Sunday, October 5, 2008
The Raid on Marianna - Conclusion
This post will conclude our series on Asboth's raid on Marianna, a key event in the history of the Civil War in Florida.
Although it has often been called a "victory in defeat," the 1864 raid was actually a dramatic success for the Union troops. Other than liberating Union prisoners at Marianna - because there were none - Asboth achieved almost all of his other stated objectives.
The economic damage inflicted was astounding and, based on census data, Jackson, Washington, Holmes and Walton Counties suffered greater economic losses during the war than any other counties in Florida.
More than 600 people were liberated from slavery by the Union troops as they advanced, most of them from farms and plantations in Jackson County. Forty-three African American men from Jackson County volunteered for service in the 82nd and 86th U.S. Colored Infantries as a result of the raid. The total number enlisted in the four counties was the equivalent of a full company of men. A number of Confederate deserters and Southern Unionists also joined the Federals, signing up for service in the 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry.
Total Union losses for the raid were 9 killed (one in an accidental shooting), 19 wounded and 8 captured. The total Federal loss about 4%. By comparison, the Union army at Olustee sustained losses approaching 26.5%.
Total Confederate losses for the raid were 11 killed, 17 wounded and 96 captured. The Confederates sustained a total loss of roughly 38%. The Marianna Home Guard, commanded by Captain Jesse Norwood, sustained a loss of 7 killed, 8 wounded and 24 captured, or more than 50% of the company's total strength.
Of the prisoners taken during the raid, 24 of the 96 Confederates would die in Union prison camps before the end of the war. One of the Union soldiers captured at Marianna died at Andersonville.
The raid is memorialized today only at Marianna. Markers on the grounds of St. Luke's Episcopal Church as well as at the courthouse tell the story of the battle, as do monuments in downtown Marianna and Riverside Cemetery.
If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Marianna and Asboth's raid, please consider my book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida. Click here for ordering information. You can also learn more about the battle by visiting www.battleofmarianna.net.