The Civil War at Boggy Bayou, Florida

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"What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.” ~ Robert E. Lee, letter to his wife, 1864

Narrative Summary:

Civil War accounts concerning Boggy Bayou, then in Walton County, helped in establishing the early history of Niceville. Without those accounts it would seem that the only Civil War activities in the immediate area were either connected to the Confederate Walton Guards or related to the Federal forces stationed at Pensacola.The prevailing impression is also that the war did not effect those living in the Boggy Bayou area.

Boggy Bayou was a fall back location for the Walton Guards when faced with Federal forces. Lt. John L. McKinnon was in the unit when it fell back to Boggy Bayou. He wrote a letter from Boggy Bayou, Florida to John Newton at DeFuniak Springs on April 2, 1862.

Boggy Bayou was a crossing point for escaping Unionist to Federal blockade ships at East Pass. An official Federal report states, "Mr. Alfred Holly came in yesterday, reporting that while leaving Boggy Bayou for East Pass in a skiff, with 5 others (all members of the Bass family, residing there), the rebels fired upon them, killing 3 and wounding 2, who are now in our hospital." A State Representative from Covington County Alabama, Alfred was an outspoken Unionist. After escaping Confederate forces sent to arrest him, he worked to encourage others to join the Federal forces and some probably followed his escape route. The two Union ships most involved in blockading East Pass were the Bloomer and sailing vessel Charlotte. On December 27, 1862 the Charlotte had participated in the capture of the Bloomer from the Confederates while it was anchored on the Choctawhatchee River.

Boggy Bayou was a Federal departure point for the Mobile campaign. An official Confederate report states, "Colonel Armistead sends dispatch from Canoe Station, 5 p. m. yesterday, that his scouts saw enemy's column on Monday on Pensacola and Pollard road, and forces have been moving from navy-yard to Boggy Bayou for some time, and that a column will move from that place."

The war brought hardship to those in Boggy Bayou. The source of income at the time for most men was either working in the timber industry or in transporting timber products by water to Pensacola. Since the timber products were shipped for sale overseas by way of Pensacola, this commerce was no longer possible with the Federal blockade.

Besides looking for intelligence on Federal forces, Confederate scouting parties conscripted males, arrested deserters and confiscated livestock and food sources. Federal forces also brought suffering.

In reply to the letter he received from the Pension Board, W.C. McLean who served in the 6th Alabama Calvary states on June 30, 1911, "--.to patrol the Choctawhatchee Bay and as far up as Freeport in Walton County, and Boggy Bayou in Walton County where Federals had frequently landed making raids in the country stealing horses and cattle and capturing prominent citizens. We were also engaging in capturing deserters who were numerous in Walton County (on Yellow River). The country was full of deserters from both armies, hiding out, living upon the people's cattle and provisions."

The war divided the community. From the Boggy area, William Nathey, enlisted in the 6th Alabama Cavalry, Co. I. on April 9, 1863 in Santa Rosa County, a Confederate unit. The 6th Alabama Cavalry was also the unit W. C. McLean served in. Concerning the end of the war, McLean stated in his letter "The country was full of Yankee soldiers. The different squads of my company, as well as the entire company, was cut off from the main army or any portion of it. It was impossible for them to get back to the army. I was at home on leave of absence, when the army actually surrendered, because I could not return. The whole company was at home at the actual surrender, including the Captain and Lieutenant A. L. McCaskill. The different squads reached home at different times. It was come home or do without provisions being unable to communicate with or reach the army. This all occurred in the closing days of the war." After the war those that served on the Confederate side could apply for a Confederate pension. W. C. McLean returned to his home at Knox Hill where he was a lawyer. A. L. McCaskill became a state senator.

Some from the Boggy Bayou area enlisted in Federal units. Simeon Burlison joined the First Florida Vol. Cavalry forming at Fort Barrancas in December 1863 and both James and John Bolton join the unit in January 1864. James T. Bolton moved from Rocky Bayou to Dorcas where he is buried at the Dorcas Baptist Church Cemetery.

Those that served on the Union side could apply for a Federal pension. Simeon Burlison applied for a pension and later for a pension increase on July 5, 1900.

Animosity from the war apparently did not run deep. In 1873 William John Nathey, son of William Nathey, married Mary Jane Bolton, sister of James and John Bolton.

Documentation for Civil War Accounts of Boggy Bayou:

A letter written at Warrington, West Florida, on Monday, December 24, 1860 to the Editor of the New York Times:
“It is a source of great pleasure to me to say that this County (Escambia,) the home of Senator Mallory, has cast her vote for Messrs. Nicholson and Wright, the Union candidates, by a handsome majority, against Wm. H. Chase, the President of the Alabama and Florida Railroad, and A. E. Maxur, Navy Agent -- Secessionists. Their popularity, together with all the eloquence of Mr. Mallory, could not stay the voice of this Union-loving people, for we ask nothing but our rights, and this we can get in the Union. At the Navy-yard precinct, the heads of all the civil departments, except the Naval Constructor, took active parts against the men -- the first worked for their offices, the men for their homes and their country. The result was 258 Union, 95 secession. Would it not be advisable for the honorable Secretary of the Navy to make immediate removal of the active Disunionists, and have their places filled pro tem, by the Commandant of this station, with the advice of the Constructor. News has just come that ex-Senators Morton and Simpson (Union) are elected from St. Rosa County, and Walton County will also join us (Note: Boggy Bayou was in Walton County at this time).
    Yours, truly, R. H. Wattes. (Source: New York Times 01/07/1861 A Union Vote in Florida.)

(Note: After South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas seceded from the Union on April 19, 1861 President Lincoln ordered a blockade of the southern coastlines from Norfolk, Virginia to the Rio Grande in Texas, to deprive the Confederacy and all Southern states of essential supplies. The Union Navy was primarily placed in charge of this operation.)

Abstract log of the U. S. S. Water Witch, Lieutenant William Ronckendorff, U. S. Navy, Commanding.July 12, 1861. East Pass, Santa Rosa Island, Florida:
At 4:50 a.m. sent second cutter ashore armed. When near the beach the boat was fired upon by a party of about 25 men; cutter returned to the ship immediately. No one hurt. At 6:30 got underway and steamed in toward the land; called all hands to quarters. Sent the first cutter ashore with Lieutenant Eastman and 11 men, who scoured the eastern end of the island. From 8 to 12 first cutter landed with men and took possession of a sloop lying inside, and commenced working it down toward the East Pass. It grounded several times. From 12 to 4 p.m.: Sent gig and first cutter to assist in towing the sloop. It grounded about one-half mile inside East Pass and was abandoned, after taking out the compass, etc.(Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of The Rebellion Series I, Vol. 19 p. 177.)

Report of William McPherson, Commanding, Walton Guards, Florida Volunteers, on a steamer sighting near East Pass, Florida, August 21, 1861:
SIR: I have the honor to report that on Wednesday, August 21, a little before sundown, our picket guard reported a steamer outside with an unrigged schooner in tow from the direction of Fort Pickens, proceeding toward East Pass, at which place a steamer has been blockading ever since our arrival. Scouts were sent up the gulf to watch her movements...On Friday morning we went with our schooner considerably up the Pass, and landed on the Island and marched up to the Point. We discovered, upon getting there, a schooner lying apparently across the channel....Her name was on the stern --the General T. J. Chambers of Galveston. We cut her cross beams, from bow to stern, and the railing, and perhaps before night she went to pieces...It was impossible to get her into the channel with the means we had, and I deemed it best to destroy her. (Source: supplement to the War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. I, Part I, pages 85-87.)

