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This Day In Florida History During the Civil War  

SEPTEMBER 1861-1865

september 1

SEPTEMBER 1, 1862 - Major General Edmond Kirby Smith, a native of St. Augustine, proclaimed this day as a day of prayer and thanksgiving for the men in his command. Kirby Smith was in command of Confederate forces in Kentucky.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1863 - The Marion Light Artillery was assigned to the Army of Tennessee as part of the reserve artillery in General Simon Buckner’s corps. This unit, first commanded by Captain John M. Martin, had been assigned to Triggs’ Brigade, Department of East Tennessee, prior to this reassignment. The Marion Artillery would fight through the Atlanta campaign with the Army of Tennessee.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1864 - An excerpt from the civil war diary of Hiram Smith Williams, who settled in Rockledge in 1872 and who served two terms as a state senator in the 1880s. Williams was a member of the 40th Alabama Regiment and was a combat engineer during the Atlanta Campaign.

    "The great struggle is over. Atlanta is being incinerated. Our [General Stephen D. Lee’s] Corps was put in motion early this morning to march towards the city and cover the retreat of Stewart’s Corps while [General William J.] Hardee was left at Jonesboro to hold the forces there in check. The troops are already demoralized and such straggling I never saw before. Proceeded to within five miles of Atlanta where we camped. Stewart’s Corps is busy destroying stores in the city and report says will leave to-night. Well I am heartily glad of it and if it had been evacuated six weeks ago it would have been better."

Lewis N. Wynne and Robert A. Taylor (Editors), This War So Horrible: The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press)

september 2

SEPTEMBER 2, 1861 - Today a small Union raiding party from Ft. Pickens crossed Pensacola Bay and set a million dollar drydock that General Braxton E. Bragg had ordered moved from the Naval Yard.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1862 - W. Fisher of Tallahassee issued a call for a new company of infantry to be organized in Middle Florida. This company will be made up exclusively of men over thirty-five years of age.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1863 - The U.S.S. DeSoto has been ordered to assume a blockading position in the Gulf of Mexico. This order was given by Federal Admiral T. Bailey, the commander of the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1864 - An excerpt from the civil war diary of Hiram Smith Williams, who settled in Rockledge in 1872 and who served two terms as a state senator in the 1880s. Williams was a member of the 40th Alabama Regiment and was a combat engineer during the Atlanta Campaign. The people of the entire Confederacy watched the scenario being played out in Atlanta.

    “Retreated towards McDonough, Billie McMullen [and] myself concluded we would straggle some and try [and] get something fresh [and] good to eat. Took a road running parallel with the McDonough road and had the good fortune to get a good dinner and excellent supplies. Our supplies consisted of good biscuit, milk, butter, honey and pies. We done it ample justice as the reader of these pages may depend. We overtook the Division after dark [and] camped in a pine thicket.”

“Indications of rain.”

Lewis N. Wynne and Robert A. Taylor (Editors), This War So Horrible: The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press)

september 3

SEPTEMBER 3, 1862 - Major General O. M. Mitchell was named to command the Federal Department of the South, which included territory held by Union forces in and around Fernandina, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine.

september 4

SEPTEMBER 4, 1862 The U.S.S. William G. Anderson captured the Confederate schooner, CSS Theresa, in the Gulf of Mexico. The CSS Theresa was carrying a cargo of salt and other commodities.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1863 The 9th Florida Infantry regiment, under the command of Colonel John M. Martin and Executive Officer Major Pickens B. Bird, was mustered into the Confederate army today.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1864 An excerpt from the civil war diary of Hiram Smith Williams, who settled in Rockledge in 1872 and who served two terms as a state senator in the 1880s. Williams was a member of the 40th Alabama Regiment and was a combat engineer during the Atlanta Campaign. The people of the entire Confederacy watched the scenario being played out in Atlanta.

    “At last, I hope we have a little resting spell. We are near Jonesboro and the enemy has fallen back towards Atlanta.”

    “We are camped in a very good country and I anticipate some good foraging here, as honey and mutton is plenty. Also plenty of sugar cane and some sweet potatoes, just getting in eating order.”

