The Battle of Marianna took place 150 years ago and marked the start of the last stage of the American Civil War in Florida. Union Brigadier General Alexander Asboth in Pensacola as commander of the Union’s District of West Florida decided to raid the small town of Marianna, home of Florida Governor John Milton and rumored location of Union prisoners and great munitions..
Asboth took 700 mounted soldiers into the hills of Panhandle Florida. The only Confederate forces in the area was 350 men, some from Alabama and the remnants of the local militia, but this small band barricaded the main street entrance. It took two full charges for the Union army to crash into the local defenses and fighting continued on a block by block basis across the town.
Union troops burnt down the local Episcopal Church where defenders were housed. Some forty Confederates finally surrendered when their ammunition ran out. Rebel losses included 10 dead and 16 wounded; Union forces lost 8 dead and 10 missing and 19 wounded, including General Asboth who received severe arm and facial wounds.
Finding no weapons or Union prisoners, the Union army withdrew to Pensacola. The Battle of Marianna was unique for it was an urban clash in Florida’s Civil War.