"Today in Florida History"
of the first cross-peninsula railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Key was completed
today. David Levy Yulee, United
States Senator from Florida, was the driving force behind this railroad. Although used very little because of the outbreak of the War
between the States in April, the railroad made Cedar Key a major urban site in
the immediate postwar years. (See
Charles Fishburne, History of Cedar Key)
1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck seized the blockade-running British steamer Lauretta off the Indian River Inlet today.
The Lauretta was
carrying a cargo of salt.
1901 W. V.
Knott assumed the office of Treasurer of the State of Florida today.
Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company was chartered today. The home offices of the firm were located in Jacksonville.
Canera beat Tommy Loughran in a heavyweight title bout in Miami.
Presbyterian Congregation of Jacksonville was established today.
K of the 2nd United States Infantry, under the command of Lieutenant William
Alburtis, today fought two engagements with the Seminoles at Orange Creek
bridge, near Fort Brooke. The
American causalities were 3 enlisted men killed, 1 enlisted man missing and
presumed killed, and 6 enlisted men wounded.
The Seminole force number between 70 and 100, while the American force
consisted of only about 20 men.
1861 John B.
Galbraith assumed the office of Florida Attorney General today.
from the Federal gunboat Sagamore
attempted to capture the Confederate blockade-runner Florence
Nightingale as it was loading a cargo of cotton in Mosquito Inlet near
New Smyrna. The Sagamore shelled the area from its position at sea and then
sent men on barges to capture the ship. The
captain of the Nightingale set
fire to the ship to prevent its capture. Confederate
forces on land repelled the Federal boarding crews.
The fire on the blockade runner were then extinguished, and the Nightingale
successfully put to sea despite having lost its main mast and most of its
General Pierre Beauregard arrived at Camp Milton on McGirt’s Creek. He was seeking to organize three infantry brigades under
General J. J. Finegan and Alfred H. Colquitt, a cavalry brigade under Colonel
Robert H. Anderson, and an artillery brigade under Lieutenant Colonel Charles
1865 In an
effort to avoid capture by the U.S.S.
Fox, the crew of the blockade runner Rob
Rey ran her ashore and set fire to her in Deadman’s Bay. The cargo removed from the blazing ship by the crew of the Fox
consisted of cavalry sabers and farm implements.
first organizational meeting of the Florida Audubon Society was held today in
Maitland. The Society’s immediate
purpose was to stop the slaughter of the hundreds of thousands of Florida’s
plume birds for the sole purpose of providing decorations to the latest hats
worn by women.
L. Ritter of Miami, Judge of the U. S. Court for the Southern District of
Florida, was impeached today.
He was accused of a variety of judicial improprieties.
He was convicted by a vote of 56-28 in the United States Senate on the
charge of bringing the court into disrepute.
He was found innocent of six additional charges.
was the final day Florida orange growers were allowed to used a coal-tar-based
orange dye to enhance the appearance of Florida oranges.
Traditionally, citrus growers had immersed oranges in vats of this dye to
make them uniformly bright orange.
United States today launched the Pioneer 10 spacecraft on its voyage to the
planet Jupiter. The Pioneer 10 will
come with 100,000 miles of the planet for four days before traveling to the edge
of the solar system. The Pioneer 10
carries a record containing greetings from Earth and information about our
planet directed toward any extraterrestrial beings that might intercept it in
World unveiled the world’s largest cylindrical sundial today in ceremonies in
refugees from the newly established United States of America and British
military officers in St. Augustine were treated to benefit performances of
“The Beau Stratagem” and “Miss in Her Teens” by the local theatrical
groups. British officers were awaiting the final transfer of military
and civil authority to the Spanish.
and West Florida were unified under the control of General Andrew Jackson today.
by Seminole warriors at camp Izard and unable to be re-supplied, General Edmund
P. Gaines ordered his men to kill their horses and mules for food.
United States Congress appropriated $1,061,816 for the prosecution of the Second
Seminole War and ordered a vigorous prosecution of hostilities.
was admitted into the United States as the twenty-seventh state today. President John Tyler signed the act of admission.
