Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's holiday and that 2008 is a great year for all of us.

I will resume posting after the holiday. Until them, please know that I appreciate all of you and am very appreciative for the blessings I have received this year.

Sincerely,
Dale Cox
www.exploresouthernhistory.com
www.battleofmarianna.net
www.twoeggfla.com

Friday, December 28, 2007

Isaac Adams - 2nd Maine Cavalry

The photograph at right is a rare wartime image of Isaac Adams, an officer in the 2nd Maine Cavalry who was mortally wounded in the Battle of Marianna, Florida on September 27, 1864.

According to eyewitness accounts, Adams was wounded multiple times as his unit charged Confederate cavalry on Lafayette Street in Marianna and was ambushed by local homeguardsmen who had taken positions behind trees, bushes and fenches along the sides of the road.

He was taken to the home of Marianna Mayor Thomas White, where he died in the days following the battle. Adams was buried first at Riverside Cemetery in Marianna, but his remains were eventually relocated to Barrancas National Cemetery near Pensacola.

A monument to him remains at Riverside Cemetery, one of only two that have been erected to Union casualties of the battle in Marianna.

For more information on the Battle of Marianna, visit www.battleofmarianna.net.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!!



Just taking a second here to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2007 has been an interesting year, with its share of challenges and blessings. Thank you all for being a part of it. I hope 2008 is all that you hope it to be.

Here are a couple of my favorite Christmas quotes for you. I hope you enjoy them:

The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
Luke, 2:33-35

Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset....
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Civil War Florida Top Ten (12/22/07)



Here is your weekly list of the ten top selling nonfiction books on the Civil War in Florida according to the data at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/:
  1. The Battle of Marianna, Florida

  2. The Civil War on Pensacola Bay, 1861-1862

  3. Yankee in a Confederate Town

  4. Discovering the Civil War in Florida

  5. Florida in the Civil War

  6. The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida: The Confederate Defense of Tallahassee

  7. Rebel Storehouse: Florida's Contribution to the Confederacy

  8. Stephen Russell Mallory: A Biography

  9. Florida's Lighthouses in the Civil War

  10. The Battle of Olustee, 1864: The Final Union Attempt to Seize Florida

Thank you again to everyone who made The Battle of Marianna, Florida and The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida such successes this year.

All of these books are available at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Books still available before Christmas


If you would like to receive one (or more) of my books by Christmas, I checked this morning and both http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ and http://www.amazon.com/ are still promising delivery by Christmas Eve. They have copies of The Battle of Marianna, Florida, The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida and Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts in stock.


If you are in Northwest Florida, signed copies of the books are available at Chipola River Book and Tea at 4402 Lafayette Street in Downtown Marianna (across the street from the Battle of Marianna monument). As of this morning they still had a few of each in stock.


Thank you again to everyone who has made this a successful year for my writing efforts. Profits from the books are donated to a variety of historic preservation organizations, so you have helped in many ways.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Civil War Florida Top Ten (12/15/07)



Here is your weekly Saturday list of the ten best selling books about the Civil War in Florida according to the data at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/:
  1. The Battle of Marianna, Florida

  2. The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida

  3. The Civil War on Pensacola Bay, 1861-1862

  4. Florida in the Civil War

  5. Discovering the Civil War in Florida: A Reader and Guide

  6. Rebel Storehouse: Florida's Contribution to the Confederacy

  7. Stephen Russell Mallory: A Biography

  8. Florida's Lighthouses during the Civil War

  9. Confederate Florida: The Road to Olustee

  10. The Battle of Olustee, 1864: The Final Union Attempt to Seize Florida

Thank you again to everyone who has helped make my two books, The Battle of Marianna, Florida and The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida, so successful this year. I donate the profits from these volumes to heritage-related organizations and, thanks to you, a number of worthwhile projects have received funding as a result of the success of these volumes.

In addition, you have helped prove that there is a market for detailed histories of smaller historical events. This is very encouraging both to me and other writers who are considering similar projects. Hopefully it will also encourage more traditional publishers of historical work to broaden their horizons a little.

Autographed copies of the books can be purchased online at http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ and, as always, they are available at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/, http://www.amazon.com/, etc. If you are in Northwest Florida, signed copies are also available at Chipola River Book and Tea at 4402 Lafayette Street in downtown Marianna (across the street from the Battle of Marianna monument).

