We left our lovely wooded Corp of Engineers campground just outside of Montgomery, Alabama yesterday morning and continued driving south toward Florida. It was a beautiful day with lots of sun and temperatures hovering around the high seventies. Maybe spring has sprung and the rest of April will be nice. We sure hope so.
Once we arrived in Florida we turned east and followed State route 73 about 15 miles and entered the little hamlet of Marianna. It was the site of a little known but very significant Civil War battle. It fact, it occurred right in front of Larry and Ruth’s house, which was our destination.
In September 1864 a force of 700 Union soldiers, including the mounted Buffalo Soldiers, a renowned group of black cavalry, entered Marianna, trying to determine how significant the Confederate forces were. General Sherman was marching south through Georgia and in that effort, was destroying everything in his path as he attempted to divide the South. He needed to know whether he should turn east and move toward Atlanta or continue south and enter Florida in search of the Confederate forces.
The union troops marching through the pan handle of Florida were searching for Confederate troops to provide information of their strength for General Sherman. The Battle of Marianna convinced the Union forces that the bulk of the Confederate troops were up near Atlanta so, as a result of this battle, Sherman turned east and attacked Atlanta.
During the Battle of Marianna, the local Confederate troops were routed, however, a number of buildings were destroyed and the mansion where Larry and Ruth live was struck by numerous bullets and a cannonball blew a hole its roof. This house, which Larry and Ruth have restored, was built in 1840 and is known as the Ely-Criglar Mansion is one of Florida’s most beautiful antebellum homes. During the Reconstruction era, freed African Americans held political rallies in the pecan grove behind the house. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places.
When we arrived, we had to park LeuC across the street, behind a restaurant so that we and Larry could figure at a way to bring LeuC onto their property. Their driveway is very narrow with palms and other trees lining the driveway.
However, after pacing the driveway and measuring its width in numerous places, we decided we could squeeze in if we tied back a number of palm fronds and cut a few of them down. With this done, I hopped into LeuC and brought her over. Mary Margaret directed me in and soon we were safe and sound in Larry and Ruth’s backyard.
After hugs and kisses we received a tour of their remarkable house and beautiful grounds. Wow! It was like stepping back in time and being in the 1850s. I will let the photos I took do the talking as my words would not do justice.