During the Civil War, one of many small battles around Jacksonville took place at "The Brick Church." While the battle was certainly small in numbers it involved a number of military firsts.
Following the secession of the State of Florida on January 10, 1861, Lincoln began to assemble a massive amphibious naval armada in the Chesapeake Bay.
The companies forming the First Florida cavalry commanded by Col. G. W. M. Davis, spent several months in training at "Camp Davis," six miles from Tallahassee. The 1St Florida was interracial White, Latino and Black, with many Spanish speakers within the ranks. When they were assigned to the Army of Tennessee, they honored our state with intrepid gallantry at Richmond, Perryville, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. After the abandonment of Florida's coastal defenses in early 1862, several warships of the Federal Navy passed the bar and headed up the St. Johns River.
Fierce cannonade followed as they attempted to run past St. Johns Bluff and Yellow Bluff Forts, and several gunboats were seriously enough damaged to be forced to return to the fleet base. St. Johns Bluff fell to a 1,200 man invasion force that made an overland (salt marsh) trek from Mount Pleasant Plantation to the Confederate batteries, sadly indefensible from a land approach.
Article by Robert Mann
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