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Florida Monument at Vicksburg, Mississippi


The photograph at right is of the Florida Monument at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Erected in 1954 and funded by the Florida members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the monument is located along the section of the Confederate lines held by Florida troops during the Battle of Vicksburg.
The area of the monument was part of the Vicksburg National Military Park at the time it was placed, but the land has since been turned over to the City of Vicksburg by the National Park Service. Despite the change of ownership, the property is preserved and well maintained.
The monument can be found on Confederate Avenue in Vicksburg. To reach it, follow either the Scenic Drive into town from the Visitor Center on the Mississippi River or turn left on Confederate Avenue up the hill from the entrance to the National Military Park.

The Capture of the Apalachicola Arsenal


This photograph shows another surviving portion of the historic Apalachicola Arsenal in Chattahoochee, Florida. This building, although heavily renovated, incorporates part of the original Gun Carriage Storage facility and exterior wall of the arsenal. The second story of the building is an addition. The photograph was taken from about the location of the west gate of the complex. If you look closely, you can see an "indentation" on the left face of the building where the original arsenal wall connected with the structure.
In January of 1861, the facility at Chattahoochee was the only arsenal in Florida and of critical interest to the state's leaders. On January 2, 1861, Senators Yulee and Mallory of Florida requested a report from the War Department on the condition and inventory of the arsenal. Although the report was prepared, the acting-Secretary of War declined to turn it over to the senators on the grounds of national security.
Although some historians have claimed, apparently without basis, that the arsenal contained 500,000 musket cartridges, 300,000 rifle cartridges and 50,000 pounds of gunpowder on the eve of the Civil War, the actual report reveals the inventory was 173,476 cartridges and 5,122 pounds of powder, along with 57 flintlock muskets and a 6 pounder iron cannon.
On January 5, 1861, prior to the secession of Florida, Governor Madison S. Perry issued secret orders for state militia troops to take possession of the arsenal. The task was assigned to the Quincy Guards, commanded by Captain William Gunn (whose name is sometimes incorrectly stated as "Colonel Dunn" or "Coloney Duryea"). Dunn and his men appeared outside the gates at sunrise on the morning of January 6, 1861, and demanded the surrender of the facility from Ordnance Sergeant Edwin Powell and his three man garrison.
Sgt. Powell debated the issue and refused to turn over the keys to the magazines and armory. Dunn contacted Governor Perry by telegraph for instructions and was told to force the issue. With no means of resisting and unable to contact his own superiors, Powell finally surrendered the keys. Supposedly he told Dunn that had he been in command of a larger garrison, he "would be damned" if the state troops would have ever entered the gates.
Dunn and his men took possession of the arsenal, announcing their bloodless victory by firing the cannon. Local diarists recorded hearing the booming of the gun that morning.
Sgt. Powell and his men went to St. Augustine where, oddly, they were discharged from the U.S. Army by order of the Secretary of War on February 6, 1861. Powell later served in the Confederate army.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Last chance to order autographed copies before Christmas


Today and tomorrow are pretty much the last days to order autographed copies of any of my books before Christmas. After tomorrow, due to mail volume I can't guarantee that they will be received by December 25th.

If you would like an autographed copy, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/dalecox and place your order. Just include a note explaining how you would like the book inscribed.

Copies of all three books - The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida, The Battle of Marianna, Florida, and Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts - are available.

More on the Apalachicola Arsenal - Chattahoochee, Florida

This is the officers' quarters of the Apalachicola Arsenal at Chattahoochee, Florida, as they appear today. The structure is now the Administration Building of the Florida State Hospital. One note, the grounds of the hospital are open to the public but cameras are not allowed without prior permission. This photograph was taken a couple of years ago through the courtesy of the hospital staff.

The officers' quarters and the small structure adjoining it to the left were part of the original quadrangle of the Apalachicola Arsenal at Chattahoochee. The name came from the Apalachicola River, not the city of Apalachicola.

The site for the compound was selected and surveyed in January of 1833 and clearing of the site began that same year. A brick factory was set up in the nearby river bottom and by the end of 1834, more than 1.5 million bricks had been manufactured for the arsenal project. Actual construction began during the spring of 1834 and was completed in 1839. The total cost of the project was $226,932.50 in 19th century dollars.