(Note: East Pass is at the east end of Santa Rosa Island and opposite Boggy Bayou. On October 9, 1861 Confederate forces failed to capture Fort Pickens on the west end of Santa Rosa Island opposite Pensacola.)

U. S. S. Mississippi, Off Fort Pickens, February 1, 1862:
SIR: I have the honor to report that the preparatory forging for the crosshead is done, and that in two or three days, with the engines at rest, the work of strengthening it will be completed. At the instance of Colonel Brown, I went yesterday to the East Pass. I found there the schooner Maria A. Wood lying within gunshot of the bar. I gave her commander such advice as he desired and which I deemed necessary for the effectual guarding of the pass and to prevent surprise. Seeing a large schooner inside becalmed, I sent an armed expedition, consisting of two boats from this vessel and one from the Maria A. Wood, in charge of Lieutenant Madigan, for the purpose of destroying her. After the boats had entered the pass and proceeded a quarter of a mile, a shell was fired from the east bank ahead of the M. A. Wood's boat, which was far in advance, contrary to orders. Soon after a volley of musketry was discharged at this boat, striking her in several places, but injuring no one. A round of shell from the howitzers of our boats silenced and dispersed the assailants. As the rebel schooner had at this time taken advantage of a breeze to elude pursuit, and as the boats in proceeding farther up the narrow pass would be exposed to a galling fire from ambuscades, without the power of replying with effect, Lieutenant Madigan very judiciously returned to the ship. Early yesterday morning on my way to the East Pass I spoke the U. S. bark James L. Davis, Lieutenant Commanding Winn, from Philadelphia, which I directed to come here and remain until I returned. I have ordered Captain Winn to report to you or the senior officer at Ship Island. I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Thos. O. Selfridge, Captain. Flag-Officer Wm. W. McKean, Commanding Gulf Blockading Squadron. (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies on the War of The Rebellion Series I, Vol. 17 page 99.)

Report of Colonel Tubs M. Jokes to General Samuel Jones, April 2, 1862:
 "Ten 10-inch, seven 8-inch columbiads, nine seacoast howitzers, four rifle guns, and two 8-inch seacoast howitzers have been shipped. Lieutenant Aldrich is absent at East Pass, and there may be more; when he returns I'll let you know. The enemy shelled Captain McPherson's camp, (Walton Guards) in order, I think, to enable him to land re-enforcements behind the island, which I think was done yesterday, as 160 cavalry were seen on island to-day. I think there is mischief intended. They have been re-enforced. More than 225 men seen landed near Pickens. I think they will make an attack."(Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union by Robert Nicholson Scott US War Dept. Ser. 1, Vol. 6, Chapter XVI p.869-870.)

Letter from (2nd Lt.) John L. McKinnon (Walton Guards) at Boggy Bayou, Florida to (Rev.) John Newton, April 2, 1862:
"Mr. Newton,
Since I wrote to you we have had an attact from the enemy & as I have not sent the letter off yet I have concluded to give you a short sketch of it, in haste. On last Monday morning about day light, when the drum summoning the men all in ranks for Roll call ceased to beat a shell was heard whistling some ten or 12 feet above the heads of the men in ranks it exploded in the woods beyond the Camp. before the men in ranks got orders from the Captain what to do another shell came from the island in near about the same direction it looked like a ball of fire. it exploded over one of the tents killing nor hurting no one in this time every one seemed sensitive of what was their duty i.e. to leave the Camp as quick as posable no one waiting for command from Capt. or any one else. but before all could get off there was several shell that Bursted in the Camp & when they all started off one bursted in the midst of them & killed no one it seemed that Providence was with us. The men went out into the thick woods & remained there until they ceased firing. I did not go out of the Camp any distance I staid where I could see them all the time I was behind a very large tree & feared no danger. I think there was at least 4 or 5 hundred men they had horses & flying artillery. I did not see over 6 or 8 horses carrying their guns After all went out of camp I sent back after a sick man that was behind & I hollered to the Yankees on the island to come over to this side & we would fight them. They said for us to carry over some boats that was on the beach at our Camp & they would. You know we did not comply with this request. Some of us went back as soon as they ceased firing & took out all of our effects & committed all of our houses to the flames, there was but one vessel out side & that was clost in & oposite to our Camp I watched that one all day and the men that was on the island never went aboard of her. They went down the island apiece I don't know how far, we are all nearly satisfied that they came from Fort Pickens. We have been moving every since without any orders. I am completely worn out. I had rather be in Tenn. than to be loafing about like we are now. Brother Charles McCollum and sone 25 men more went to Pensacola on last Thursday & have not got back yet, we fear that they have fallen into the hands of the Yankees. We are now here & are going to move about a mile or a 1/2 mile farther to day and no telling where to tomorrow you must excuse this as I have to sit down on the ground and write in haste. Excuse this. write to me as soon as you can if we move any distance from here I shall write to you again
    Yours in Haste,
    John L."

John L. McKinnon letter, April 2, 1862, Boggy Bayou

(Note: The letter above from John L. McKinnon (Axleson papers, Special Collections, John C. Pace Library, University of West Florida) is the earliest known existing correspondence sent from Boggy Bayou. Mr. Newton, a Presbyterian minister, founded the Knox Hill Academy of Defuniak Springs in 1848. (1st Lt.) Henry W. Reddick states in his book, Seventy-seven years in Dixie, self-published in 1910, his recollection on the Walton Guards retreating from Captain McPherson's camp to Boggy Bayou. ".... marched some seven miles through the woods to Boggy Bayou, when we struck camp again remained some three weeks, our commander in the meantime notifying General Bragg of what had happened. His orders were for us to return to Camp Walton and hold at all hazards." In May of 1862 Union forces occupied Pensacola as it was burned and evacuated by Confederate forces.  Anything of commercial value, including the lumber mills at Milton and Bagdad, were also destroyed by the evacuating Confederate troops to prevent them being of value to the Union forces. After about fourteen months the First Florida Infantry, Company D (Walton Guards) consisting of 4 officers and 51 men (Abstracts from field return of the Army of Pensacola under Major General Braxton Bragg, Nov. 1, 1861) evacuated their position at the Narrows of the Santa Rosa Sound the summer of 1862 as part of the deployment of Confederate forces out of Pensacola to Tennessee.)

