The Battle of Marianna was a small but significant engagement on September 27, 1864, in the panhandle of Florida during the American Civil War. The Union victory over Confederates and militia defending the town of Marianna was the culmination of a substantial Federal cavalry raid into northwestern Florida.
Marianna, the home of Florida's ardent secessionist Civil War governor, John Milton, was an important supply depot and recruiting/mustering center for Confederate militia and reserves. By late 1864, it was the largest Northwest Florida town still in Confederate hands. A July 1864 raid from St. Andrews revealed the region's potential vulnerability to a larger expedition.
On September 18, 1864, a mounted column of 700 Union troops under Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth set out from Fort Barrancas near the Federally-occupied city of Pensacola and rode eastward on a raid through Northwest Florida. The thinly spread local Florida cavalry was unable to provide adequate warning of the size, location, and approach of the raiders. This left regional Confederate commander Col. Alexander B. Montgomery guessing as to the Federal objective and strength, leading to critical delays in calling up reserves and telegraphing for assistance in containing the raiders.
As the raid progressed, the Union cavalry fanned out, destroying or confiscating local foodstuffs and supplies. The Federal troopers captured or scattered a small, mixed company of militia/volunteer Confederate cavalry at Eucheeana on September 23. To disguise his intentions, Asboth had a detachment destroy Douglas' Ferry on the Choctawhatchee River, closing passage along the direct road to Marianna. He then proceeded along an alternate route that would take his expedition northwest of Marianna. On September 26, 1864, his mounted troopers skirmished with Capt. Alexander Godwin's cavalry around Campbellton, only a few miles from Marianna. General Asboth rested his weary men in preparation for a fight at M...