OCTOBER 21, 1864 - Confederate and Union troops skirmished today at Bryant’s Plantation in northern Florida.

october 22

OCTOBER 22, 1863 - Commander A.A. Semmes of the U.S.S. Tahoma communicated with Captain James Westcott at Fort Brooke in an unsuccessful effort to have the family of Acting Master’s Mate H. A. Crane released.

october 23

OCTOBER 23, 1863 - The U.S.S. Norfolk Packet, under the command of Acting Ensign George W. Wood, captured the schooner Ocean Bird off St. Augustine Inlet.

OCTOBER 23, 1863 - Lieutenant Ball of Dunham’s Artillery (Florida Milton Light Artillery, Battery A, Artillery) was killed today in a fight at Cathey’s Hotel in Lake City. His killer was J. A. Pickett.

october 24

OCTOBER 24, 1861 - The U.S.S. Rhode Island, under the command of Lieutenant Stephen D. Trenchard, captured the schooner Aristides off Charlotte Harbor.

OCTOBER 24, 1864 - The U.S.S. Nita, under the command of Acting Lieutenant Robert B. Smith, captured the schooner Unknown off Clearwater Harbor after her crew had escaped.

OCTOBER 24, 1864 - The U.S.S. Rosalie, under the command of Acting Ensign Henry W. Wells, captured an unidentified blockade running sloop off Little Marco Island with a cargo of salt and shoes.

OCTOBER 24, 1864 - On land, skirmishes broke out between Confederate and Union forces near Magnolia, Fl. Florida units participating were the Florida 2nd Cavalry and the Florida 5th Cavalry Battalion. Cavalry, under the command of J. J. Dickinson, killed ten of the fifty-five Union troops, wounded eight, and took twenty-three prisoners. There were no Confederate casualties.

october 25

OCTOBER 25, 1864 - A detachment of 600 Union troops left Fort Barrancas in Pensacola and attacked the town of Milton. Nine Confederates were taken prisoner. Several soldiers on both sides were wounded. The Federal troops captured a small quantity of lumber and timber. The ferry crossing across the river was destroyed by the troops.

OCTOBER 25, 1865 - The Florida Ordinance of Secession was annulled by a special Constitutional Convention mandated by Andrew Johnson on this date.

october 26

OCTOBER 26, 1861 - The Confederate Department of Middle and Eastern Florida was defined as extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Choctawhatchee River.

OCTOBER 26, 1863 - The U.S.S. Two Sisters returned to Cedar Key today after a cruise along the Gulf Coast.

october 27

OCTOBER 27, 1819 - Henry Bradley Plant, pioneer developer of railroads on Florida’s west coast and the founder of the Plant System of railroads and steamships, was born in Branford, CT. During the Civil War, Plant was the southern manager for Adams Express Company, which he renamed the Southern Express Company. Plant’s services were considered so valuable to the Confederate government during the war that he was excused from the requirement that he become a Confederate citizen. After the war, Plant began to assembled the Plant System in the South. In Florida, the Plant System ran from Jacksonville to Palatka and Sanford. Ultimately the Plant System stretched to Tampa and points south. By 1895, Plant had more than 1,400 miles of railroads under his control and about 1,300 miles of steamer routes. See Edward A. Mueller, Steamships of the Two Henrys (DeLeon Springs: E. O. Painter Printing Company, 1996).

october 28

OCTOBER 28, 1862 - The U.S.S. Sagamore, under the command of Lieutenant Commander George A. Bigelow, captured the British blockade running steamer Trier off the coast of the Indian River Inlet. The U.S.S. Montgomery seized the blockade running steamer Caroline off the coast of Pensacola.

OCTOBER 28, 1862 - Union soldier surprised a detachment of Confederate cavalry at Gonzalia (about 20 miles north of Pensacola) early this morning. All but nine of the Confederates were killed or captured.

OCTOBER 28, 1865 - A constitutional convention, called at the direction of President Andrew Johnson and Provisional Governor William Marvin, met today in Tallahassee to write a new state constitution as a condition for readmission into the Union. The constitution, which was to become effective on November 7 without a vote of the citizens, never became effective because President Johnson lost control of the process of Reconstruction to Congressional Republicans.

october 29

OCTOBER 29, 1864 - Brigadier General William S. Walker of Florida assumed command of Confederate troops in Weldon, VA.

OCTOBER 29, 1864 - C.S.S. Olustee, formerly the C.S.S. Tallahassee and under the command of Lieutenant William H. Ward, eluded Union blockaders off the coast of Wilmington today to begin a nine-day cruise against Union shipping in the Atlantic.

october 30

OCTOBER 30, 1862 - Fearing what impact the Union occupation of the Fernandina-Jacksonville-St. Augustine area might have on the slave population of North Florida, Confederate General Finegan authorized Captain J. J. Dickinson and his Cavalry to assemble free blacks and slaves with no owners present and to move them to the interior of the state where they could be placed in the charge of some responsible white person.

OCTOBER 30, 1863 - The U.S.S. Annie, under the command of Acting Ensign Williams, seized the blockade-running British schooner, Meteor, off the coast of Bayport, Florida, today.

october 31

OCTOBER 30, 1861 - Governor John Milton reported to Confederate authorities at Richmond that Union gunboats had captured the ship, Salvor, owned and commanded by James McKay of Tampa, near Key West with a cargo of “21,000 stands of arms, 10 boxes of revolvers, six rifled cannon, and ammunition.”