April 21, 1862 The New York Times: Fort Pickens and Key West: Arrival of the Steamer Philadelphia - Quiet at Fort Pickens - Pensacola not Entirely Evacuated - The Rebels Removing Guns and Destroying Property - Martial Law in Pensacola, & c:
The United States steam transport Philadelphia, Commander Barton, from Fort Pickens, on the 6th inst., and Key West on the 14th, arrived at this port, yesterday, in ballast, consigned to quartermaster Tompkins. Everything was quiet at Fort Pickens. The Philadelphia landed fifty bullocks and fifty sheep without loss; also transferred all the Government stores on board of store brig East, by order of Capt. A. M. Shipley, Chief Quartermaster's Department of Florida, who took charge in person and worked day and night until the ship was discharged, thus saving several days waiting for the surf to abate, as no boats could reach the beach. Deserters were constantly coming over from Pensacola. The rebels have not evacuated, but are moving their guns away. The town is under martial law, and all the citizens who remain have been forced into the army. Col. T. M. Jones is commanding the "army of Pensacola." Large fires are seen on the mainland every night - it is supposed the rebels are destroying property. An expedition started from Fort Pickens April 3, under command of Capt. W. H. Closson, (of the regulars,) consisting of Company L, First Artillery, and companies D, Capt. Duffy, and K, Capt. Hueltze, of Wilson's Zouaves. They marched to the east end of Santa Rosa Island, and were provided with boats, from United States schooner Mary E. Wood, to cross the mainland. The object of the expedition was to capture a picket company of rebels (Walton Guards) who were in charge of a storehouse and barracks, where vessels running the blockade were in the habit of landing their cargoes. For reason best known to the officer in command he did not cross over, and after throwing a few shells into the building - scattering the rebels in all directions - the companies returned to Fort Pickens. On March 30, Minard Wood, a native of New York City, came over from Pensacola in a skiff, with two other men. Mr. Wood was formerly running a saw mill in East Bay, eighteen miles from Pensacola, but for the last six months was butler at Gen. Bragg's headquarters, near the Navy yard having been given his choice to take up arms or be hung. He managed to turn some of the Confederate shiplasters into specie, and leaving his goods behind, crossed to Santa Rosa Island. He brought the following proclamation issued by the Commanding officer (Confederate) at Pensacola, as follows:
    Proclamation
    Headquarters
    Army of Pensacola
    March 30, 1862.
For the information of all concerned: There are certain lounging, worthless people - white as well as colored - who frequent Pensacola and vicinity, and have no observable occupation. Their intentions may be honest, but the Colonel Commanding does not believe it, and as he has no use for their presence, they are warned to leave, or the consequences must rest on their own heads. The gallows is erected in Pensacola, and will be in constant use on and after the 3rd day of April, 1862. The town is under complete martial law.
    By order of Col. T. M. Jones,
    Commanding Army of Pensacola.

(Note: The Union naval blockade brought about two important activities along Choctawhatchee Bay that contributed to the Confederate war effort; Blockade-running and Salt-making. Few if any accounts of the Civil War have previously been documented for Boggy Bayou. Of significant importance are the following reports of activities either at East Pass (also known as Pass L’Este or Santa Rosa Inlet) Choctawhatchee Bay or Boggy Bayou. With the strategic location of Boggy Bayou opposite East Pass its residents saw considerable action during the Civil War years.)

The East Gulf Blockading Squadron was based in Key West and was responsible for the Florida coast from Cape Canaveral to Pensacola. The West Gulf Blockading Squadron was based at Pensacola and Ship Island, Mississippi and was responsible for the remainder of the Gulf Coast to the border of Mexico. In late January 1862, the command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron had been placed under Captain Farragut whose orders were to maintain a blockade of the coastline between Apalachicola Bay, Florida and the Rio Grande in Texas. In addition, Farragut was to use portions of his squadron to establish control of the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Vicksburg, and to eventually occupy Mobile Bay. Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, the Maria A. Wood arrived at Fort Pickens on December 17, 1861 to assume patrol duties in the Gulf. In West Pass in May of 1862, she participated in the Union occupation of Pensacola. She was ordered to Santa Rosa Island on September 5th (1862) to blockade East Pass (today’s Destin), to the mouth of the Mississippi in early November, and to Horn Island Pass in late November. Blockade-running induced the Federal Army and Navy to seek actively the land control of all points of entry along the Florida coast. “From the many bays and inlets of Florida the small, fast craft of the blockade traders slipped out of sea on dark nights laden with cotton, tobacco, or turpentine; and slipped into cover with coffee, tea, medicines, cloth, fine provisions, miscellaneous assortments of manufactured articles (cologne, hair brushes, cheap jewelry, cheap hardware, etc.), arms and munitions of War. Choctawhatchee Bay, St. Andrews Bay, Deadman’s Bay (at the mouth of the Steinahatchee River), Apalachicola, St. Marks, Cedar Keys and Tampa were on the principal points of operation on the west Florida coast.”(Source: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, Volume 53 p. 197 By William Watson Davis 1913.)

Salt-making resulted in similar Federal action. During the first year of war, works for making salt by boiling sea-water in great kettles and sheet-iron boilers were established along the Bays and sequestered inlets of the Florida coast, particularly on the western coast between Choctawhatchee Bay and Tampa. The industry grew so rapidly that by the autumn of 1862 thousands of bushels of salt were being manufactured daily and scores of teams were hauling it into the more populous interior, most of it, out of state. Several thousand men were employed in the work.

While many poor Floridians doubtless welcomed state and local assistance, national government policies often met popular resistance. The two Confederate policies which caused the most unrest were conscription and impressment. Conscription became law in Florida when the Confederate government passed the first of three conscription acts on April 16, 1862. The first act called for the enrollment of all white males between the ages of 18 and 35 in the military service of the Confederate States for a period of three years. While most Southerners seemed to accept the military necessity of conscription, just as many resented the inequalities of the first act, which allowed substitution (wealthier men could pay poorer men to serve for them) and allowed planters to exempt overseers on plantations that held twenty or more slaves. By the time the Confederate government organized conscription in Florida (during the summer of 1862), most white males of conscription age in the state were already serving in the Confederate forces. Given the few men who remained eligible for the draft, Governor Milton believed it would be better if the Confederate government exempted Florida from conscription. Although he expressed this view to President Davis, Milton made it clear to the Confederate president and to the Southern public that he would make every effort to comply with the draft laws. During 1863-1865, Confederate conscript officials scoured the state for eligible men but only managed to obtain a few hundred draftees: the rest of the men (most) were either already in military service or avoiding the draft by hiding out in Florida’s vast, under populated countryside.

The Confederate impressment policy was just as unpopular with Southerners as conscription. In March 1863, the Confederate government passed an Impressment Law intended to ensure the adequate supply of its military forces. The law authorized impressment agents to locate foodstuffs and other supplies and established fixed prices for the necessary items. Farmers across Florida and throughout the South protested the impressment system, which deprived them of their produce and livestock for payments in increasingly depreciated Confederate scrip.(Source: Floridamemory.com.)

By Confederate law salt-makers were exempted from military service. A result of this exemption was the extreme eagerness of many people to be enrolled among the salt-makers. It was less dangerous boiling sea-water in kettles than running the risk of Federal bullets and even more dreadful disease in the army. The Florida legislature encouraged the industry thus springing up on its usually lonely seacoast. The privilege of making salt in Florida was cordially extended in resolutions of the legislature to the government and the citizens of neighboring states. The Florida state government organized the salt-makers in companies and furnished them with arms and ammunition. The officers of this semi-military organization were appointed by the governor of Florida. (Source: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, Volume 53, page 203 by William Watson Davis in 1913.)

Order of Rear-Admiral Farragut, U. S. Navy, to Commander Gibson, U. S. Navy, regarding measures for the interception of blockade runners in East Pass, Santa Rosa Sound.
    Flagstaff Hartford,
    Pensacola Bay, September 5, 1862.
SIR: You will send your tender in charge of a proper officer, and with a sufficient number of officers and men to fight her, well armed, up Santa Rosa Sound as high as the East Pass. Let her be provisioned for two weeks at least. I have reason to believe that they are preparing two schooners to run the blockade with 800 bales of cotton. If the schooner is well managed she may capture the whole. She will have the schooner Maria Wood to cooperate with her and to fall back on, if they should be too strong for her, but my informant says they have nothing but small arms on the bay. Get the tender off as soon as possible.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
    D. G. Farragut, Rear-Admiral,
    Rear-Admiral, Commanding Western Gulf Squadron.
    Commander Alex. Gibson, Commanding U. S. Receiving Ship Potomac.(Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion Series I, Vol. 19 page 177.) 