    “Have fixed up a very good camp and don’t care if we remain here a month or two or as long as the war lasts. Brought in a fine bee hive to-night. 40 lbs of excellent honey.”

    Lewis N. Wynne and Robert A. Taylor (Editors), This War So Horrible: The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press)

september 5

september 6

SEPTEMBER 6, 1862 - Confederate General Joseph Finegan brought his troops to Jacksonville prior to crossing the St. John’s River and establishing artillery positions on St. John’s Bluff. These guns would be the target of Union gunboats on September 11.

SEPTEMBER 6, 1864 - The U.S.S. Proteus, under the command Commander Schufeldt, captured the blockade-running British schooner, Ann Louisa, in the Gulf of Mexico.

september 7

september 8

SEPTEMBER 8, 1862 A landing party from the U.S.S. Kingfisher destroyed Confederate salt works at St. Joseph’s Bay, Florida, that could produce some 200 bushels a day.

september 9

september 10

SEPTEMBER 10, 1862 The gunboat, U.S.S. Union, left Jacksonville this morning to check out rumors that Confederate troops under the command of General Joseph Finegan had located artillery batteries at St. John’s Bluff, effectively closing the St. John’s River to Federal transit. At about 8:00 p.m., the Union fired at the suspected battery location, but the Confederates did not return fire. The Federal gunboat anchored in the river to await further action.

SEPTEMBER 10, 1864 The U.S.S. Magnolia captured the steamer Matagorda, which was carrying a full load of cotton, in the Gulf of Mexico. The steamer was towed into Key West.

september 11

SEPTEMBER 11, 1862 A landing party from the U.S.S. Sagamore attacked salt works at St. Andrew’s Bay, Florida.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1862 Confederate cannoneers dueled the Federal gunboat, Union, at St. John’s Bluff today. The Florida Milton Light Artillery, under the command of Captain Joseph L. Dunham, hoped to block the upper reaches of the St. John’s River from Federal access. After a considerable duel that lasted four-and-one-half hours, the Union, now assisted by a second gunboat the U.S.S. Patroon, was forced to withdraw after suffering some damage. Also included in the battle were troops from the 1st Florida Special Infantry Regiment and the Florida 2nd Infantry Battalion.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1864 Union General Alexander Asboth, headquartered in Pensacola, reported today that Confederate forces under the command of a Colonel Montgomery were fortifying Marianna and other small outposts in Northwest Florida.

september 12

SEPTEMBER 12, 1862 The landing party from the U.S.S. Sagamore spent today destroying the heavy wrought iron boilers of the salt works at St. Andrews Bay. To the east, Confederate General Joseph Finegan ordered artillery reinforcements to bolster the Florida Milton Light Artillery entrenched at St. John’s Bluff.

SEPTEMBER 12, 1863 The captain of the U.S.S. Stars and Stripes reported an unsuccessful attack on the Confederate steamer Spray up the St. marks River. Two Confederate sailors were captured. In the Gulf of Mexico, the Confederate steamer, Alabama, was captured by three Federal ships, the San Jacinto, the Tennessee, and the Eugenie.

september 13

SEPTEMBER 13, 1861 The Washington County Invincibles were inducted into Confederate service as Company H, 4th Florida Infantry regiment. The soldiers will be stationed at Fernandina.

SEPTEMBER 13, 1863 The U.S.S. DeSoto captured the British steamer, Montgomery, today after a nine hour chase in the Gulf of Mexico south of Pensacola.

september 14

SEPTEMBER 14, 1861 The Confederate schooner, Judah, was burned by Federal troops at Pensacola Bay.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1862 Richard Keith Call, third (1836) and fifth (1841) Territorial governor of Florida, died on this date at his Leon County plantation, “The Grove.”

september 15

SEPTEMBER 15, 1861 Confederate Brigadier General John B. Grayson embarks on an inspection trip of the defenses along the West Coast, at St. Marks, Apalachicola, Cedar Key and Tampa.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1862 Confederate troops under Brigadier J. Finegan continue to hold their position at St. John’s Bluff despite repeated attempts to dislodge them.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1863 A Federal gunboat, Two Sisters, shelled the town of Bayport today. A large cotton warehouse and a Confederate steamer were destroyed.

