Monday, October 21, 2013

Chickamauga: One of Jackson County's Deadliest Days

The Battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 19, 1863 was terribly bloody for Jackson County. As recounted in Jonathan Sheppard's masterful history of Florida's troops in the Confederacy's western theater, By the Noble Daring of Her Sons, Florida soldiers were heavily engaged in combat. Jackson County suffered thirteen deaths at the battle, possibly making Chickamauga the deadliest event in the county's history.

Jackson County's Chickamauga Honor Roll

Thomas Anderson     29yo G6FL 9/19
Lorenzo Basford        22yo I4FL 9/20
Benjamin Bradberry  22yo E6FL 9/19
Twiggs H. Darby       27yo C6FL 9/21
John Dickson             16yo F2FL 9/21
James Fair                  18yo E6FL 9/19
John Gay                    21yo F6FL 9/19
Richmond F. Hart       30yo E1FL Cav 9/19
Lt. James Hays           42yo D6FL 9/19
Green Keel                 18yo F6FL 9/19
George W. Revels      24yo E/F6FL 9/19
David D. Rogers        28yo I4FL 9/20
Sgt. S. F. Stanton        31yo D6FL 9/19

 William A. Green, of Co. K 25th Alabama, passed away four weeks after he was wounded in battle. In addition, at least 9 Jackson County soldiers, mostly from Co. E of the 6th Florida, were wounded at Chickamauga.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jackson County men at Antietam's Bloody Lane

Jackson Co. soldiers in the 2nd and 8th Florida Infantry Regiments, in R. H. Anderson's division, entered the action at Antietam about 10 AM on Sept. 17, 1862.  As told in Zack Waters' masterful, prize-winning book, A Small But Spartan Band, the Florida brigade crossed the Hagerstown Pike and took cover in Piper's apple orchard (replanted by the NPS).

General Rodes ordered the men forward and they passed the cannons and bounded down the slope through a ruined corn field toward the Sunken Lane.

The Florida men were positioned to support the 4th and 14th North Carolina regiments fighting in the Sunken Road - soon to be known as the Bloody Lane.
Waters writes that some Florida men crossed the lane, and charged up the hill toward the Union line, "only to be repelled with severe losses."  According to one participant, "the whole Regiment was cut to pieces."

An errant maneuver by a neighboring regiment opened a gap in the Confederate line.  Union troops poured in and the grey line was flanked and collapsed.  Along with the rest of the troops lining the Sunken Road, the Floridians retreated back through the orchard, retracing their initial approach.

The Floridians' performance drew criticism at the time, but Waters' examination of contemporaneous accounts shows a different story: the Florida brigade fought valiantly while sustaining terrible losses. Nearly fifty percent of the 570 Floridians engaged were casualties. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Please go to for my research and writing updates. I've always intended that serve as a companion website to my book of the same name. This site is a repository for information that did not make it into the limited confines of the book and a place to make available related additional research that I've worked on.  is a joint project with Billy Townsend - author of the remarkable Age of Barbarity.  The focus of  is much broader than this website: it is intended to address various issues related to the intersection of race, politics and economics in Florida during the century from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights era.  Our hope is to encourage anyone with interest in these topics to participate in the discussion and contribute postings.     

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Co. I of the 4th Florida Inf.Gets its Baptism of Fire at Murfreesboro

The Jackson County men who comprised Company I of the 4th Florida Infantry regiment had suffered terribly from the December cold in central Tennessee.   The 4th, which had not yet seen combat, had been assigned to Brig. Gen. William Preston’s brigade in Breckinridge’s division of Bragg’s army.   On December 31, 1862, the 4th was sent into action at the Battle of Murfreesboro.  Three previous Confederate assaults against the sector known as the Round Forest had been repulsed.  The 4th made its attempt and advanced until hit by canister from the 10th Indiana Battery.  The 4th was exposed and suffered terrible casualties until Gen. Preston personally led the men to nearby woods where the 1st and 3rd Florida had found cover.   
New Year’s eve was a bitterly cold night and because of the closeness of the armies, the soldiers could not make fires.  The Floridians remained in place until the afternoon of Jan 2nd.   Breckinridge and his brigade commanders, all lawyers, formed their men in lines and led them over a ridge straight into the range of massed Union cannon.   The 4th lay prone and held its ground as other troops retreated before a Union counterattack.  Breckinridge’s men ran before the assault, but the 4th distinguished itself for its orderly actions, allowing Preston’s artillery to withdraw and save its guns.  As darkness fell, the troops returned to their original lines. 
According to Jonathan Sheppard, the 4th was effectively decimated with 194 casualties out of the 458 who entered the fight two days earlier.   Among Breckinridge’s 19 regiments, the 4th suffered the most killed and 2nd most casualties.   I’ve found the following casualties among Jackson County men from Company I:  killed or mortally wounded:  Henry T. Barnes, E. A. Ellerby, William Alexander and Thomas J. Watts.   Seriously wounded: Leroy Mozely, James A. Sills, Anderson Smith and William Taylor.   Lt. C.C. Burke was wounded and captured.  Several other Jackson Co. men were also made prisoner by the Union.   (Note that Nathan Minchen of Company I had died of disease on Nov. 8, 1862.)   The actions of the 4th Florida described above are drawn from Jonathan Sheppard’s excelland and authoritative: “By the Noble Daring of Her Sons” The Florida Brigade of the Army of the Tennessee, Univ. of Alabama Press (2012)