Order of Rear-Admiral Farragut, U. S. Navy, to Acting Master Anthony Chase, commanding U.S. schooner Maria A. Wood, to proceed to the blockade of East Pass, Santa Rosa Sound. 
    Flagship Hartford,
    Pensacola Bay, September 5, 1862.
SIR: Proceed to sea with the vessel under your command and run to the east end of Santa Rosa Island and blockade the East Pass. I have reason to believe that an attempt will be made to run out of that pass 800 bales of cotton during this and the next week. I will send up on the inside the tender of the Potomac to cooperate with you. When you are in want of anything you can return to this port for supplies, or send me word by the schooner on the inside.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant. D. G. Farragut,
    Rear-Admiral, Commanding Western Gulf Squadron.
    Acting Master Anthony Chase
    Commanding U.S. Schooner Maria Wood. (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion Series I, Vol. 19 pages 177-178.)

(Note: Assigned to the West Gulf Blockade,Charlotte’s first station was in Choctawhatchee Bay, from which on December 27, 1862 she sailed up the Choctawhatchee River to capture the steamer Bloomer. The Bloomer had been laid up near Geneva, AL since the beginning of the War, and Charlotte’s men repaired her engines so that she could sail to Pensacola.)

(Note: The Bloomer, built in 1856, was a 130 ton stern-wheel steamer.  After she was captured she was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat with orders to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries. She was armed with one 32 pounder smooth bore and one rifled 12 pounder. (Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks by W. Craif Gaines, p.38).  Although she spent most of her naval career operating in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, her most notable service occurred in December 1863 during a brief tour of duty. This operation in St. Andrew’s Bay in which, assisted by her tender, the sloop Caroline, and the bark Restless resulted in the destruction of 380 different salt works and of much of the town of St. Andrew’s. Her commanding officer received high praise for the Bloomer’s part in the successful accomplishment of this mission. In June 1865 she sank in East Pass, Santa Rosa Island, Florida. After the wreck was raised, it was sold on September 22, 1865 and commissioned Emma on April 5, 1866.)

HEADQUARTERS
    District of Pensacola,  Barrancas, Fla.,
    December 27, 1863.
    Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone,
    Chief of Staff, Headquaerters Department of the Gulf:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report, in relation to the organization of cavalry, that I am daily more convinced that not only one but several regiments could be raised in Western Florida, by offering to all those who are anxious to enlist into the Union Army proper assistance to come within our lines.
    The two small steamers and re-enforcements, for which I applied on the 23d and 25th ultimo (Nos. 42 and 48), and on the 5th instant (No. 110), would supply these wants, enabling me to enter the Escambia and Perdido Rivers, scout to the interior of the State, and, capturing the isolated rebel posts, with their horses, collect also the refugees and deserters secreted in the woods and islands.
    I beg, therefore, to renew most respectfully my former request for two small steamers, of not more than 4 feet draught, and the combined brigade, so much needed.
    I would also request instructions and orders regarding the payment of bounty to those white soldiers who are enlisting for three years.
    Considering the general destitution of the people here, it would be an act of humanity, as well as good policy, to grant advance payment of bounty. There are funds to the amount of $2,000 in the hands of Lieut. J. C. Breckinridge, U. S. Army, at Fort Barrancas, sent to him to be disbursed in payment of bounties to recruits at Key West, this State, from the Enrolling Bureau, Washington, D. C., and I would respectfully request that, as a temporary measure, the necessary orders be issued by which these funds may be disbursed by him to the men enrolled here until proper appropriation could be made.
    Having no steamer and no other vessel at my disposal to collect the refugees with, I have made use of a private schooner in charge of Captain Galloway, a most reliable, high-minded Union man, who has succeeded, in one trip to the East Pass of the bay, in bringing 25 able-bodied men - all his schooner could take. They enlisted at once, and, in addition to those, 33 more, who have found their way through the rebel pickets, at the risk of their lives; of those, 18 have enlisted in Company M, Fourteenth New York Cavalry, and 40 in the Florida regiment.
    I have started Captain Galloway on a second trip, and as Captain Gibson, commander and senior officer afloat here, has, upon my request, ordered the small steamer Bloomer to assist Galloway in bringing down from the East Pass and Choctawhatchee Bay the refugees waiting transportation, I am confident that he will return in a few days with at least 200 recruits.
    Rebel movements in my neighborhood are reported as follows by deserters who came in yesterday: They anticipated an attack from here upon Pollard on Christmas day. There are 2,000 men there, and 200 infantry and 100 cavalry were sent in addition to the former force to Fifteen-Mile Station, on the Pensacola Railroad. At Mobile there are two regiments of infantry and one of cavalry. It is generally understood that the men will refuse on New Year's day further service. More troops have been sent to Fort Morgan. The two companies of cavalry reported heretofore encamped above Florida Town have been withdrawn, as they made preparations to desert en masse. From the Perdido, rebel cavalry are continually scouting, approaching our pickets.
    From the Perdido, rebel cavalry are continually scouting, approaching our pickets.
    Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
    Asboth,
    Brigadier-General, Commanding. (Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 26, Part I, Correspondence ...Union, Chapter 38, Operations in West Florida, SouthAlabama, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico, pages 886-887.)

(Note: During the operation in St. Andrews Bay, the USS Bloomer took up a position just 300 feet from the shore off of St. Andrews and commenced firing. St. Andrews consisted of 32 structures, many of which were either servant quarters or summer resort residences. In short order every structure was destroyed. This must have had an intimidating effect on the residents of Boggy knowing that at the will of either the East Gulf Blockading Squadron or the West Gulf Blockading Squadron they could suffer the same fate as St. Andrews. With Union Naval ships operating in and around Choctawhatchee Bay the residents around Boggy Bayou must have suffered financially. The source of income at the time for most men was either working in the timber industry or in transporting timber products by water to Pensacola. Since much of the timber products were shipped for sale overseas by the way of Pensacola, this commerce was no longer possible.)

