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Title: Battles Of Gainesville
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Title: Battles Of Gainesville
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Ellis, H. Reed
Publication Date: 1961
Copyright Date: 1961
Subject: Civil War
Spatial Coverage: Gainesville -- Florida
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Bibliographic ID: UF00018183
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Full Text


h, hood Ellis
February 27, 1-61


TAEL. OF CCu1Ll: P ae

The First Battle of Gnainoeville *,,v,.,,..,,, 1
Commerants on the FYr:;t Battle of Galnesvilleo 5. b
bny of troup Marches concerned with the
First Battle of Gainrceville .,,,,..**,* ,,, E-1
The Second Battle of Gainesville ,,,,,,*w,,,** 7
Cota.ents on the Second Butole of GainuTville 10

Eap of Troop Iarchez concerned .-ith the
&ocond Battle of Gainvsville a *,,,.,***,, -.
Bibliography, ,... ,*,. ,. .. .. ,',* 'XI


There vero no juardUirn angels;. riding over
the Fedreral ca..paigns in Florid;, during the early

months of 1864. Abraham& Lincoln, nislod by widespreadd
reports of aissntisfaction ar-.ong Floridians with the

Confedcerate guverrunmnt, ordered Generai ,eyA.our, who

comLanded the Union troops of the Florida District,

to spearhead an attack uwon the iouthcrn forces in
the area so that "loyal" Floridians night be encour-

aged to rally around Old Glory once again.

As a part of this ca.i.,ig-n, a raiding party of'
fifty men from the Foaketh Eassnachusetts Calvary
coz;andad by Captain 0, E. Marshall marched from
Sanderson Stati,,n to Gaincsvillb, Florida, wdth

orders tu destroy any railro-nd ears in th;it vicinity*
According to Federal repurts, i..ri-hali and his ten

arrived in Gainosville around noon on Tebruary 14th
and ir-mouiately cr. ctod a breastwork of cotton b.le!T
'o serve as protection against any unexpected Confed-

orate attack. ( 2: ::c) 'This liurovised fort formed a

barricade around the town :-quire and extended ;icruss

four conv.,rging streets. That evon.ing the Union forue
w'as attacked by two coz'.panles of pf Conurifed.r:.to fCalvary

und,;r the coimiand of Captain J, J, Dickison. The

attack was easily roeulied by the Vorthern soldiers, a.,ho
w'.'ere stationed in a more favorable p-sition behind

their cotton enclouuro, and the boutherners retreated,.
The Federals occuyiud Caii:esvillo for fifty-six hours
and than returned to Gacksonville on Februany 17th.
In accordance 'ith previous instructions, no private
property was molested or destroyed by tho raiders,
and the invaders even distributed Confedor:toa stores
among the neudy inhabitants. (:s 2t7)
The colorful, but son.orvhat difflrcnt, Confuder-
ate account is related by LD-wcence Jackson and W. P,
Settleworth, two rebel privates rho fought in the
skirttish. According to this report, Compo:ny C of

the :.-nd Florida Calv.ary numbering from 100 to 150
men under the com=znd of Ca;t.in ';. .. Chambers
engaged a Uniun force at Gainorville on February lth.
The Confuderatos had camped in or near Gaine5viller

the previous night en route to Lake City to join thu
gathering army of General finnugan, which w5,,s later
to battle and defeat the enemy at Olustee or Ocecn
Pond near Lake City. The Company marched from G;ain-
usville the nc;t morning after the Len had received
several bouquets of fluvers from the town's patriotic
nldies, and that same day thoy w :re overtL:ken in
ievrwm:nsville by a counter from Gainesville who reported

that the Fedor2.ls hnd arrived Just :..ftor Ch --berst
command had left. A vote ':,as taken cmong the men, and

it was decided to return to G:.inesvill in an effort to
relieve the occupied community* Chamb.tcrs ordered a


leisurely march b:..ck to town, and the coinn.and m.zde

several ret stops long the way, About four miles
from their destination, Chiinborts force iv; joined

by a few old men anrid boys, who were coB&antied by Col-

oel Louis Pyles of the c-nd ilorio.a egiuent. iyles

hud been ~wouncd and ,was home on leavo from the Con-
federate army, It wv.s decided aLwong the officers

to enter Oninesvillo by vsay of t;.o ruaids* Chambors

and his men through Cunningham Latfe then up Liberty

Street (West University Avenue) and Pylest small

force via iest Yzin (North IaLn Street), W'hen the
rebel force cormmandcd by Chambers wi.s quite near the

