Battle of Marianna, Florida Page2
This page courtesy of Dale Cox, FL

The battle began about three miles northwest of town when Confederate cavalry forces engaged the Union column in a brief fire fight and then fell back to town. The Ely house on West Lafayette Street then marked the western edge of the community. The Confederate cavalry, under Colonel Montgomery, formed a line of battle in the street in front of the house, while the Southern infantry and volunteers formed an ambuscade behind fences and buildings further up the street. A barricade of wagons was thrown across the street, but was not manned and was intended to delay the Federal cavalry long enough for the Confederates to ambush them


This view of the street in front of the Ely House shows the paved over site of the initial repulse of the Federal column by Montgomery's Confederate cavalry. The curve, known as Ely Corner, was then a narrow country lane. The Confederate cavalry formed in line of battle here and fired a volley at the approaching Union column, catching an advance battalion of the 2nd Maine Cavalry by surprise. The Federals withdrew quickly, but were rallied by Asboth himself and made a second charge against the Confederate cavalry, driving them east down Lafayette Street


As the Federals charged eastward down Lafayette Street in pursuit of Montgomery's cavalry, they were suddenly ambushed by a large force of Confederate infantry and volunteers hiding behind fences, shrubs and houses along both sides of the street. More than 30 Federals fell dead or wounded in that first volley, among them General Asboth. The former Hungarian freedom fighter was wounded in the cheek and arm. The advance of the Federal column, however, continued in pursuit of the Confederate cavalry while the rear of the column turned on their attackers. Scars from the battle can still be seen in the Holden House, shown here


The main group of Confederate volunteers, consisting for the most part of young boys and old men from Marianna and the surrounding area, were finally hemmed in here in the burial ground surrounding St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Putting up a stiff fight, they were finally overwhelmed by a bayonet charge from two companies of picked men from the 82nd and 86th U.S. Colored Troops. Several wounded Confederates later claimed they were shot after surrendering. Among them was the town's dentist, Dr. Thaddeus Hentz, whose tombstone is shown here. Hentz was the son of the noted 19th century novelist, Caroline Lee Hentz, whose grave is in the background. Mrs. Hentz penned "Planter's Northern Bride," an acclaimed rebuttal to "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Battle of Marianna Page1    Page2     Page3     Next

Sites by State Home       Site Index