A report on Union actions from December 10 - 19 1863 to destroy Confederate salt works on Choctawhatchee Bay reads as follows: The Navy Department to-day received the following dispatches:
    U.S. Flagship San Jacinto, Key West,
    Dec. 28, 1863.
    Hon. Gideon Welles,
    Secretary of the Navy:
SIR: I have the gratification of reporting a very important service performed by the blockading force at St. Andrew's Sound, under command of Acting-Master William R. Browne, in destroying a very extensive and valuable quantity of salt works, both at Lake Ocala (today’s Lake Powell) and St. Andrew's Bay. The circumstances are as follows:
    On December 2, a boat was dispatched from the bark Restless, then lying at St. Andrew's Sound, to Lake Ocala, some twenty miles to the westward, where Acting Ensign James J. Russell landed with his men, and marched some five miles inland to Kent's salt works, consisting of three different establishments, and utterly destroyed them. There were six steamboat boilers at this place, cut in half lengthwise, and eleven kettles made expressly for the purpose, each holding 200 gallons. They were in the practice of turning out 130 bushels of salt daily. Besides destroying these boilers, a large quantity of salt was thrown into the lake. Two large flat-boats and six ox-carts were demolished, and seventeen prisoners were taken, who were paroled and released, as the boat was too small to bring them away.
    On the 10th of December Acting Ensign Edwin Cressy arrived at St. Andrew's Sound, from the East Pass of Santa Rosa Sound, with the stern-wheel steamer Bloomer, and her tender, the sloop Carolina -- having heard of the expedition to Lake Ocala -- and placed his command at the disposal of Acting Master Brown for more extensive operations near St. Andrew's. Accordingly, three officers and forty-eight men were sent from the Restless to the Bloomer, and she proceeded to West Bay, where the rebel Government's salt works were first destroyed, and which produced 400 bushels daily. At this place there were 27 buildings, 22 large boilers, and some 200 kettles, averaging 200 gallons each, all of which were destroyed, together with 5,000 bushels of salt, and some storehouses containing some three months' provisions -- the whole estimated at half a million of dollars. From this point the expedition proceeded down the bay, destroying private salt works which lined each side for a distance of seven miles, to the number of 198 different establishments, averaging two boilers and two kettles each, together with a large quantity of salt; 507 kettles were dug up and rendered useless, and over 200 buildings were destroyed, together with 27 wagons and five large flatboats. The entire damage to the enemy is estimated by Acting Master Browne at $3,000,000.
    Thirty-one contrabands employed at those works gladly availed themselves of this opportunity to escape, and were of great service in pointing out the places where the kettles were buried for concealment. In the meantime, while these operations were going on, Acting Master Browne got under way in the bark Restless, and ran up to within one hundred yards of the town of St. Andrews, which had been reported by deserters to him as being occupied by a military force for the last ten months, and commenced shelling the place; and some soldiers who made a speedy retreat to the woods. Selecting the weather-most house for a target, the town was fired by the third shell, and thirty-two houses were soon reduced to ashes. No resistance was offered to our people throughout the affair. Acting-Master Browne speaks in high terms of Acting-Ensign James J. Russell and Charles N. Hicks and the 48 men from the Restless, as also of Acting-Ensign Edwin Cressy and the six men belonging to the Bloomer, for the prompt manner in which they carried out his orders.
    Respectfully, Theodorus Bailey,
    Acting Rear-Admiral,
    Commanding, E.G.B. Squadron.(Source: The New York Times 01/07/1864.)

(Note: From the Boggy area Simeon Burlison joined the First Florida Vol. Cavalry forming at Fort Barrancas in December 1863 and both James and John Bolton join the unit in January 1864.)

HDQRS.
    District of West Florida, Barrancas,  January 28, 1864:
    Capt. J.L. Galloway:
Capt.: It appears from your official report of yesterday that Lieut. Talford and Private Carrol, from Floyd's and Curry's companies, of the Confederate army, disputed by their associates, have pledged their word of honor to avail themselves of the amnesty of the President of the United States, and to return with their whole battalion, including horses, arms, equipments, &c. on the 5th of February, at Point Washington, at the head of Choctawhatchee Bay, to the old flag of the United States, in order to join First Florida Cavalry, under organization here, in support of the Union...
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    Asboth, Brigadier-General. (Source: The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and  Confederate armies. / Series 1 - Volume 35 (Part II), pages 6-7, United States. War Dept., John Sheldon Moody, Calvin Duvall Cowles, Frederick Caryton Ainsworth, Robert N. Scott, Henry Martyn Lazelle, George Breckenridge Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph William Kirkley; Govt. Print. Off., Washington, 1891.)
 
HDQRS.
    District of West Florida, Barrancas,  March 4, 1864:
    Gen. Charles P. Stone,
    Chief of Staff, Department of the Gulf: 
GEN.: I have the honor to submit, in connection with my report of February 23, No. 86, the following additional information in regards to affairs in my neighborhood, received from refugees and deserters:
...At present I have a recruiting officer on the extreme end of the Santa Rosa Island (Capt. Galloway), with facilities to bring refugees across East Pass and the sound, as well as down from Washington Point.
...Two steamers, as already ordered by the commanding general, of not more than 4 feet draught, and one regiment of cavalry and two of infantry, would enable me, under the above combined movements, to enter and control the Perdido, Escambia, Blackwater, Yellowwater, and Choctawhatchee rivers, to destroy rebel forces at Gonzales Camps, to cut off the railroad communication of Mobile with Montgomery, to capture all the isolate rebel camps this side of Mobile Bay, thus deprive the garrison of Fort Morgan of land support and of the possibility to escape Admiral Farragut's iron grasp; also prevent all further re-enforcements and supplies for Mobile from Johnston's army, send starvation to that city, and open the way for thousands of starving Union sympathizers in West Florida to return to their old flag and join the Union army.
    I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    Asboth,Brigadier-General. (Source:  The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. / Series 1 - Volume 35 (Part II), pages 4-5, United States. War Dept., John Sheldon Moody, Calvin Duvall Cowles, Frederick Caryton Ainsworth, Robert N. Scott, Henry Martyn Lazelle, George Breckenridge Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph William Kirkley; Govt. Print. Off., Washington, 1891.)

FLAGSHIP WESTERN GULF BLOCKADING SQUADRON,
    Off Pensacola, March 15, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report to the Department the following as the position of the vessels of my squadron, viz: Off east end of Santa Rosa Island.Steamer Bloomer and sailing vessel Charlotte.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    D.G. Farragut,
    Rear-Admiral, Commanding West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
    Hon. Gidean Welles,
    Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C. (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. / Series I - Volume 21, page 141: West Gulf Blockading Squadron (January 1, 1864 - December 31, 1864), United States. Naval War Records Office, Govt. Print. Off., Washington, 1906.)

Reports of Brig. Gen Alexander Asboth, US Army
HEADQUARTERS
    Pensacola Florida
    Barrancas, April 4, 1864
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit, in connection with my report of March 8, No. 138, the following additional information in regard to the affairs in my neighborhood, received from refugees and deserters. The rebels have concentrated a considerable force at Pollard, Ala., estimated at from 8,000 to 10,000 men, principally re-enforcements sent during General Sherman’s raid, from Johnston’s army to Mobile. They are also concentrating a force about 2,000 strong, infantry, artillery, and cavalry, in Walton County, Fla., headquarters at McDade’s Pond, between Yellow and Pea Rivers, scouting down the Boggy Bayou, opposite East Pass and upward on the north side of the Choctawhatchee Bay to the Four-Mile Landing. The Perdido is also more closely guarded at present and an additional cavalry force stationed at Camp Pond, above Camp Withers, with a view to prevent deserters from entering our lines and to intercept the union soldiers who made their escape from the prison at Cahawba, Ala. Since our reverse in East Florida the rebels have become more enterprising in their movements and more bitter in their persecutions of all who show any sympathy for the Union. They take from them everything of any use to the army and wantonly destroy the rest; they take the lives of all who attempt to escape from their lines or who assist others to do so. Mr. Alfred Holly came in yesterday, reporting that while leaving Boggy Bayou for East Pass in a skiff, with 5 others (all members of the Bass family, residing there), the rebels fired upon them, killing 3 and wounding 2, who are now in our hospital. I have, as already reported, a recruiting officer at East Pass, with a squad of 10 men, but I have no force to send against these robbers and no steamer for transportation. To prevent the entire ruin of these unfortunate Union families and secure us the control over West Florida, it would be desirable that at the next advance of the federal forces in East Florida a combined movement be made also in West Florida, by adequate forces from Barrancas, Boggy Bayou, opposite East Pass, Washington Point, the head of Choctawhatchee Bay, and Saint Mark’s, the terminus of the Tallahassee railroad. In conclusion, I beg to report that Captain Schmidt, Company M, Fourteenth New York Cavalry, with 30 of his company, had a very successful engagement on the 2nd instant with a scouting party of rebel cavalry on the Pensacola road, 4 miles from Bayou Grand, resulting in the capture of 1 lieutenant, 2 sergeants, and 8 privates of the Seventh Alabama Cavalry, with 6 horses with equipments, 21 muskets, and 4 sabers. In addition to this the enemy lost about 15 killed and wounded. On our side First Lieut. B. von Lengercke and two men were wounded, and 4 horses killed and five wounded. The particulars of the engagement will accompany the report of the officer in command of the party.
    I am, very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
    (Camp) Asboth, Brigadier-General.
    Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone,
    Chief of Staff (Source: The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union by Robert Nicholson Scott US War Dept. Chapter XLVII, p. 385.)

