Today in History:

70 Series I Volume XLIX-I Serial 103 - Mobile Bay Campaign Part I

Page 70 KY., S. W. VA., TENN., N. & C. GA., MISS., ALA., & W. FLA.

of a sufficient guard over the Government stores left at this post) were embarked on board the U. S. steam gun-boat Magnolia on Monday noon, February 27, 1865. At daylight next day, Tuesday, came to anchor at the bar off Saint Mark's. Owing to a dense fog did not communicate with the other vessels of the expedition until Wednesday. On Thursday (March 2) landed six men, under William Strickland, at the mouth of the Aucilla River, with orders to burn the railroad bridge at the head of that stream. Did not effect a landing at the Little Aucilla as contemplated with another detachment (for the purpose of cutting the railroad in the rear of Saint Mark's) owing to the number of pickets stationed there. Another party, under Mr. Green, citizen, was landed near Shell Point, with orders to proceed to the Ocklockonee Railroad bridge and burn it. On Friday, at 7 p. m., agreeable to orders, I landed with sixty men of the Second Florida Cavalry and a detachment of thirty sailors, under Acting Ensign Whitman. I dispatched Mr. Whitman up East River, with orders to proceed to the bridge, about four miles from the light-house, and to secure if possible the picket stationed there and to hold the bridge until I should come up. Owing to the strong wind blowing I did not succeed in effecting a landing until midnight. Advanced immediately up to the bridge, where I arrived at 4 a. m. Found that Mr. Whitman had surprised the picket but did not capture it, as they fled, leaving their arms, one horse, & c. At sunrise I was attacked by a cavalry force of about sixty men. Repulsed them without loss on our part. Killed several of the rebels and wounded three or four of them. Sent a mounted officer to the light-house to see whether the troops had landed, with the intention, if they had landed, to hold the bridge. Upon his return, reporting that the ships were ashore at the bar and no troops landed, I concluded to fall back to the light-house, knowing that I could not hold my position without re-enforcements. They skirmished with me until I arrived at the light-house.

Upon arriving at Newport, on Sunday, at 11 a. m., I discovered the bridge over Newport River on fire, and agreeable to orders I charged on the enemy for the purpose of saving the bridge - all under heavy fire. Found the enemy strongly posted behind entrenchments on opposite side, and found that the bridge was burned at one end and cut off at the other, and that the enemy had complete command of the approach to the bridge with their musketry. Having two pieces of artillery I posted one to play directly across the bridge, and the other on the right to enfilade their pits. I did not succeed in driving them out. Upon being ordered to remain at Newport to guard the bridge I posted sharpshooters along the river. They were engaged most of the day and night. On Modnay, at 2 p. m., the enemy opened fire with one piece of artillery on my pickets in rear of my camp. They kept up a sharp and well-directed fire of artillery and musketry for four hours. They endeavored to get hold on the bridge, first to repair it, and afterward to cross it. I repulsed them. I cannot speak in too high terms of praise of the assistance rendered by Captain Ransom, of General Newton's staff, in promoting the success of my movements. The officers and men under me, one and all, behaved in the most creditable manner.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major Second Florida Cavalry, Commanding Post.


District of Key West and Tortugas, Key West.

Page 70 KY., S. W. VA., TENN., N. & C. GA., MISS., ALA., & W. FLA.