|St. Augustine in the Civil War
ab urbe condita - 296 to 300
| 17th Connecticut Infantry
Structure of the Government in 1864
Rev. T. W. Lewis, by Government authority, has taken possession of the Methodist Church edifice in behalf
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev Brinkerhoff was the Superintendent of Contrabands (from February
1863) and a Baptist Preacher. The services he conducted at the Methodist church were nondenominational.
Greely was able to take over the Methodist building and Brinkerhoff moved to the Presbyterian Church.
Greely also preached one Sunday a month in the Episcopal church. The soldiers of 17th Conn regiment
were without a chaplain. (An agent of the Christian Commission would take over the roll of chaplain by
1865.) Another minister Rev. Greely moved from the African Methodist Church to the American Missionary
First Baptist Church
The wartime–Union occupation of the Jacksonville area enabled such black evangelists as Ivy Barnes to
travel about. Sometime during the early 1860s a small band of black Protestants in St. Augustine held
meetings in the home of Deacon John Newman. Barnes frequently journeyed from Jacksonville to St.
Augustine to exhort the faithful gathered at Newman’s home, but attracted little attention. Later, Hammie
Williams organized a Baptist Sunday School consisting of ten children, seven of whom were Catholic. The
Sunday School continued to grow, and on March 13, 1864, the First Baptist Church in St. Augustine was
organized. The church called Reverend Barnes as its first pastor. Eventually, a lot on the corner of St. Francis
and St. Benedict streets was purchased, and a wooden shack was erected as a house of worship.
On April, 1864 the 17th Connecticut was sent from Jacksonville to St. Augustine to replace the 10th
Connecticut. (See Dept of the South April 30, 1864.) It would stay through June 1865 when it would be
replaced by the regular army.. On December 24 Col. William Nobel was captured on a buggy ride to
Jacksonville (unarmed). He was taken to Andersonville where he remained to the end of the war. (Union
Notice of Capture) (Confederate notice of capture)
Almost coming home to St. Augustine
JACKSONVILLE, FLA., May 19, 1864.
Comdg. Department of the South, South Carolina:
My DEAR HATCH: I have received your order relieving the Seventeenth Connecticut Regiment from duty
at Saint Augustine and assigning Colonel Montgomery with his old regiment to that port.
I deem it so much my duty to represent to you the injury I think this change will work to the service that I
dispatch this communication by the hands of my aide, Mr. Gray, for your consideration, with
the hope that yon may be induced to reconsider and revoke your order, at least for the present. I have
assigned command of all the troops east of the Saint Johns to Colonel Noble. These troops consist of the
Seventeenth Connecticut, One hundred and fifty-seventh New York (six companies), Seventy-fifth Ohio
Mounted Infantry (six companies), and Thirty-fifth Colored, Colonel Beecher. These troops occupy the
region east of the Saint Johns, and are posted on the river as far south as Volusia. While the cavalry scout as
far as Lake Harney, my Florida scouts going much further south. This force constitutes the movable column
formed under your suggestion, and though guarding the river is held in readiness to raid on the other side; is
indeed at this time in a state of preparation to move into Marion County and thence south as much as
circumstances may dictate. I only wait to hear from my scouts to order the movement. Some of my scouts
are already operating on the trestle-work and bridges of the Florida and Tallahassee Railroad, being
perfectly prepared with inflammable substances and having been gone some days. I have no one to whom I
can entrust the movement across the river with such assurances of success and safety as to Colonel Noble. I
have no one whose judicious management and whose admirable government of the loyal people of Florida
east of the Saint Johns could equal that of Colonel Noble. I have no one who understands my plans, and
who can so well carry out my purposes (the plans and purposes we discussed) as Colonel Noble. Colonel
Noble is a man of experience, a lawyer as well as a soldier, a statesman and a gentleman. He has a regiment
of white troops whose influence and whose presence is much more favorable to the Government in winning
back loyalty settlers and refugees than could Colonel Montgomery with his colored regiment. I say nothing of
posting a regiment of black troops in Saint Augustine, for that is a matter of feeling with the inhabitants, but I
think the act would be exceedingly injudicious. I very much wish Colonel Noble to retain command east of
the Saint Johns. I am just reducing chaos to order. Colonel Noble is working out my plans and organizing the
loyal Floridians into helpers for the Government with marked success. For these reasons I trust you will allow
me to retain him. I do not know when or how to replace him. I therefore take the liberty of asking you to
reconsider your decision, and leave Colonel Noble with his regiment east of Saint Johns for the present.
I am thankful for the victories, but I pine to share them with the old Army of the Potomac.
Ever faithfully, yours,
GEO. H. GORDON,
Brigadier- General of Vols., Comdg. Dist. of Florida.