(Note: Boggy Bayou, opposite East Pass, was the only community in existence in that immediate area during the Civil War. All of the action at East Pass was happening directly across Choctawhatchee Bay from the community. The report on Alfred Holly indicates that Boggy Bayou was at the land end of the escape route before crossing over Choctawhatchee Bay to East Pass by Unionist escaping from Covington Co., Alabama. By April 4, 1864 Brigadier-General Asboth was contemplating using Boggy Bayou as a departure point forthe next Federal advance in West Florida. That advance from Boggy Bayou happened on March 22, 1865 as part of the Mobile Campaign. Until that advance Confederate units from Alabama continued to operate in the area at will.)

Stations of vessels composing the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, April 15, 1864.
    No. 128.    
    Flagship Tennessee, Off New Orleans,
    April 20, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report to the Department the following asthe position of the vessels of my squadron on the 15th instant: Off east end of Santa Rosa lsland.Steamer Bloomer; sailing vessel Charlotte.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    D. G. Farragut,
    Rear-Admiral, Commanding West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
    Hon. Gideon Welles,
    Secretary of the Navy, Washington. (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. / Series I - Volume 21, pages 196-197: West Gulf Blockading Squadron (January 1, 1864 - December 31, 1864), United States. Naval War Records Office, Govt. Print. Off., Washington, 1906.)

Escape of Alfred Holley from Covington Co. Alabama across Boggy Bayou: "Alfred Holley was probably the most controversial, ambitious and farsighted political leader in the early history of Covington County, Alabama.  From a meager beginning he became one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the county, but his strong opposition to the secession of Alabama from the Union in 1860, and his efforts to force Alabama and the Confederacy into submission near the end of the war, cost him his fortune, his political office, many of his friends, and his reputation, yet history has probably proven him correct in many of his beliefs and actions ....In March, 1864 the Confederate Army invaded Covingtion County with the express purpose of arresting Alfred Holley and all the supporters of the Peace Society.  Holley was able to escape and he headed for Florida, but while crossing Boggy Bayou in a skiff with five members of the Bass family, his party was attacked by Confederate forces and three members of the Bass family were killed.  Holley escaped injury, but from then until the end of the War, he remained at Pensacola and helped recruit a regiment (lst. Florida Union Cavalry) of soldiers from south Alabama and west Florida to serve in the Union Army.  About 75 men from Covington County volunteered for service in this regiment including Alfred Holley's youngest son, Calvin, and two sons of George Snowden." (Source: Speech by Dr. Allen Jones, Auburn University, Unionism and Disaffection in South Alabama: The Case of Alfred Holley.)

Mobile Daily Advertiser and Register - April 17, 1864 - Colonel Holland's Florida Expedition. Camp Section of Tarrant's Battery. McDade's Pond, Florida, April 7, 1864:: "Just one month ago, Mr. Editor, we left Pollard, Alabama, on a scout to the bayous and bays of the Gulf of Mexico, forming the Florida coast east of Pensacola. The command consisted of about 400, to-wit: a part of the 37th Mississippi Regiment of Infantry, one company of Cavalry and a section of Tarrant's Battery - Sergts Turner's and Lawrence's pieces under Lieutenant Tarrant. The cavalry was commanded by Lieuts. McCurdy and Fitzpatrick, and the whole command under the orders of Col. Holland of the infantry. Our first day's march was by rails to Sparta, the county town of Conecuh, where we met with a most hospitable reception; the ladies manifesting their joy and sympathies for our cause by an invitation "to trip the light fantastic toe" at an evening party. Our soldiers accepted the honor with becoming grace. I was "a looker on in Vienna," and, judging from that position, all were exceedingly happy. Our next march brought us to Brooklyn, on the Sepulga river, where we were welcomed amid bright fgaces, the waving of white kerchiefs and miniature flags. The evening of the next march was through rain, in an unsettled region, and we bivouacked the night of the 9th of March in a storm which drenched us so thoroughly that most of the night was spent drying ourselves and our baggage by great heaps of fat pine logs; for we were without tents, making the ground and blankets our bed, the canopy of heaven our shelter. The country through which we marched next day is poor barren piney woods, with now and then a hut. We reached Yellow river next morning, which was so swollen that we were detained 21 hours. On the night of the 12th, by a forced march, we arrived at Gentsville, on McDade's Pond, the smooth and placid surface of which, with its crescent form, render it as beautiful a sheet of water as the classic little lake of Como, and worthy of a name as euphonious. If spanish and Seminole history were examined, no doubt such a name could be found. It covers about 2,000 acres, and is said to contain a variety of fine fish. Here we remained quietly until until the 18th, when Col. Holland being about to send the cavalry to the coast, and our artillery being unsuited for the expedition, 16 of us volunteered, under Lieut. Tarrant, as an artillery troop, and joined Lieut. McCurdy, making about 50 men in all. Our march, over "the land of Flowers," to my great surprise, presented to view nothing but sand hills, poor barren plains, with dwarf spruce and long-leaf pines, with now and then a scrubby black jack or live oak. The monotony of the scene, however, was occasionally broken by clear running branches, creeks, and wide rivers bordered with a rich growth of the bay, magnolia, wax myrtle and jessamine; but I saw no large bodies of rich land from Pollard to Choctawhatchie Bay. Fifteen miles this side of the coast the command was divided with McCurdy's proceeding down Boggy Bayou, and the Artillery Troop, placed under the direction of Lieut. Cannady, with his Sergeant added, was sent lower down on Rocky Bayou. Seven miles this side of the coast Lieut. Cannady obtained a guide, who conducted the Troop to a little shanty hideout in a thicket, immediately on the beach of Choctawhatchie bay, and on the premises of one Ward, a large stock-raiser, who had previously moved his residence over to a small island near the blockaders, where he could live under the protection of his Yankee friends. The deserters who inhabited the shanty seemed to have gotten wind of our approach, and we arrested only one. We, however, captured a horse, a small quantity of Yankee corn, bacon, salt fish and nice beef put up in 4 lb. Cans, with the stamp of "John W. Jones, Portland, Maine." That night, having burnt the shanty and a wagon, and fired the fence, we camped at Ward's houses, one mile from the beach, and placed out our pickets to prevent a surprise from deserters or the landing of Yankee vessels; for I am sure no Yankee foot then pressed our soil at that point of the coast. At midnight, when putting out the second relief of pickets, I enjoyed the beautiful moonlight ride of a mile down the white sandy beach, in two feet of the calmly rolling billows. We slept undisturbed. Next morning we breasted the woods and drove out 175 head of cattle to Cowpens, where we arrived at 8 o'clock at night, making a junction with McCurdy, who had driven out about 100 head. One of our men, in passing up the Bayou, fired on two deserters in a small boat, but they were too far from the shore for his shot to take effect. As we marched on during the day the deep boom of the Yankee guns could be distinctly heard, shelling the coast, I suppose, where our command had been. We learned from McCurdy's command that Col. Holland and Captain Davis joined them after we parted, and that they had a small brush with about 15 deserters who had taken to a sort of barge, killing two and sinking the boat with all on board. No casualty on our side. On the morrow we continued our march together, gathering more cattle, as we drove through wind and rain and storm, until we increased the number to 500 head; arriving safely with them on the 22nd of March at McDade's Pond. Since that time we have remained with our guns without any incident worthy of record - the soldiers amusing themselves with an occasional turkey hunt or foraging expedition: but the cavalry have been scouring the country, gathering up deserters and cattle. I learn at headquarters that some fifty prisoners have been sent back to Pollard, 1000 head of cattle to our rear, and that five deserters caught with dogs, arms in hand resisting, have been hanged. It is evident that no organized force of Yankees or deserters is posted in this region, but the deserters and conscripts are skulking - hiding out to avoid the authorities. Holley, the Representative of Covington, fled before our advance, and his property has been confiscated wherever found. It is said that he went to Santa Rosa Island. Most of the cattle, I am told, belonged to this renegade, whose malignity may cause him to induce the Yankees, if possible, to make a raid through Florida and this part of Alabama. A report of this expedition which has been published is erroneous, in that it makes the impression that the affair with the deserters was with, and the cattle captured from, the Yankees. (Source: Courtesy of Mark Curenton who also adds: "The Holley mentioned in the newspaper article from 1864 about Col. Holland's expedition to Walton County is Alfred Holley, the state representative from Covington County, Alabama. He opposed secession and voted against most of the measures in support of the war that came before the Alabama legislature. In 1864 he fled to the Union forces in Pensacola and aided them throughout the rest of the war. After the war he moved to Milton, Florida with his family and later to Pensacola, where he operated a general merchandise store until his death in 1885.")