september 16

SEPTEMBER 16, 1863 The U.S.S. San Jacinto, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Ralph Chandler, seized the Confederate blockade-runner, Lizzie Davis, off the west coast of Florida. She had been bound from Havana to Mobile with a cargo that included quantities of lead.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1864 An expedition from the U.S.S. Ariel, with Acting Master Russell in command, captured over 4,000 pounds of cotton in the vicinity of Tampa Bay.

september 17

SEPTEMBER 17, 1862 Today the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War was fought at Antietam (Sharpsburg), Maryland. George B. McClellan, the Union commander, possessed superior forces, but failed to effectively marshal his overwhelming forces against the Confederate Army under the command of Robert E. Lee. The first day’s battle ended with the Confederate Army stopping five major Federal attacks, although at a high price. When the day ended, Southern forces still held their position and would hold them until the night of September 18-19, 1862. The Federal losses were put at 2,010 killed, 9,416 wounded, and 1,043 missing (out of a total force of 75,000). Lee’s losses were estimated at 2,700 killed, 9,024 wounded, and 2,000 missing (out of 40,000). The following Florida units were involved in the Confederate effort at Antietam: Florida 2nd Infantry Regiment, Florida 5th Infantry Regiment, Florida 8th Infantry Regiment.

SEPTEMBER 17, 1862  At St. John’s Bluff near Jacksonville, there was a small skirmish between Confederate and Union troops.

SEPTEMBER 18, 1862 Despite reinforcements of more than 12,000 soldiers and the presence of 24,000 fresh troops, who had seen no action in yesterday’s battle, Union General George B. McClellan refused to attack the much smaller Confederate army under General Robert E. Lee. Lee withdrew his forces from Antietam (Sharpsburg) late tonight and early tomorrow. The first Confederate invasion of the North had been stopped.

SEPTEMBER 18, 1863 - Confederate General Braxton E. Bragg (Army of Tennessee) made the opening move in the Battle of Chickamauga campaign when he moved most of his forces out of Ringgold, Georgia, into Tennessee. Skirmishes broke out all along the line separating Union and Confederate positions. Florida units which participated in this epic battle were: Florida Marion Artillery, Florida 1st Cavalry Regiment, Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry regiment, Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment, Florida 4th Infantry Regiment, Florida 6th Infantry Regiment & the Florida 7th Infantry Regiment. The first full day of fighting would commence tomorrow.

september 19

SEPTEMBER 19, 1862 Robert E. Lee continued the evacuation of his Army of Northern Virginia from Maryland following the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg).

SEPTEMBER 19, 1863 Confederate General Braxton E. Bragg and Union General William S. Rosecrans started the process of “feeling out” each other’s positions. The Battle of Chickamauga officially began with the initial conflict between troops of Union General George H. Thomas and those of Confederate cavalry leader, General Nathan Bedford Forrest, which were operating as dismounted cavalry. General James Longstreet and his forces from Virginia reinforced General Bragg tonight.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1863 - This was the second day of the Battle of Chickamauga. Confederate forces under the command of General Braxton E. Bragg earned a tactical victory over the forces of Union General William S. Rosecrans. Union General George H. Thomas’s staunch defense of Snodgrass Hill earned him the nickname, “Rock of Chickamauga.” Union forces withdraw toward Chattanooga.

Casualty figures were:

Union--Total forces 58,000 , 1,657 killed , 9,756 wounded , 4,757 missing

Confederate--Total forces 66,000 , 2,312 killed , 14,674 wounded , 1,468 missing

september 20

september 21

SEPTEMBER 21, 1863 The Army of Tennessee, under the command of General Braxton E. Bragg, pursued retreating Union forces to the city of Chattanooga. Deciding not to assault the city itself, Bragg established siege positions around the city. This siege continued throughout September and into November.

september 22

SEPTEMBER 22,1862 - Floridians reacted to the news that President Abraham Lincoln had issued an emancipation proclamation that will become effective on 1 January 1863. The proclamation freed all slaves in areas opposing the United States, but had little practical impact.

