The counties lying between and beyond these rivers possessed great productive capacity, and the character of their supplies made them of inestimable value to the State
and to the Confederacy
fore the occupation of this territory was greatly desired by the enemy, and only by a judicious disposition of our forces could there be any security against the advance of raiding parties guided by deserters who were familiar with the country round.
Many important points on the Gulf coast
, St. Joseph's
and St. Andrew's bays
, were blockaded and unprotected.
On the west side of the Chattahoochee river
our forces, though comparatively small for the duty required, were able to keep the enemy at bay for a long period, no demonstrations being made to call them into any serious conflict with the Federal
troops, then in safe possession of Pensacola
, the most valuable stronghold on the extreme western coast.
's battery, which had been received into the service in March, 1862, and was at this time stationed near the Chattahoochee river
, prevented the enemy from ascending the river to effect a landing, but as soon as the water fell in the Apalachicola river
so low as to prevent its navigation, the battery was removed to the St. John's river
, where the enemy was in large force, and used to cover the erection of a battery on St. John's bluff, five miles from the bar, to prevent the enemy ascending the river higher than that point.
This movement was successfully accomplished and the enemy repulsed after four hours hard fighting, the Confederates
holding for a time possession of the river from that point up. Captain Dunham
, by his admirable management of his splendid battery, performed an important part in the engagement.
Gen. William A. Owens
, who had some years previous moved from South Carolina
, and was an honored citizen of Marion county
and one of the largest planters in the State
, organized in 1861> the first volunteer independent