Stations of Vessels Composing the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, May 1, 1864.
    Flagship Hartford  Off Pensacola Navy yard,
    May 3, 1864:
Sir: I have the honor to report to the department the following as the desposition of the vessels of my squadron on the 1st instance: Bloomer off the east end of Santa Rosa Island - a steamer. Charlotte off east end of Santa Rosa Island - a sailing vessel.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    D. G. Farragut,
    Rear-Admiral, Comdg. Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.
    Hon. Gideon Wells,
    Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C. (Source: Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. / Series I - Volume 21, page 235: West Gulf Blockading Squadron (January 1, 1864 - December 31, 1864), United States. Naval War Records Office, Govt. Print. Off., Washington, 1906.)

 Escape from Macon to East Pass concluded about May 1864: “On the 24th of March, 1864, the greater portion of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers was captured at Union City, Tenn., and hurried off, the commissioned officers to Macon and the non-commissioned officers and privates to Andersonville, Ga.” In Macon the officers were transferred to the county jail. From the jail three officers tunneled out and made their way to the Choctawhatchee River and down to the Choctawhatchee Bay. One of the Union sympathizers that helped them on their way was a lady who told them when they reached Choctawhatchee Bay “if we saw any vessels we might rely on their being Federal, as East Pass was closely blockaded…We had determined to go around the head of the bay and walk down the peninsula to East Pass, swim it, and then follow Santa Rosa Island to Fort Pickering (Pickens). However, they came across “Union men camping out to avoid conscript officers.” One of them owned a yawl who carried them to a Union gunboat and freedom. “We were out thirty-one days and nights from the time we left Macon, Ga., until we reached the gunboat at East Pass.” (Source: "Sketches of war history, 1861-1865; papers read before the Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1883-19": From Macon, Georgia, to the Gulf. An Escaping Prisoners Experience by William W. Murray, late First Lieutenant Company I, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers.)

Union Raid from Fort Barrancas on Marianna, September 1864:
September 15. - A detachment of three commissioned officers and forty-three enlisted men, with a smaller detachment of the Eighty-sixth United States colored Infantry, all mounted upon horses furnished for temporary use by the Second Marine Calvary, crossed Pensacola Bay and landed off Navy Cove opposite Pensacola, being the advance guard of a expedition to Marianna, Florida.
September 19. - Some 400 of the Second Maine and 200 of the First Florida Cavalry followed in the morning. The column marched in a northeast direction. (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Serial No. 90, pg. 663.)
    September 23. - Arrived at and captured Euchee Anna, Florida. Found there a squad of some twenty or thirty Rebel Cavalry of whom five were captured. The remainder of the squad escaped into the swamp, leaving everything behind.(Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Serial No. 37, pg. 61.)
    September 27. - Arrived at Marianna at 10 a.m. the town held some 400 of the enemy, 150 of whom were cavalry. The rest home guards under command of Colonel [Alexander B.] Montgomery, commanding Rebel district of West Florida. They were strongly posted behind buildings, etc. Our troops were ordered to charge into the town. The advance battalion from the Second Maine faltered and halted. The Second Battalion went bravely forward and through the town in chase of the enemy's cavalry, who were hastily decamped on our approach. The colored detachment were promptly brought up in front of the Episcopal Church, behind which one company of home guards were posted. They (the colored troops) dismounted under a galling fire of buck balls delivered at a range of thirty yards and, fixing their bayonets, charged over the church yard fence compelling the enemy's company to surrender, killing and wounded some eighteen. (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Serial No. 90, pg. 663.)
    September 30. - ...the General arriving...steamed up to Point Washington...took on 75-80 prisoners captured in the Marianna engagement. (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Serial No. 32, pg. 396.)
    October 1. - The effective strength of the regiment was at Washington Point, Florida on return from expedition to Marianna, Florida. Continued the march that day to a point on the beach about six miles from East Pass.
    October 2. - Marched to East Pass.
    October 3. - Crossed Santa Rosa Inlet in two small schooners and a scow and marched two to three miles, when we bivouacked for the night. Continued the march to Fort Pickens and crossed over to Barrancas in steamer. Since that time the main body of the regiment has been in camp, sending out frequent details for lumber and fatigue (forage?). (Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Serial No. 37, pgs. 61-62.)

Escape from Andersonville to East Pass concluded November 11, 1864: On October 9, 1864 three Union soldiers escaped from Andersonville prison in Georgia. They made their way down the Choctawhatchee River to Choctawhatchee Bay. With assistance from some local Union sympathizers and just good people they made it to the Bay where they were provided transportation by boat to East Pass. At East Pass they went aboard a Union gunboat. "From East Pass we were sent to Barancas, Pensacola Harbor." (Source: Personal Narratives of Events in the War of the Rebellion, being papers read before the Rhode Island Soldier and Sailors Historical Society, by Charles M. Smith.)

(Note: "In late March of 1865, Armistead's Brigade patrolled southern Alabama and western Florida trying to determine where the Union army under Major-General E.R.S.Canby and Major-General Frederick Steele was moving and how strong their forces were. Colonel C.G. Armistead, in command of the 6th and 8th Alabama Cavalry Regiments, was ordered to patrol the Pensacola and Pollard Road to determine if Major-General Steele would move on Pollard and advance on Selma or turn towards Blakely." (Armistead's Brigade Mar/Apr/may 1865-Mobile Campaign: Union and Confederate Dispatches) On March 26, 1865 Union forces occupied Pollard as part of the Mobile Campaign.)

HEADQUARTERS,
   Canoe Station, March 21, 1865.
   Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
Dispatch from Keyser just received says enemy were landing at Milton yesterday morning from four steamers, and had three more steamers coming up. They report that they have 1,000 cavalry and one battery of artillery there, and that their destination is Greenville; that 40,000 troops have gone out from Pensacola toward Pollard, and that heavy force has gone out from Choctawhatchee, and the three columns are to concentrate at Greenville.
    C. G.Armistead,
    Colonel, Commanding. (Source: War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Correspondence, Etc., Series I, Vol. 49, Part II, page 1138.)

