Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Captain Amos and his Confederate Horse Navy

Waterfront at Milton, Florida
Capt. Amos's Departure Point
Much has been written, with good cause, about Nathan Bedford Forrest's seizure of a steamboat in Tennessee and his subsequent use of it as a warship manned by his cavalrymen. Few realize, however, that a similar incident happened in Florida!
Captain W.B. Amos was the commander of Company I, Fifteenth Confederate Cavalry. Stationed at Milton in Santa Rosa County, his primary duty was to watch for Union raids out of Pensacola. Amos was good at this duty, but he was an aggressive officer and chafed a bit at the natural restrictions of his duties.

In June of 1864, he set off on adventure that can only be described as one of the only naval raids ever carried out in coastal waters by a Confederate cavalrymen.

The following report was filed with Colonel Henry Maury, Amos's commanding officer at Pollard, Alabama:

Scene of first two schooner captures.

Milton, June 27, 1864
DEAR COLONEL: I left here on Saturday morning with two small boats and 15 men for the mouth of Yellow River. When I arrived there I discovered a small schooner lying about 2 miles below with her sails down. I landed my men and made my way to her, and succeeded in capturing her and crew. In a few minutes I discovered another small sail coming up the bay. I secreted myself and men until she came up, and succeeded in getting her and crew. I then sent my boats and prisoners up to camp, and took the small schooner and balance of my men and sailed down to East Bay, where I was informed that there was a schooner by the name of Osceola anchored out about 4 miles from shore with 5 men and some small-arms. So I concealed my men in the boat and sailed for her, and managed to get on her after dark and succeeded in boarding her. I ordered the crew to surrender. Three made to their guns. I ordered my men to fire on them, which they did, and killed the 3. The remainder (2) surrendered. I divided my men on the two schooners and set sails for camp, and arrived here yesterday morning, and I send up the prisoners today, and it will be late before they get there, as they have to foot it up. One of the men (W. Leonard) can give you all the information that you may desire about the yard, and if you will let me, after the excitement dies off I will burn the mills on the island. I will come up on July 1 or 2 and see you, as there is some other important business that I want to see you about, &c. Will make my report to your acting assistant adjutant-general of the prisoners and where they belong, &c. My respects to Dr. Tillman and Lieutenant Hallett.

W.B. Amos
Captain, Commanding Outpost (i.e. Company I, 15th Confederate Cavalry)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. My gg grandfather, Hugh Bethea, was listed as serving in Co I, 15th Confederate Cavalry. I haven't been able to find out much more about the unit.

Mike Bethea