States naval forces, under the command of Flag Officer Samuel DuPont, today
reported that they had control of Cumberland Island and Sound, Fernandina and
Amelia Island, and the river and town of St. Mary’s.”
Fort Clinch on Amelia Island was occupied by forces from the U.S.S.
Ottawa and became the first Confederate fort to be re-taken by Union
forces. The Federal navy also
captured the Confederate steamer Darlington
with a cargo of military supplies. Confederate
forces retreated inland, carrying their heavy guns.
1865 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle captured the blockade runner Phantom
as she attempted to enter the Suwannee River.
The Phantom was carrying
a cargo of liquors and bar iron.
Federal naval squadron of twelve steamers and four sloops, commanded by
Commander R. W. Shufeldt, today joined Federal army troops commanded by
Brigadier General John Newton in an assault
on St. Marks Fort below Tallahassee. Although
the attack on the fort was unsuccessful, Federal ship succeeded in blockading
the mouth of the St. Mark’s River. Confederate
officials anticipate that this was the opening gambit in a campaign to capture
Tallahassee “Democrat” was
International Greyhound Racing Association was formed today in Miami.
The purpose of the Association was to establish standards for the sport.
1969 At Cape
Canaveral, NASA launched Apollo 9 in its first test of the lunar module.
Keith Call assumed the position of Florida Territorial Representative in the
United States House of Representatives today.
1824 On this
date, Tallahassee officially became the capital of Florida.
Governor William Pope Duval, the first Territorial Governor, issued the
D of the 2nd United States Infantry, under the command of Captain E. K. Barnum,
engaged in battle with a group of Seminoles today on the Ocklawaha River.
Two American enlisted men were wounded.
Seminole casualties were unknown.
of the United State 4th Artillery and 5th Infantry were attacked today by
Seminoles near Big Cypress Swamp. The
American casualties were 12 enlisted men killed, six enlisted men wounded, and
one officer, a Lieutenant Freeman, wounded.
Seminole casualties were not determined.
Stephen R. Mallory was confirmed by the Confederate Congress as the Secretary of
the Navy. Tow of Florida’s
Representatives, Jackson Morton and James B. Owens, vehemently oppose his
Federal ship, U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba
captured the sloop, O.K., of
the coast near Cedar Keys today. While
being taken to St. Mark’s, the O.K.
1863 The U.S.S. James S. Chambers seized the blockade-running Spanish
sloop Relampago and schooner Ida
today. The Ida,
beached at Sanibel Island, could not escape and was destroyed by a crew from the
Federal flotilla recently assembled and which assaulted St. Mark’s yesterday
landed 1,000 Union troops near St. Mark’s lighthouse.
The troops prepared to move inland.
In Tallahassee, Confederate authorities were hastily assembling whatever
forces they can muster to stave off the anticipated attack on the capital city.
T. Walls, a Virginia-born African-American, was sworn into office today to begin
his five-year tenure as a member of the United States House of representatives
1886 S. W.
Prichard of Haines City was elected the first president of the Florida State
Teachers’s Association at its meeting in DeFuniak Springs. The FSTA was later re-named the Florida Education
Bryan Owen began the first of her two terms in the United States House of
Representatives from Florida’s Fourth Congressional District.
the Florida House of Representatives approved the Equal Rights Amendment by a
vote of 84-3, it was not considered in the Florida Senate.
companies of United States troops from Pensacola landed in Tampa Bay today to
establish Fort Brooke. The City of
Tampa grew up around this fort.
and exchange operations at Florida’s oldest bank--the Lewis State Bank--were
started today in Tallahassee. The
bank was formed by Tallahassee resident B. C. Lewis.