HDQRS.
    Eastern Division, District of the Gulf,
    Blakely, March 22, 1865-11.30 a. m.
    Colonel George G. Garner,
    Chief of Staff, Mobile:
Colonel Spence reports (8 a. m.) that they failed to capture enemy's pickets at Dannelly's Mills last night, as chain pickets were too close to the main body. Discovered only infantry as yet; no force has landed on bay shore. Dispatch from Davenport that this force is Sixteenth Army Corps, under Steele. Colonel Armistead sends dispatch from Canoe Station, 5 p. m. yesterday, that his scouts saw enemy's column on Monday on Pensacola and Pollard road, and forces have been moving from navy-yard to Boggy Bayou for some time, and that a column will move from that place. From the mass of reports received by me I endeavor to select for your information the most probable and reliable.
    ST. Jno. R. Liddell,
    Brigadier-General, Commanding. (Source: War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Correspondence, Etc., Series I, Vol. 49, Part II, page 1142.) 

HEADQUARTERS
    District of West Florida,
   
Barrancas, May 15, 1865.
   
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. Christensen,
    Asst. Adjt. General, Army and Division of West Mississippi:
COLONEL: I have the honor to inclose copy of a communication just received from Commander James F. Armstrong, commanding navy-yard, Pensacola, in reference to the surrender of Tallahassee and Saint Mark's, Fla., to our forces on the 9th instant, and also the surrender of the rebel steamer Spray. There are, however, still several mounted bands of rebel desperadoes this side of Choctawhatchee River, who, although included in Dick Taylor's surrender, continue in arms against the United States Government, with their principal camps near Marianna, Fla., and Elba, Ala.; and to compel these rebels to lay down their arms, also to relieve the interior of West Florida from lawless bands of deserters from our army, robbing indiscriminately the people of both parties, I would respectfully renew my request for the return of the mounted portion of the Second Maine and First Florida Cavalry, or if that should be impossible, I would request that another small cavalry force be ordered here for the purpose of pacifying fully this portion of country.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    A. Asboth, Brigadier-General, Commanding. (Source: War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Correspondence, Etc., Series I, Vol. 49, Part II, page 797.)

(Note: On June 30, 1911 W. C. McLean, a lawyer and Walton County resident, wrote this letter to the State Board of Pensions giving his account of his service with the 6th Alabama Cavalry at Milton, Freeport, Boggy Bayou and Choctawhatchee Bay.)

W.C. McLean Letter, June 30, 1911:
Hon. Jefferson Bell:
Dear Sir:
Your’s June 28, 1911 stating that the Board of Pensions asked me furnish them a statement of my service & whereabouts from 1863 until the close of the Civil War. I enlisted the army in 1863 at or near Geneva, Ala. The next day my company was ordered to Pollard Alabama, remaining there some time & was attached to the 6th Ala. Cavalry. I with the company was then ordered to Blue Mountain Alabama, where the command remained a long time doing scouting duty. From there we were ordered to the left wing of Johnson’s Army above Atlanta, and I was at the battle of New Hope Church near Kennesaw Mountain; we remained at the left wing of this army doing picket & scouting duty, engaged in several cavalry skirmishes with the right wing of Sherman’s cavalry until the Confederate army fell back at or near Atlanta. The regiment & my company was then ordered back to Pollard, Alabama. My company was then detached from the regiment. Prior to this detachment, my company & regiment was at different times dismounted & sent to different points in Mississippi & Mobile, Alabama (in anticipation I suppose of threatened raids by the enemy). After returning to Pollard, Alabama, and to our horses, my company was ordered to take camp between Pollard, Alabama, and Milton, Florida. Our duty at this point was to stand guard at Milton, Santa Rosa County, Florida, and watch the blockading vessels and prevent landing of Yankees, also to patrol the Choctawhatchee Bay and as far up as Freeport in Walton County, and Boggy Bayou in Walton County where Federals had frequently landed making raids in the country stealing horses & cattle & capturing prominent citizens. We were also engaging in capturing deserters who were numerous in Walton County (on Yellow River). The country was full of deserters from both armies, hiding out, living upon the people’s cattle and provisions. My company, after detachment from the regiment, was never all together at the same time. It was ordered to different points up and down the Bay, in squads of ten and fifteen. I was with one or other other of these squads all the time. While on one of these scouts in Walton County within 30 miles of my then & now home, I came home on leave of absence granted by my Captain; while at home on this leave of absence, the Yankees came out in large numbers from Pensacola to Pollard, Alabama, moving to Montgomery and Atlanta to gain Sherman. The country was full of Yankee soldiers. The different squads of my company, as well as the entire company, was cut off from the main army or any portion of it. It was impossible for them to get back to the army. I was at home on leave of absence, when the army actually surrendered, because I cond (could) not return. The whole company was at home at the actual surrender, including the Captain & Lieutenant (afterwards Senator) A. L. McCaskill. The different squads reached home at different times. It was come home or do without provisions being unable to communicate with or reach the army. This all occurred in the closing days of the war. No member of that company was a deserter and would, if it had been possible to reach the army, been with the army until the sound of the last gun had died away. I protest being adjusted a deserter, and assert that no member of the Pension Board, however Brave and loyal could have acted otherwise than myself or so company under the the (sic) then existing circumstances.
    Respectfully, W. C. McLean (Source: Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County Vol. XXIII Issue 76 Spring 1999: Mark Curenton.)

Some Boggy area residents that served in the Civil War and their units:

James T. Bolton Gravemarker Dorcus

Isaac Spence enlisted 03/02/1862, age 19
First Florida Vols. Co. E
(Confederate unit formed at Camp Walton, FL)
Severely injured and captured 08/26/1864 Dalton, GA.
P.O.W. at Ill., Released 06/09/1865
Boggy resident on 07/30/1909 when filed for pension.

William Nathey enlisted 04/09/1863
6th Alabama Cavalry, Co. I
(Confederate unit formed in Santa Rosa Co., FL)

Simeon Wilder Burlison enlisted 12/13/1863
First Florida Vols. Cavalary, Co. A
(Union unit formed at Fort Barrancas, FL)
d. 02/05/1907
Buried at Rocky Memorial Cemetery, Niceville

James T. Bolton enlisted 01/19/1864
First Florida Vols. Cavalry, Co. B
Union unit formed at Fort Barrancas, FL)
d. 01/13/1925
Buried at the Dorcus Baptist Church Cemetery (picture left).

John Bolton enlisted 01/25/1864
First Florida Vols. Cavalry, Co. B
(Union unit formed at Fort Barrancas. FL.)

Simeon Burlison (Resident Boggy, Walton Co.), Declaration for Increase of Pension, July 5, 1900

Increase in Pension Application, Simeon Burlison, 1900

Pensacola News Journal  (May 11, 1906, reprint from Defuniak Breeze): An Old Relic

Civil War Sword found by George Nathey

Rebecca Bolton Burleson (Resident Boggy, Walton Co.), February 5, 1907: Widow's Application For Accrued Civil War Pension.

Rebecca Bolton Burleson Widow Pension Application

Pensacola Journal. (February 12, 1907) -see Civil War Pension Increase Application, July 5, 1900, and Widow's Application for Accrued Pension, February 7, 1907 above.

Report of death of Sam Burleson

Isaac Spence, Resident of Boggy, Florida  July 30, 1909 Civil War Pension Claim - pages 2 and 3 (floridamemory.com):  

Isaac Spence Civil War pension application

Isaac Spence Civil War pension application page 3