The facility included the officers' quarters, barracks, workshops, the tower, magazines, storehouses and a shop for constructing artillery carriages and wagons. All of these except the magazines were grouped around the edges of a square, four acre compound. The exterior walls of the structures helped form the outer perimeter of the quadrangle. The buildings were linked by a 9-foot high, 30-inch thick brick wall penetrated by gates on the east and west sides. The external magazines, located a short distance away from the main complex, were surrounded by similar brick walls. A government wharf serving the facility was located at today's Chattahoochee Landing on the Apalachicola River.

On the eve of the Civil War in 1861, the post was garrisoned by Ordnance Sergeant Edwin Powell and a detachment of three men. This left the arsenal extremely exposed at a time when Southern governors were considering moves to take possession of military posts within the limits of their states.

In our next installment on the Apalachicola Arsenal, we will look closer at the capture of the facility by state troops in January of 1861.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More about the Apalachicola Arsenal - Chattahoochee, Florida

This photograph, from an old postcard dating from the the early 20th century, shows the main arsenal building and tower at Chattahoochee, Florida, when they were still standing.

These are the same structures visible in the sketch by the Comte de Castlenau that I posted yesterday. It is generally believed that the large brick building was the "arsenal proper" or main storage facility of the Apalachicola Arsenal. This is the place where weapons were storehoused when the facility was still used as a military depot and was the primary target of the Quincy militia when they took control of the arsenal in January of 1861.

Gunpowder and explosives were stored nearby in a separate vaulted magazine that was separated from the main arsenal compound for reasons of safety.

The purpose of the tower is not entirely clear, but it probably was a "shot tower." These towers were used to mass produce lead musket balls by dropping the molten lead down a shaft leading from the top of the tower to a container of water at the bottom. The lead would form into a round ball as it fell and would cool instantly upon hitting the water.

Neither of these buildings still stand, but several other structures from the old complex can still be identified on the grounds of Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Apalachicola Arsenal - Chattahoochee, Florida


The sketch at right shows the Apalachicola Arsenal as it appeared during the 1840s to the Comte de Castlenau, a visiting French nobleman.
Originally called the Mt. Vernon Arsenal, the name was changed to Apalachicola (after the river) due to confusion originating from the fact that there was also a Mt. Vernon Arsenal in Alabama.
As the sketch shows, the front of the arsenal was dominated by an imposing brick building and tower. This building no longer stands, having been demolished during the 1960s along with most of the connecting wall that is also visible in the sketch. The building at the far left, the officers' quarters, however, still stands and is used today as the Admininistration Building for the Florida State Hospital.
The sketch provides a great idea of how the arsenal appeared in January of 1861 when it was captured by militia troops from Quincy at the order of Governor Madison S. Perry of Florida.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Civil War Florida Top Ten (12/8/07)



Here is your weekly Saturday list of the ten best selling books about the Civil War in Florida according to the data at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/:
  1. The Battle of Natural Bridge Florida: The Confederate Defense of Tallahassee

  2. The Battle of Marianna, Florida

  3. The Civil War on Pensacola Bay, 1861-1862

  4. Rebel Storehouse: Florida's Contribution to the Confederacy

  5. Stephen Russell Mallory

  6. Florida's Lighthouses in the Civil War

  7. The Battle of Olustee, 1864: The Final Union Attempt to Seize Florida

  8. Confederate Florida: The Road to Olustee

  9. Florida in the Civil War

  10. Discovering the Civil War in Florida: A Reader and Guide

Once again, thank you to everyone who has helped to make The Battle of Natural Bridge and The Battle of Marianna so successful. I donate the profits from these books to a number of worthwhile community organizations and your interest has helped in a wide variety of historic preservation efforts.

I didn't include it here, because it isn't completely about the Civil War in Florida, but my other book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts is also doing very well. It includes the stories behind the stories about a number of Northwest Florida legends, including several about the Civil War.

All of the books are available through http://www.barnesandnoble.com/, http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.bamm.com/, http://www.borders.com/, http://www.target.com/, etc., and there is still plenty of time to have them delivered before Christmas.