Federal barricado, Lieutenant iarmucl ieddick called

for volunteers to follow hi. in a charge on the breast-
work, Twelve to fifteen v-lantoured, and they advanced
in two columns towards the cotton bales. (8t letter

of Jacitson and rettlev.orth to Sanchez) During the

struggle which ensued, Conflsdertoe Sergeccnt '.'orrington

was killed near the prczunt corner of oest University

Avenue and U, WV Ist btrcut, Several Confedorete horses

wore killed, and Lieutenant Reddick was seriously in-

Jured, The attack'. cv;;_ re_,ulled by the ytankees, and
the rebels retreated to Lne !-,tL;art place, eilht mail:s

west of town where thuy spent the remainder of the

night. When Company C returned the next morning, they

found that the Federals wero gone ind hud taken a

largo number of negro slaves vi.th them. Chambers


pursued the invad-eirs half way to Waldo ur.d then

returned to Gainesville.

One Conf(der-te, observing the fact that 'yles

and his men 'ailed even to pm.ako :n i aranco at

the coneo of the fight, and witnesring the fe.ir of

Chanbors grow no the command cuame closer and closer

to the Uniun enclosure, 5;cid, The ;ctlon w.s anything

but credible to the oufficc:s in charge of the Con-

foderato troops." (8: lettur Ifrow J.:ckron ;.rid ettle-

worth to banchez)

Cocarents on the First Battto of* Gainesville

As the render will notice there are a few in-
congruous stntementt which : i,,aor in those ru,orts,

;nd I wouldd l1ke to co".eont u1,on thr C. The firr t

discrepancy tha-it X woula like to discuss concerns

the date of the sair:ish. If the Federals occupied

Chinosville for fifty-six hours and arrived in Caines-

vLle around noon on the 14th, as .e are told .n the

official records, then it -oul~i only ::en logic.ul

that the skirmish with the Confu..rates .would Occur
on the evening ofthe lCth, and the Federals would

have left about 8:., P# V. that night. lilliarn atson

Davis in his book, Civil ',art ;.nd Reconstruction inr

Florida, snupiorts thi!: vicr, Ofcourse there iJ. the

possibility that the battle was on the evening of
the Lth, but this does not seem to me to be likely

If the above a.re true then the ConfU-. rate force

Votuld hnvej delayed their return for t;,.o days while e

the hr.e~- &rid business' of their friends and loved
ones rer.ainod in neomy hands, or tho Fedoerls vouldd

have occupied Caineivillo fur less then a day: nd

would have vpoent tv'o and one-h:Alf days and throo nights

wandering around the country fi;de before arriving : in

Jacksonville on the 1.7th. The Confeuderate account
suggests that thu battle w:;-i on the evening of the

15th of FebruCry, but if thi wvre true then the

Fedorals would have occu.;icdl O0ainesville for less

thirty-two hours. or the Northcrn forces wuuld huve



arrived on the 13th about noon. Both of the above

possibilities ure in conflict with the official


The second discordant remark which I feel
needs clarification concerns the officer in command

of the Confederate forces. The Federals firmly be-

lieve that they had defeated the intrepid J. 4J

Dickison and stated so in their report. However,

as other facts show, the officer in command was Cap-

tain-t7 EB# P'&atV5 Dickison was at the time of

Chambers departure from Palatka, soimevhore along

the St. Johns River on picket duty.

