|St. Luke's Episcopal Church|
Scene of heavy fighting in Battle of Marianna
U.S. Navy ships in the southern Gulf of Mexico had reported encountering a tropical storm during the weeks prior to the Northwest Florida raid. By the time Asboth began moving 700 men with their horses, supplies and artillery across Pensacola Bay on September 15, 1864, the rains of that storm had reached the Panhandle coast. Rain would continue to fall across Northwest Florida for the next eleven days.
|1864 Map of Asboth's Raid|
The result was that when Asboth struck the Walton County community of Eucheeanna in a dawn attack on September 23, 1864, the Confederates there had not even been aware that he was coming. Thanks to heavy rain, he had stolen a five day march on them and moved 90 miles into Confederate territory without being spotted by a single picket.
The Confederate cavalry camp at Eucheeanna was occupied by detachments from Company I, 15th Confederate Cavalry and Captain Robert Chisolm's Woodville Scouts, Alabama Militia Cavalry. The overrunning of the camp on the morning of the 23rd played a major role in how the raid played out over the next four days.
|Battle of Marianna Monument|
The troops along the main road saw no sign of the Federal column, but remained in position in case they appeared. Along the Cerrogordo Road, however, weather again came into play to hamper Confederate defensive efforts.
Damaged during Battle of Marianna
It was not until the morning of September 26, 1864, three days after the attack on Eucheeanna, that Captain Godwin learned there was trouble in neighboring Holmes County. Raiders were reported by citizens to be destroying farms. He mustered his company and rode west to investigate, quickly coming up with and beginning to skirmish the vanguard of Asboth's oncoming column.
Godwin followed orders and sent word of the danger to headquarters in Marianna. The rain would clear the next morning just before Asboth attacked that city and the Battle of Marianna would be fought under a beautiful blue sky. The tropical storm, however, had served as a powerful ally of the Federals by preventing Colonel Montgomery from assembling his full force in time for the fight.
To learn more about the raid, please consider my book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida (Expanded Edition). It is available at www.amazon.com in both book form and as a Kindle instant download.
You can also read more at www.battleofmarianna.com or looking back through the older posts here at http://civilwarflorida.blogspot.com.