Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue Spring was an important Confederate camp

Although most Civil War camps were temporary affairs, the one at Jackson County's Blue Spring was occupied for three years by troops assigned to protect the area from Union attacks and raids by irregular bands that secreted the swamps of the Apalachicola, Chipola and Choctawhatchee Rivers.

The spring was then part of Sylvania, the plantation of Governor John Milton who had been elected in 1860 just as war was about to erupt between the South and the North. Because of its abundant supply of fresh water, access to plentiful supplies of food from the surrounding farms and plantations and location along what was then the primary road connecting Marianna with Chattahoochee, Tallahassee and the ferry landings at Port Jackson and Bellview, Blue Spring was selected in 1862 as a site for a Confederate encampment.

The first unit documented to have been stationed at the camp at Blue Spring was Captain Richard L. Smith's Marianna Dragoons. This was an independent mounted unit raised in Jackson County during the spring of 1862. It was later consolidated with other similar companies from Alabama and Florida to become Company B, 15th Confederate Cavalry.

Other units known to have been stationed in the camp over the years 1862-1865 included, at various times, Companies E and G of the 5th Florida Cavalry and Captain Robert Chisolm's "Woodville Scouts," a militia cavalry company sent down from Alabama to help protect Marianna.  Chisolm's unit was praised by Governor Milton for the courage it showed during the Battle of Marianna and ultimately became Company I, 5th Florida Cavalry.

The camp at Blue Spring was just a small part of the beautiful landmark's history. You can learn more at or by reading The History of Jackson County, Florida: The Early Years.

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