Organizing Loyal Floridians (Hartford Daily Courant, 7-12-1864)
The 17th C. V. is stationed at St. Augustine, Fla. Col. Noble writes that he is organizing the loyal Floridians,
and they perform guard duty at different points in an effective manner. One squad was recently sent into the
interior and brought back a thousand head of cattle. The members of the regiment are well, there being very
few on the sick list. Cucumbers, ripe plums, squashes, etc., are among the delicacies the soldiers are enjoying.
New Commander for St. Augustine
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
Jacksonville, Fla., August 25, 1864.
Col. W. H. NOBLE,
Commanding at Magnolia:
COLONEL: The brigadier-general commanding directs the following disposition to be made of the
Seventeenth Connecticut Volunteers:
The regiment will form the garrison at Saint Augustine and Picolata. Six companies, including the smallest
companies, to take post at Saint Augustine, under the command of the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment;
four companies to be stationed at Picolata, under the command of the major of the regiment. You will remain
for the present in command of the forces at Magnolia.
By order of Brig. Gen. John P. Hatch:
EDWARD L. ROGERS,
Major 104th Pennsylvania Vols., A. A. A. G.
Report on the Captured 10th Soldiers (Hartford Daily Courant 11-29-1864)
After long months of anxiety and suspense as to the twenty-two men of our regiment captured at St.
Augustine in December last, the story comes to us that the survivors of them are at Andersonville where a
number of them have already died. Shepard of Co. A, and Chesley of Co. F., are among those known to be
living at the latest dates from there. John Smith, of Co. E, 7th C. V., whose home is in New Haven, recently
paroled from Andersonville, is said to be the authority for those statements.
Getting the Courts Back into Operation
Judge Philip Frasier who had been appointed by Lincoln as judge for the Northern Florida district
complained that the military was the obstacle to the return of the civil courts. (See letter)
Judge Frasier Tries Again
January 5, 1865 Judge Frasier writes Abraham Lincoln again about interference from military especially
John Gray Foster, Commander Department of the South (letter)
Esther Hill Hawks Visits St. Augustine
Along with Brig. Gen. Eliakim P Scammon who commanded the District of Florida, Quarter Master Moore
and several pleasure seekers, Dr. Esther Hill Hawks went on board the Steamer Delaware to St. Augustine.
...went to Buffington's Hotel, no one up but the house was soon astir...called on the teachers--the Misses
Smith (Cornelia J. and Ezia J. Smith), Miss Harris (Mary M) and Conant (Kate D. Conant). They live very
prettily and comfortably in the family with the Methodist located at this post.
February 1865 made the 17th Connecticut the most unlucky regiment in St. Augustine. First members were
lost to Captain Dickison at a dance, then dressed in the Union uniforms Captain Dickison attacked a force at
Braddock Farm killing Col Albert H. Wilcoxon (Nobel's replacement). Before St. Augustine Col. Wilcoxon
had been in charge of the regiment before as Col Nobel was in charge of a brigade. The following officers
(as well as 50 men) were also captured in this action: Capt. French, Company G; Capt. Betts, Company F;
Lieut. Ruggles, Company K; Capt. Quien, Company C.
The Union also had its share of raids (See story: 3rd USCT). This group consisted of 16 members of the
3rd, 6 of the 34th USCT, 7 civilians and 1 member of the Ohio 107th Volunteers.
Department of South Response
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., February 16, 1865.
Brigadier General E. P. SCAMMON,
Commanding District of Florida, Department of the South:
GENERAL: I am directed by Major-General Gillmore, commanding department, to state that he regrets that
another disaster should have happened to our troops in Florida after so many cautions to the contrary. The
major-general commanding directs me to call your attention particularly to a letter from these headquarters,
dated January 29, 1865, which distinctly says that hereafter no party shall be sent out less than 1,000 strong,
except when scouts are sent to ascertain the position of the enemy. The report received from your
headquarters states that the party captured lately, with Lieutenant-Colonel Wilcoxson in command,
numbered only forty-eight men, with ten wagons, and that the entire party was captured. This, besides being
a violation of instructions, certainly shows that either parties are sent out in your district without a sufficient
knowledge of the strength of the enemy, or that, knowing their strength, the parties are invariably too small.
The major-general commanding directs that a full report of this disaster be made as soon as possible, to be
accompanies by copies of the orders under which the expedition went out, the object, and at whose
instigation they were sent.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. M. BURGER,
The New Commander
After all the disasters of the 17th Connecticut Col. Benjamin C. Tilghman of the 3rd USCT was sent to the
command of the post. By March 10, 1865 Tilghman was recalled to Jacksonville and on March 12 Major
Henry Allen was appointed commander in St. Augustine. He was 22 years old. Major Allen was promoted
to Lt. Col. on May 20, 1865. He would later marry Frances A. (Fannie) Remington in Providence,Rhode
Island, the youngest daughter of Colonel Joseph R. Remington who had been the U. S. Marshall in Florida.
