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The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida
The Landing at
St. Marks Lighthouse
Difficulties beset the Union flotilla almost
immediately after it arrived off St. Marks. The fog that
disguised the appearance of the ships suddenly
lifted on the morning of March 4, 1865, and the
officers decided to sail out across the horizon to
hide their intentions.

The returned that night and put ashore Major
Edmund Weeks and some of his men from the 2nd
Florida U.S. Cavalry at the St. Marks Lighthouse,
while a party of sailors rowed up East River to seize
the vital bridge there.

Confederate cavalry scouting in the area quickly
detected this movements and attacked the
Federals at the bridge.  Weeks came up to support
them, but when no additional reinforcements
landed he withdrew slowly back to the lighthouse,
with the Southern cavalry hard on his heels.

A courier sent back to the railhead at St. Marks
commandeered a "special" train and rushed
through the night to warn headquarters in
Tallahassee. Residents there later recalled hearing
the train arrive, making note of the unusual time of
night. Alarm guns were fired from the Capitol
building and the local home guards turned out. The
alert was also wired both east and west by
telegraph and a massive mobilization of troops
began from as far east as Lake City and as far west
as Marianna.

As Major General Sam Jones remained behind to
coordinate these movements, Brigadier General
William Miller headed south by rail with a company
of militia and the cadets from the West Florida
Seminary.

The main Federal force, meanwhile, finally began
its much delayed landing and by the morning of
March 5th was entirely ashore at the lighthouse.
Their delay in getting ashore after the first contact at
East River Bridge, however, would prove fatal to
their plans.
View of St. Marks Lighthouse
Apalachee Bay in the Background
Apalachee Bay
View from base of St. Marks Lighthouse
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