|Riverfront at Jacksonville, Florida|
Photo courtesy of Brian Mabelitini
The final move on Jacksonville came on March 12, 1862, when Lieutenant-Commanding S.H.Stevens turned the USS Ottawa up the St. Johns River from Mayport at the river's mouth. The Ottawa was still riddled with bullet holes from the fighting along the St. Mary's River five days earlier (please see Fighting on the St. Mary's River).
|St. Johns Bluff|
As she steamed up the river, the Ottawa lead a small flotilla made up of the Seneca, Isaac Smith, Pembina and Ellen. As the vessels passed St. Johns Bluff, the Ellen was detached with orders to take on board the arms and munitions abandoned there by the retreating Confederates.
|St. Johns River from St. Johns Bluff|
We succeeded in reaching Jacksonville without difficulty, and at every house save one found evidence of peaceful demonstrations and returning reason.
On our arrival at this place, the corporate authorities there, S.L. Burnett, Esq., came off with a flag of truce and gave up the town.
I have just heard that municipal government has been restored. - Lt. S.H. Stevens, U.S. Navy, March 13, 1862.
In just eight days, the U.S. Navy had captured all three of the principal Confederate ports on the east coast of Florida. Very little blood had been shed. The only real opposition, in fact, had come when Confederate infantry and cavalry attacked the Ottawa while it was navigating the narrow St. Mary's River.
To learn more about the historic city of Jacksonville, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/jacksonville.