Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Grave of Captain Henry Robinson

This is the grave of Captain Henry J. Robinson, a key figure in the Battle of Marianna.

Born in 1840, Robinson was only 20 years old when Florida seceeded from the Union. He originally served in Company D of the 6th Florida Infantry, a regiment mustered into the Confederate service in the spring of 1862 at the arsenal in Chattahoochee (today's Florida State Hospital).

By 1864, Robinson was a teacher at the academy in Greenwood. As Florida required all male citizens over the age of 15 to enlist in either the regular military or state militia units, he organized the boys who studied under him into a company of cadets known as the Greenwood Club Cavalry.

After completing their lessons for the day, the boys would take part in military drills led by Robinson, who also served as their captain.

On the morning of September 27, 1864, Captain Robinson was notified that a Union force was approaching Marianna and ordered to bring the boys of the Greenwood Club Cavalry to help defend the city. Many of the older men of Greenwood were unwilling to see the teenagers ride off to fight alone, so they mounted up and went with them.

The unit fought bravely at the Battle of Marianna. Francis B. Carter, a 76-year-old Greenwood resident who rode in with the boys, was killed in the fighting at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, as was Dr. M.A. Butler, another Greenwood resident who rode in with Robinson's Company.

John J. Dickson, a 59-year-old wheelwright from Greenwood who also fought with the company, was wounded in the battle by a severe blow to the head and taken prisoner. He died in a Union prison camp in New York.

Three other members of Captain Robinson's company - W.H. Kimball, T.D. Newsome and Hansel Grice - were also captured in the fighting at Marianna.

Captain Robinson was not captured during the battle, but instead was among the Confederate cavalrymen who retreated across the Chipola River. He and his men joined other Southern soldiers in tearing up the planking of the old wooden bridge and holding off Union efforts to drive them away and capture the bridge.

He did not long survive the hard times of the war, but died in 1866 and the young age of 26. He is buried at Hays Cemetery, located west of Greenwood off the Old U.S. Road. To learn more about the Battle of Marianna, please visit

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