Col. B. C. Tilghman, Third U. S. Colored Troops, Saint Augustine, Fla.: February 16, 1865 -
COLONEL: Reports from Jacksonville contain the information that Brigadier- General Scammon is so
seriously ill as to be unfit for any duty. Unless you have reliable information of his recovery before you
receive this letter, you will proceed by the earliest conveyance to Jacksonville and report to district
headquarters for duty. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Q. A. GJLLMORE, Major- General,
Andersonville Thwarted Release
In March of 1865 a prisoner release by the Confederates at Andersonville was attempted. It did not occur
because the commander at St. Augustine could/would not sign the release form. (See St. Augustine's Civil
War Most Disgraceful Episode.)
Ad for Tax Sales - Ran in Northern papers -Daily National Republican, March 17, 1865
United States Sale of Lands for Unpaid Direct Taxes in the State of Florida
Notice is hereby given that the several tracts or lots of land, situated in the county of St. Johns, State of
Florida, have become forfeited to the United States, by reason of the non-payment of the direct tax charged
thereon, under the act entitled “An set to provide increased revenue from imposts, to pay interest on the
public debt, and for other purposes,” approved August 5, 1861, and an act entitled “An act for the collection
of direct taxes in insurrectionary districts within the United States, and for other purposes,” approved June 7,
1862, and the amendments to said act, approved February 6, 1865, and March 3, 1865, and that the same
will be sold at public auction, on MONDAY, the 10th day of April, 1865, at the city of St. Augustine in said
county of St. Johns.
The tracts or lots of land to be sold as above embrace in the aggregate about FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND ACRES, a large proportion being covered with a heavy growth of HARD PINE and LIVE
OAK Timber. There are several orange groves in full bearing, and very desirable Cotton and Sugar
Plantations. The Long Staple or Sea Island Cotton can be grown throughout St. Johns county in as great
perfection as on the coast Islands of South Carolina and Georgia.
St. Johns county extends from the Atlantic ocean to the St. Johns river, which bounds it on the west. It has
for harbors on the Atlantic, St. Augustine and Matanzas inlet. Oranges, lemons, limes, pomegranates, figs,
guavas, olives and grapes grow in perfection throughout the county.
The purchasers of lands and tenements is under the direct tax set acquire a title in fee simple, free and
discharged from all prior liens and encumbrances of every description, whatsoever, for which the President is
authorized to cause patents to be issued.
L. D. Stickney,
W. M. Alsop
Proclamation Closing the Port of St. Augustine - April 11, 1865
Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln. President of the United States, do hereby proclaim
that the ports of Richmond, Tappahannock, Cherrystone, Yorktown, and Petersburg, in Virginia; of
Camden (Elizabeth City), Edenton, Plymouth, Washington, Newbern, Ocracoke, and Wilmington in North
Carolina; of Charleston, Georgetown, and Beaufort, in South Carolina; of Savannah, St. Marys, and
Brunswick (Darien), in Georgia; of Mobile, in Alabama; of Pearl River (Shieldsboro), Natchez and
Vicksburg, in Mississippi; of St. Augustine, Key West, St. Marks (Port Leon), St. Johns (Jacksonville), and
Apalachicola, in Florida; of Teche (Franklin), in Louisiana; of Galveston, La Salle, Brazos de Santiago
(Point Isabel), and Brownsville, in Texas, are hereby closed, and all right of importation, warehousing, and
other privileges shall, in respect to the ports aforesaid, cease until they shall have again been opened by
order of the President; and if while said parts are so closed any ship or vessel from beyond the United States
or having on board any articles subject to duties shall attempt to enter any such port, the same, together with
its tackle, apparel, furniture, and cargo, shall be forfeited to the United States.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this eleventh day of April, A.D., 1865,
and of the independence of the United States of America, the eighty-ninth.
Armistice (April 23, 1865)
Headquarters District of Florida,
Fourth Separate Brigade, Dept. of the South, Jacksonville, Fla, April 23, 1865
Maj. Henry Allen,
Seventeenth Conn. Vols., Comdg. Post, St. Augustine Fla.:
Major: The general commanding directs me to instruct you not to relax your usual vigilance in guarding
against surprise or observing the movements of the enemy on account of the suspension of hostilities
represented by the Confederate authorities. The agreement in this district binds either party to give twenty-
four hours' notice at the picket-line, near Jacksonville, before renewing hostilities. As it may be impossible to
inform you at once of the breaking up of the armistice, the general desires that you will not be unprepared for
offensive or defensive movements at any time.