1862 The U.S.S. Water Witch today captured the schooner William
Malley off St. Andrew’s Bay.
cavalry hero Captain J. J. Dickinson was today ordered to proceed with his men
to Palatka and to place himself under the command of the commanding officer of
the 4th Florida Cavalry Regiment.
forces have occupied the left bank of the St. Mark’s River as far inland as
Newport. Federal commander General
John Newton was expected to move his forces toward Natural Bridge. Federal success here will mean that Tallahassee will fall.
Confederate forces were moving to prevent the successful passage of the
Pensacola “News,” the
forerunner of the Pensacola “News-Journal,”
was founded today.
Dallas Cowboys’ receiver Michael Irvin was born today in Fort Lauderdale.
Osceola and a band of his followers were negotiating with General Edmund P.
Gaines at Fort Izard, General Duncan Clinch approached with troops and, unaware
that a parley was going on, fired on the Seminoles, dispersing their numbers.
treaty signed by Jumper, Holalatoochee (Davy), Yaholoochee (Cloud), Hoeth-lee-mat-tee
and John Ca-wy-ya, Seminole chieftains, at Fort Drane.
Terms specified that all hostilities would cease immediately and that the
followers of these individuals would be send to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
Within a few days, some 700 Seminoles were gathered near Fort Brooke
(Tampa) in preparation for departure.
Palatka Guards, a volunteer detachment of about 300 men, leaves for Fernandina
as ordered by Governor Madison Starke Perry.
E. Bragg, a Mississippi planter, West Point graduate, and Mexican War Veteran,
was named to command the Confederate forces in Pensacola.
He was a Brigadier general.
1862 The U.S.S. Pursuit today captured the schooner Anna
Belle off Apalachicola.
Federal attempt to capture Tallahassee was thwarted today by a motley collection
of Confederate troops, soldiers on leave or recuperating from medical problems,
and cadets from the West Florida Seminary (now Florida State University), at
Natural Bridge, about twenty miles south of the city.
Despite a considerable numerical advantage, the Federal troops could not
overcome the Confederates’ use of natural defenses to reach the city.
Following the failure of this Union attempt, Federal troops withdrew to
St. Marks. Tallahassee remained the
only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi to escape capture and
occupation by Union forces during the Civil War.
Two Federal efforts to cross natural Bridge were repelled this morning.
When Confederate reinforcement arrived, Union commander ordered their
troops to retreat to the safety of the naval vessels at anchor near St. Mark’s
lighthouse. Federal losses in the
Battle of natural Bridge were put at 21 killed, 89 wounded, and 38 missing.
Confederate authorities reported 3 killed, 22 wounded, and none missing.
(For more information on the Battle of Natural Bridge, see the Winter
1999 issue of “The
Florida Historical Quarterly.”
mayor Anton Cermak died of wounds inflicted when an assassin attempted to kill
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 15 in Miami.
Pope, Jr., became the first known person to water ski barefoot on Lake Eloise at
Malcolm Campbell set a world speed record of 276 mph today on the sand at
Daytona Beach. Campbell’s car,
the “Bluebird,” produced 2,500 horsepower and cost an estimated $200,000. More than 50,000 spectators watched as Campbell established
mayor of Jacksonville today issued a proclamation urging citizens of that city
to stay in their homes and to pursue their normal vocations in the face of an
anticipated Federal assault on the city. Confederate
authorities have informed the mayor that they will make no effort to defend
Federal flotilla at anchor off St. Mark’s lighthouse today weighed anchor and
sailed away. The Union attempt to
seize Tallahassee was an abject failure. The
expedition lost a total of 148 men killed, wounded or missing.
Salvador Dali Museum opened in St. Petersburg today.
“Charleston Mercury” reported that Confederate Representatives in Congress
James B. Owens and Jackson Morton continued their attack on Florida’s Stephen
Mallory, the new Confederate Secretary of the Navy, for being a self-seeker and
of having shown “bad faith toward Florida, his native state.”
Mallory was still officially a member of the United States Senate, a
position that he would continue to occupy until the Senate officially accepted
his resignation, which it did on March 11.
afternoon a Federal force of several ships and a transport with the 4th New
Hampshire Infantry aboard left Fernandina for the St. Johns River. They were joined by forces from Port Royal, South Carolina,
under the command of Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
1862 The U.S.S. Sagamore today captured the sloop Enterprise,
which had left the Mosquito Inlet for Nassau with a cargo of cotton.
