Saturday, January 31, 2009
Grave of James Love, 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry
This is the grave of James Love at Point Washington, Florida. A private in Company C, 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry, Love was a key figure in the Battle of Marianna.
Born in Georgia, he grew up on the plantation of Mrs. Susan Ming just east of Marianna. Ming operated a large farm and water-powered mill on Spring Creek (now Merritt's Mill Pond) near Blue Spring. She was neighbor to such prominent Jackson County planters as John Milton, Florida's Confederate governor.
As a youth, in fact, Love was a friend of William Henry Milton, a son of the governor. Milton later became the major of the 5th Florida Cavalry and served at both the Battle of Marianna and Battle of Natural Bridge.
On February 24, 1864, however, Love appeared in Pensacola and volunteered for service in the 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry, a Union regiment being formed of Southern Unionists and Confederate deserters at Fort Barrancas. According to the 19th century diary and autobiographical manuscript of Dr. Charles Hentz, whose brother Thaddeus was wounded at captured during the Battle of Marianna, James Love served as the guide for General Alexander Asboth during the raid on Marianna.
A battalion of troopers from the 1st Florida U.S., including Love's company, took part in the raid and fought at Marianna. Based on the Union movements prior to and during the battle, the Union general was clearly guided by someone familiar with the little known back roads and trails of Northwest Florida. Although Dr. Hentz was the only known writer to identify Love by name, several other witnesses described Asboth's guide as a "young man born and raised in the community."
Love deserted from the 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry in the months after the Battle of Marianna, but rejoined his regiment once again and served with it until it was disbanded during the winter of 1865.
You can learn more about the Battle of Marianna at http://www.battleofmarianna.net/.