SEPTEMBER 22,1863 The commander of the U.S.S. DeSoto pursued the Leviathan, a Union ship that had been commandeered by Confederates and put to sea in the Gulf of Mexico. The chase extended thirty-five miles into the Gulf.

SEPTEMBER 22,1864 Despite the recommendation of Major General Sam Jones, the Confederate War Department today rejected the promotion of Captain J. J. Dickinson to major. The reason given was “...there is no position known to which he could be appointed.”

september 23

SEPTEMBER 23, 1863 Union General Alexander Asboth and 700 mounted troops attacked the village of Eucheanna in North Florida. The raiding column then struck a hastily prepared Confederate fortification at Marianna, the county seat of Jackson County. Marianna was plundered. 81 prisoners were taken, 200 horses and 400 cattle were rounded up, and 600 Negro slaves were impressed. Asboth and the Federal troops abandoned Marianna that night and returned to Pensacola with their spoils.

september 24

september 25

SEPTEMBER 25,1861 The Bartow Artillery was ordered to Brunswick, GA, today by Acting Confederate Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin. Confederate authorities were fearful of Union raids along the coast of South Georgia and North Florida.

SEPTEMBER 25,1864 Union General Alexander Asboth continued his movement through the Florida Panhandle. Latest Confederate reported were that he crossed the Choctawhatchee River today and was proceeding toward Marianna where Confederate forces under Colonel [?] Montgomery was preparing to defend the town. Marianna where Confederate forces under Colonel [?] Montgomery was preparing to defend the town.

september 26

SEPTEMBER 26, 1861 The U.S. Vice-Consul General in Havana alerted the commander of the Union Naval Base at Key West that two Confederate steamers, the Sumter and the Bamberg, suspected of being blockade-runners, took on cargo and coal in the West Indies.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1864 Colonel Montgomery organized the “Cradle to the Grave Company” into a defensive force at Marianna. The “Cradle to the Grave Company” was composed of youngsters under sixteen years of age and of older men fifty years of age and older. Opposing this force was approximately 700 Union troops under the command of General Alexander Asboth.

september 27

SEPTEMBER 27, 1863 The U.S.S. Clyde, under the command of Acting Master A.A. Owens, seized the schooner, Amaranth, near the Florida Keys. The schooner was carrying a cargo of 11,000 cigars and 200 boxes of sugar. The U.S.S. Para arrived today in Fernandina to repair damage done to her masts while on patrol duty off Mosquito Inlet. Mosquito Inlet was the scene of a Union naval attack just a few days earlier. The settlement there was destroyed and several sloops and schooners were burned.

SEPTEMBER 27, 1864 Union forces under General Alexander Asboth attacked the hastily prepared Confederate defenses at Marianna today. The following description of the action was offered by William Watson Davis in Civil War Reconstruction in Florida (New York: Columbia University, 1913), pp. 311-312.

“The raiders come up rapidly. They sweep aside the barricade with artillery and follow this with a determined charge by the 2nd Maine Cavalry. The Confederate force breaks up. Some flee through the town for the Chipola River beyond. Some take refuge in the Episcopal church near the barricade and continue the fight from its windows. A torch is thrown against the church. It took fire. As it occupants rush from the burning building they are shot down and fall amid the gravestones of the churchyard. Some of the boys are burned to death in the church. At the bridge across the Chipola a desperate resistance beats back the Federal advance. Marianna is plundered. 84 prisoners are taken, 200 horses, 600 negroes, and 400 cattle. The Federal loss is not recorded. That night the Federal column quits Marianna on its return march to Pensacola. The prisoners and movable booty are carried along.”

september 28

SEPTEMBER 28, 1863 Casualty reported from the Battle of Chickamauga reported that of the 400 Floridians who participated in the action, 284 were killed, wounded, or missing.

september 29

september 30

SEPTEMBER 30, 1863 The United States bark, Gem of the Sea, captured the British schooner, Director, near Sanibel today. The schooner was carrying a cargo of salt and rum.

The United States schooner, Two Sisters, arrived at Tampa Bay today, bringing mail and supplies for the U.S.S. Adela.