General Truman Seymour asks for artillery reinforcements for Jacksonville to
ensure that the city will not be taken. He
reported that Confederate forces have moved to King’s Road and were also in
the Six-Mile/cedar Creek area.
forces left Jacksonville yesterday for an expedition into Marion County.
Their progress westward continued today and has largely been unimpeded by
Florida Confederate troops.
annual camp meeting held in Tampa by the Seventh Day Adventists.
Duncan Clinch took command of U.S. troops in Florida from General Edmund P.
Gaines. Gaines then proceeds to
Tallahassee and to the western frontier from that city.
was designated by the Florida Legislature as the seat of Dade County.
Madison Starke Perry received the first Confederate requisition of Florida
troops from Secretary of the Army L. Pope Walker.
State Board of Health concludes a rat “proofing” campaign in Pensacola that
confined an outbreak of bubonic plague to that city.
Johnston Catts, 22nd governor of Florida (1917-1921) died today at his home in
DeFuniak Springs. [For more
information, see entries for July 31 and January 2]
dancer and choreographer Bujones Fernando was born today in Miami.
Florida Legislature approved a plan for reapportionment of the Legislature with
a 117-member House of representatives and a 48-member Senate.
The plan was rejected by the United States Supreme Court after the
November 1966 state elections.
Navy divers find the crew compartment of the ill-fated Challenger
space shuttle, which exploded immediately after take-off on January 28, 1986.
The compartment contains the remains of the dead astronauts.
DiMaggio, the famous “Yankee Clipper,” died today at his home in Hollywood,
Florida. DiMaggio, whose 56 game
hitting streak in 1941 was a major league record, played thirteen years for the
New York Yankees. He was a
three-time MVP of the American League and played in 9 World Series.
Of these, the Yankees won seven. DiMaggio’s
career was cut short somewhat by a three-year stint in the military during World
War II. He was “the most complete
baseball player that ever played the game,” according to former Brooklyn and
Los Angeles Dodger Tommy LaSorda.
General Duncan Clinch leads U. S. Troops to Fort Drane, his column comes under
sustained attacks by Seminole warriors today and tomorrow.
County, Florida’s 26th county, was created today by the Florida legislature.
The county was named in honor of David Levy Yulee, prominent politician,
statesman, and railroad entrepreneur. Levy
owned a 5,000 acre plantation on the Homosassa River, where he grew sugar cane
and produced sugar. Levy was the
first United States Senator to represent the new state of Florida.
County Seat: Bronson
naval forces under Lieutenant T. H. Stevens temporarily occupied Jacksonville
Augustine has been evacuated by two companies of Confederate troops that had
been stationed there. A Federal
invasion was considered likely to happen within the next twenty-four hours.
Federal force, made up primarily of African-American troops, reoccupied
Jacksonville today. It was opposed
unsuccessfully by the Florida 2nd Cavalry and the Florida 2nd Infantry
Battalion, which retreated in the face of a bombardment from Federal gunboats.
1863 The U.S.S. Gem of the Sea today captured the sloop Petee,
which was attempting to run the blockade at Indian River Inlet with a cargo of
forces occupied Palatka this morning without opposition.
Although they did not oppose the occupation of the city, Confederate
forces were reported on the outskirts of the town. Federal forces were concerned about the location of small
river steamers used to transport troops and supplies along the St. Johns River.
Collins, the 33rd governor of Florida (1955-1961), was born today in
Tallahassee. [For more information,
see entry for January 4.]
streets of Miami erupted in riots today when the news came that a Hispanic
policeman had been acquitted in the slaying of an African-American.
County, Florida’s 23rd county, was created today by the Florida Territorial
Legislature. The county took its name from the famous Wakulla Springs, which are
nearby. The exact meaning of the
word “Wakulla” was unknown, although it was thought to be of Timucuan origin
and probably refers to “springs of water.”