If you are in Northwest Florida, signed copies are also available at Chipola River Book and Tea at 4402 Lafayette Street in downtown Marianna (across the street from the Battle of Marianna monument).

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day.

Please join me in remembering the hundreds of thousands of American men and women who served in World War II. It was a war that our country did not seek, a war that was fought with enormous sacrifice and a war in which American servicemen and women brought peace and freedom millions.

The sacrifices of our fathers and mothers should never be forgotten.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

St. Joseph Bay, Florida

The photograph at right is of St. Joseph Bay, one of the more beautiful spots on the Northwest Florida coastline. The primary community here, Port St. Joe, was once known as an industrial center because of its paper mill, etc., but the mill is gone now and the area has been reborn as a major resort area.

During the Civil War, the shore of the bay was the location of a number of Confederate saltworks, the remains of some of which can still be seen. A shore party from the U.S.S. Kingfisher destroyed a number of these early in the war and other expeditions by the Union navy carried out similar operations over the following years.

St. Joseph Bay was occasionally used by Confederate blockade runners, prompting the U.S. Navy to routinely keep vessels on patrol off the mouth of the bay.

No major skirmishing took place in the area during the war.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Greenwood Club Cavalry


This fine gentleman was William Henry Cox, my great-grandfather and a member of a little known company of cadets at the academy at Greenwood, Florida, during the final years of the War Between the States.
The cadets originally were students at the academy, but as the possibility of raids into the interior of Northwest Florida increased in late 1863 and early 1864, their teacher - Henry J. Robinson - began providing them with military training. By the spring of 1864, the school boys took on the identity of the Greenwood Club Cavalry.
They fought at the Battle of Marianna on September 27, 1864, as part of Colonel A.B. Montgomery's cavalry forces. Arrayed on the edge of town in a line of battle, they drove back the first Union advance but were themselves pushed back during the second Federal charge.
One member later rememebered how he escaped the overwhelming Union attack by riding his horse through the "dogtrot" or breezeway of a house. Others made it across the Chipola River and were involved in the fighting there as they held back the Federals until they could take up the flooring of the bridge.
William Henry Cox survived the battle and served with his unit until the end of the war. He lived out the rest of his life in eastern Jackson County and was known throughout the Parramore area for the annual Fourth of July picnics he hosted at his home. Most of the members of the Greenwood Club Cavalry never applied for state pensions offered to Confederate veterans. He was among those who did not take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The community of St. Andrew, Florida


This view of St. Andrew Bay was taken from the site of the old village of St. Andrew. Now a part of modern Panama City, the old village was a small coastal resort community prior to the Civil War. Residents of the inland counties used to come here at times of the year to escape the sweltering heat of the plantation district of Florida. The gentle breezes coming off the bay made for a pleasant climate and the scenery was spectacular.
The area was also a popular location for fishing, etc., during the years prior to the war and many early accounts of life in Northwest Florida describe trips down to St. Andrew Bay followed by return trips with wagon loads of fish.
The appearance of Union blockade vessels off the entrances to St. Andrew Bay in 1861 led to a quick abandonment of the resort community, most of which was burned after being shelled by Union warships. By the end of the war, St. Andrew had vanished. In subsequent years, the community came back to life, but this time as Panama City. Today it is one of the major commercial and resort areas on the Florida Gulf Coast.
The old St. Andrew area lay along Beach Drive near Downtown Panama City.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

This Week's Civil War Florida Top Ten (12/1/07)


Here are this week's top ten best selling nonfiction books about the Civil War in Florida at BarnesandNoble.com:


  1. The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida

  2. The Civil War on Pensacola Bay, 1861-1862

  3. Stephen Russell Mallory: Biography

  4. Rebel Storehouse: Florida's Contribution to the Confederacy

  5. The Battle of Marianna, Florida

  6. The Battle of Olustee, 1864: The Final Union Attempt to Seize Florida

  7. Florida's Lighthouses in the Civil War

  8. Confederate Florida: The Road to Olustee

  9. Florida in the Civil War

  10. Discovering the Civil War in Florida

As always, thank you to everyone who has helped make The Battle of Marianna, Florida and The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida successes. The books are available at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/, http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.battleofmarianna.net/.