S. L:. McHenry, Assistant Adjutant-General.
April 25, 1865 a schooner entered the St. Augustine Harbor with its flag at half-mast bearing the news that
Abraham Lincoln was dead.
Surrender of the Blues
The Blues long four-year struggle ended on April 26, 1865 when General Joseph Johnston surrendered to
General Sherman near Greensboro, North Carolina. At least 17 Blues died during the war, scores more
were wounded, captured, or discharged for disability. Approximately 120 men served in the unit, but only 8
surrendered with the company in 1865.
Response to Lincoln's Death
Our hearts too were made to rejoice at glorious intelligence (Lee's surrender) and the Freedmen of this place
seemed to feel doubly sure of their freedom which their old task-masters, especially mistresses, seemed to
feel for the first time that there were signs of (?) and that all was lost! And they wept and groaned saying we
shall never have our niggers back again. But when the news of the President's death came two or three days
after, they took heart again” taunting the colored people about their dark prospect of being free and some of
our people began to talk of going north to escape enslavement again, for as Massa Lincoln was gone they
feared their hope was gone too. But their confidence settled back again into the strong arm of their God,
which they said was above all and they would trust Him to carry their cause through.
Harriet B. Greely to Whipple AMA April 29, 1865
Death of Mary Craft, daughter of Dr. Andrew Anderson (The New York Herald) April 29, 1865
On Friday, April 28, at Woody Crest, Westchester County, Mary wife of George L. Crafts and daughter of
the late Andrew Anderson, M. D., of St. Augustine, aged 34 years.
The funeral will take place on Monday morning, at ten o'clock, from the Church of the Intercession,
End of the War
St. Augustine Historical Society, MC 10 Box 2, Folder 55 - 1865
Clarissa Anderson to Andrew Anderson-8 May 1865
Letter received by the Maj that the war was over. The soldiers made great demonstrations. But it does not
remove the sadness caused by the president's death. It is hard to believe that our country is again at peace.
The minute guns are now firing for our lamented president. How sad it makes me feel.
Confederates Surrender in Florida (May 17-20)
Confederate troops in Florida surrendered to Brigadier-General Vogdes, in compliance with terms agreed
upon between Generals Johnston and Sherman. Paroled by Captain McHenry, assistant adjutant-general, at
Baldwin, Lake City, and Waldo, Fla.
High Ranking Visitors to Florida (May 18 and 19)
Major. Gen. Q. A. Gillmore, U.S. Volunteers, Chief Justice S. P. Chase, and other high officials visited
Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fernandina.
New Troops for St. Augustine (May 31)
Colonel Wallen, with seven companies Seventh U. S. Infantry, sent to relieve the volunteer forces at St.
June 7 - five companies of the 17th Connecticut transferred to Jacksonville from Saint Augustine.
June 17 Senator Yulee sent to Fort Pulaski.
Post War and the Churches (September 1865)
Rev. Brinkerhoff was ordered by Gen Saxton, to report for duty at Hilton Head, and that he should therefore
leave by the first steamer, and probably not return to stay here. The Presbyterian Church which he has
occupied since he left the Methodist, is about to be occupied by Rev. Mr. Reynolds (who would become the
2nd Superintendent of Schools for St. Johns County), an excellent Presbyterian Minister. Rev. Reynolds
would later be appointed the Superintendent of Education for freedmen in St. Augustine by General Howard
the brother of General O O Howard.
See Andrew Johnson's Executive Order on Trade - April 29, 1865
See Andrew Johnson Proclamation removing Restrictions on Trade - June 18, 1865
See Andrew Johnson proclaims the end of the War of Rebellion
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
"Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of
unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another
drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the
Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us
strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne
the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace
among ourselves and with all nations "
Go to Page 7
|Abraham Lincoln - 1865
|Lieut Col Albert Wilcoxon
Commander in St. Augustine
Killed by Captain Dickison
Died after Capture
February 5, 1865
|Col William H. Noble, 17th
Commander at St. Augustine
Captured by Captain Dickison
Highest ranking prisoner at
U.S. Army and Heritage Center
|Abraham Lincoln Mourning Medal
|Lt. Col. Henry Allen
Final Commander St. Augustine
|Lieut. George B. Ruggles
captured February 4, 1865
|Private Albert M. Allen Co A
died in St. Augustine July 25, 1864
|Adjutant H. Whitney Chatfield
Killed by Captain Dickison
February 5, 1865
|Private Stephen Lewis - Co D.
Captured February 5, 1865
|Line Pass of Mathew Solana
Courtesy of Meri-lin Solana
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