County Seat: Crawfordville
Braxton E. Bragg arrives in Pensacola and relieves Major General William H.
Chase of his command of all Confederate troops in or near the city.
1862 The U.S.S. Wabash landed today in St. Augustine.
The ship’s commander, C. R. P. Rodgers, negotiates with city leaders
and occupies Fort Marion and the city. There
was no opposition.
Confederate gunboats under construction in Pensacola Bay have been burned to
prevent their capture by Federal naval forces.
forces attacked Union positions in Jacksonville today and forced the Federal
soldiers to retreat to their gunboats. Confederate
forces penetrated the city as far as the Judson House Square before retreating.
Confederate losses were placed at one man, lost or killed.
naval forces report a great deal of activity today and the capture of several
blockade runner. The U.S.S. San Jacinto reported the capture of a schooner with a
cargo of turpentine and 132 bales of cotton in the Gulf of Mexico, while the U.S.S.
Beauregard reported the capture of the British sloop Hannah
off the coast of Mosquito Inlet. The
commander of the Beauregard,
acting in concert with the Federal schooner, Norfolk Packet, pursued the British schooner, Linda,
up the Indian River Inlet. Although
Union forces were forced to take to the shore when they boat was grounded, the Linda,
lowered its sails and surrendered after shots were fired.
The British vessel was destined for new Smyrna with a cargo of salt,
liquors, coffee, and dry goods.
Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned in Fort Jefferson in Florida’s Dry Tortuguas,
was released today after being pardoned by President Andrew Johnson. Mudd had been convicted of being part of the conspiracy to
kill Federal President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
Mudd set the broken leg of actor John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of
Lincoln. There were serious doubts
about his participation in the conspiracy in 1865 and practically no one today
believes that Mudd was in any way connected to the conspiracy.
Dr. Mudd was a distant relative of noted television correspondent, Roger
Catholic diocese of St. Augustine was formally established today.
The Very Reverend Jean-Pierre Augustin Marcellin Verot was installed as
the first bishop.
Luke’s Hospital, the oldest continuously operating hospital in Florida, opened
today in Jacksonville with two rooms and four beds.
City of DeLand was incorporated today.
Florida Branch of the national Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher
Association met today in Jacksonville. Mrs.
Arthur G. Cummer was elected president.
Seagraves established a new automobile speed record today at Daytona Beach.
He reached an average speed of 223.2 miles-per-hour in a 450 horse
powered Golden Arrow.
Territory of East Florida was declared to be in existence today on Amelia
Robert E. Lee completed and filed the “Report
of the Board of Engineers Upon Their Examination of the West and East Coast of
Florida, from Pensacola Harbor to Amelia Island” with the Chief of
Engineers, United States Army. The
“Report” made recommendations for
the establishment of military reservations along the coast.
Lee, who was the Recorder for the Board, filed his final report on March
to Confederate pickets outside Jacksonville, Federal forces occupying the city
were reinforced by the arrival of two Union gunboats today.
Miami, gunmen hijack a National Airlines DC-8 and force the crew to fly it to
1863 The U.S.S. Huntsville today seized the British blockade runner Surprise
off the mouth of Charlotte Harbor.
The Surprise was bound for
Havana with a cargo of cotton.
1864 The U.S.S. Columbine, operating in support of Union troops moving
up the St. Johns River, today captured the Confederate steamer General
Sumter on Lake George. The Sumter was carrying passengers to the Ocklawaha.
forces reported a combined Confederate force of cavalry, infantry, and artillery
was moving about six miles inland from the town of Palatka.
penalty advocates in Florida joined other advocates around the United States as
the U.S. Senate prepared to vote today on the restoration of the death penalty.
When the vote came, it was 54-33 in favor of restoration.
Faye and Jim Bakker were divorced in Tallahassee today following Jim’s
conviction and imprisonment for defrauding contributors to his “Praise the
Lord” television ministry.