Finally, the Federal report stated that two com-
janies of Confederate calvary were engaged in the

attack, but the facts show that only one company was
engaged in the battle. However, there were two

attacking rebel columns.


In Aucuat of 16641 the sotdt- of conflict were

soen once again In Galnei.'vlle uith the arrival of

a laroc Federal raiding party, This r.,iding pvrty
under the cocamund of Colo;:el Andrew.' Linturn Harris

was composed of men fror. the 75th Ohioj the 40th

s^sachuetts Volunteer Calvary, and the .rd rihodc

Island. This UniL.n force -&as art of:. g1Lnural
Federidl offen-ive and wa"i given the very important
responsibility of occupying Gainesville, which was
at this tiieo a v.-ry valuable railroad derot to thu

Confed,..racy, IWirrist co0.,nd :,:arched froun Baldwin on
the morning of the l. th to 'ta tre, ai u the next day they

resumed their L.arch to Grtinesville, which e, coached
on the morning of the 17th about 6l:0, A* M, after an

all night trek. 'ihile tht troop w: !L. eating Ibreakfast
near what is now the city dwurx, they were :;ccostud

quite by accident by a small force of old men and

boys that was placing through to.n. This sraill
group, commtandccd by Thomas F. .Ing, had no choice but

to offer tne enemy a fight, and they u e soon dis-
lodged and sent retreating: northward by the sucrior
eodLral force, (6: 6-)
The Confederatert %eore pursued by the 'ederalht

who thought th:.t they hod defeated the evasive J. J.

Dickison. After reaching the cent-.r of to-n, the.
raiders disorCanized near the Court House und set

to plundering and raiding public end private buildings.

Thile his men w ere in the tmiCst of these U0,oeratiuns,

Harris vw/rs inforv.ed by hin, picket couth of town that
a l-rge rebel force was r:proaching. This time the

Federcis wcre the ones who ;,ere: surprised. The nmen of

the 4Lth Massaichusetts wt'ore in the cciiter of town

Aith the one piece of Federal artillery pjlced in their

roar near the Bovillo House (the present site of tho
;'ool ,orth Company). The men of the 75th Ohio were

near the railroad dopot in the south of toin,: and

there .:-ere other mrallt'r groups scattrae,- in other
*.reas of the community. The Ccnfuderate attack led

by Captain JS 5, Dickison began at about 7G00 A. ..
w..'ith the .ri cipal fi;htini taking ?lace near the

oui,'ot. The Union troops i rcp' red for the attack

the best that they could v.ith such short notice,,

the 7bth Ohio formed rightt :'.nd left flank, both
of which routed onr a o'z'.ip, n:ar the coa.ot1 and the

4.th Eassachusetts w:.as held n reo-ervc, l'ickintn vca
hola in chLck for a 11hClle, but the South..rn trtoUO's

i-uedi'tely began to surround the Union position via

other rounds. Harrist position b-cav.c homeless when

his chief of artiil, ry rt'.ortu; that the h-;lt:.t'r -.

almost out of arm-unitiun, ..nd his Len reu:ortea that

they h:,d only a few -ore rounds left, About ',:u,
having hold the eneCLy in check' for two hours, Harris

ordered a general retrutt., The Tlst organiLed Union

resistance .-aE in front of the Deville House, and from

that point, the invr.ders foll into complete retreat*

The entire Union force w;.- in choose. Cu.rta.in Lorton,

leading the retreating 'oieral colu:.,n with the houvitzer,

by mistt.;e tuok the road to Nic'r.ainvillo instead of the

road to Walao. harris-had urdLered his cowx.and to rutroat
up the WYaldo road with the hop.o that they would d meet

the superior force of Colonel 4, h. Tloble, ho:. Harris

believed to be between :gnoulia and rt-.rke. Harris,

realizing Nortonts amiitake pursued and overtook himm

a few miles from Gainusville, -nd their combined
force detourea around the town until the V: 1 do road

was reached. Here they v.-ere attackc:d by Diciisonts

men once again and the artillery I.icc ..e.r C,. areId.
After this incident, Harri- .ith thirty-cight of his
ren took off in an oestorly direction until they met

the Bellamy rod, which v: s about fifteen ruile, froth,
Gainesville, (i. ..) 4)
Harriso b.rictud .th t the ConfudCrato strenght

was from C000 to 800 men, while actually only 17v
rebels vwero engaged cowcpared to the Union nuboer of

around P'bO men. The Union defeat v.o, cou2ilete.

