Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Attack on Ricco's Bluff, Florida
Although it had been a Confederate outpost within striking distance of the coast since 1862, it was not until January of 1865 that Union forces finally attacked Ricco's Bluff. Surprisingly, when the attack finally came, it came not up the Apalachicola River from the Gulf, but across country from St. Andrews Bay.
In January of 1865 a small detachment of Union sailors rowed a boat up one one of the creeks flowing into St. Andrews Bay (today's Panama City). Traveling as far up the creek as possible, they met a group of Southern Unionists who showed them a short cut and provided a wagon to help transport their boat across country the short distance to the Chipola River. Once in the Chipola, they rowed down to its confluence with the Apalachicola hoping to capture a steamboat they heard would be passing by.
The steamboat did not appear as expected, but the sailors continued their mission against Ricco's Bluff. After scouting the Confederate camps there, they surrounded and captured a detachment from Captain Jeter's Company E, 5th Florida Cavalry. The Southern troops were camped at the Nixon Plantation, seen here, just a short distance from the bluff were a few actual sentries were posted. The sentries were taken as well and, after burning the camp and a store of government corn, the sailors set out down the river with their prisoners of war.
The attack came so fast that no actual fighting took place, but the loss to Jeter's company in prisoners of war was the largest sustained by the 5th Florida Cavalry during the Civil War.
Ricco's Bluff today is located on private property and is not accessible to the public.