Total losses nurburod .1. for the Feioderils, 'while

the Confederates hbad only tw-o killed and three wounded,
Reports later showed that this nas an ity.ortant

Confederate victory for it secured south and central

Florida for the Confederacyduring the rcLiaindrer of the

war, (4s 1)


Cor-zonts on the Sccond Battle of Gaine:wvllle -10-

It :1 d be. yu.:l.ib for D to rec nize t
aver ofr eac uosorv nu inui dual this let -

pap Hiuw cr, I r t,-i. ti'-.i shu U c.1l atLtenrtiun
t t'o I trnncce which at rciu d bel i.
During the thiciezt pjmrt of the fight, much to the
disuvy of the non, the lacie. of Gtinesvilll ventured

into the str uts shoutirijg .ncour-ageuent to the

Southern troops .and rope- ting the uorder of thu oiticurs.
After the battle .ilE ov(,r) th'se woroen ri dainistcred uid

to Union and Confederate aliAe and did everything in

their p;ot.or to south the ..din. of the b:.,ttle

During the ?Fed6crl retrk'at, a ci:;all rebel scouting
party of four men captured a colu:r.n Gf Union trou.pu

several timc their izoe and brought the yankeeu back

to Cainerville to join the other 1i0 prisoners of war.

Finally, I rould like to give a little 1oru, ::tton-
tion to Colonel tobletIs rch, ahbich is rmrkod on th,'

imap, Voble was ordered to adv .nce to Laio City, but
because of a mizundierstnnding, he raided the ouuntryoloe
abovo OG.inezville and thrt_.' a seven care into the in-

habitants of the Galn viotorious,"there can be little doubt that Noble with
tis colored troops r;o.ld have enturo; Oainiosvillo 4nd

probably plundered the to'-n.




1. Buchhol,, Fritz History of Alachua County.
St., Augustine: Record Company, 1i,2. p, 108-f9.,

.2, Davis, Jes.i G0, "History of Alachua County "
.Unjublished rosc:-rch pj.Aper, Gr.jinesvillo, Florida,
l',60. p. t-7*

3, Davis, Williama Watson. Civil War and heconstruc-
tion in. Florida. New YorK: Longzans,Green,
and Company, IL-13 ps `68-684; ,8-l605,

4. Dickison, John J, ii.ijtanry History of Florida.
Atlanta: Confedcratne i'ubiishlng Comnpany,
p. 10-1a,

5. Dickison, lUnry, DL.iicon and His Lon. Louievilles
Courier-Journal 'rinting Company, 1i0o, p. d6- 1153

6. Hildreth, Charles Halsoy. "A history of Oaines-
ville, Florida." Unpublishea Doctor's thesis*
Gainosville: University of Florida, 1 34.
p. 47-b3,


7. Quincy Soci-ihtekly Dispatch. "Dickicon Around."
Qulncy Semi-'eem-ly Dispatch, A.ugust E 0z, .1864.
8, Sanchez, 1. C, F, F. K. Yonge memoriall Library of
Florica history, Gainesvillo, Florida,

f. [cott, Robert N., editor. The .War of the hebellion:
A Comilation of the OfCicial Recoras of the
Union and Counfedrate Ari.ios. Aashinr;ton:
Goverr mnt Printing Uffice, 1iL p. .c74-i7;
4t7-40. ,

AEflOfiAL I iTtIV IDl '.

10, Proctor, .aLuol, Cainesvllle, Florida. January
IC, lis.

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