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Palatka in Putnam County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Civil War and the Ravines

1861-1865

 
 
The Civil War and the Ravines Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, April 1, 2009
1. The Civil War and the Ravines Marker
Inscription. During the Civil War (1861-1865), Florida was a Confederate state. Union forces controlled the St. Johns River, threatening Palatka. The hills above the ravines were an ideal location for a militia camp. Soldiers there had fresh water in Whitewater Branch, a view of the Union “forces” activities in the city below, and the ability to retreat rapidly if necessary.

A Soldier described Camp Call in letters home
In 1862 there was at least one Confederate unit housed around the ravines area. Sergeant I. McQueen Auld of Company C of the 5th Florida Infantry described their camp. Named Camp Call, it seems to have been adjacent to Whitewater Branch and the ravines. He wrote, “The springs is in a hollow about 50 feet below the surface of the earth with almost a perpendicular descent.” Later that year, Camp Call was abandoned as Company C relocated to Augusta, Georgia.

Confederate hero J.J. Dickison operated in the area
After the battle of Olustee in 1864, Company H of the 2nd Florida Cavalry, commanded by Captain J.J. Dickison, was ordered to the Palatka area. They set up camp on the hills overlooking the city. In 1864, Dickison engaged in a battle with the federal gunboats Ottawa and Columbine. Dickison succeeded in capturing the Columbine. In July
The Civil War and the Ravines Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, April 1, 2009
2. The Civil War and the Ravines Marker (wide view)
1864, Dickison's troops fought another battle with Union troops in Palatka. The Union army retreated during the night, abandoning Palatka, which Dickison held for several weeks. Dickison lost his son in that battle.

(photo captions)
• Captain John J. Dickison, known as “The Swamp Fox”.
• The capture of the gunboat Columbine by the 5th Florida Cavalry has been called “The only capture of a warship by cavalry in the annals of naval history.
 
Erected by Florida State Parks.
 
Location. 29° 38.074′ N, 81° 38.83′ W. Marker is in Palatka, Florida, in Putnam County. Marker can be reached from Twigg Street east of South 18th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located within Ravine Gardens State Park, along the gardens loop road, overlooking the ravine. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1600 Twigg Street, Palatka FL 32177, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ravine State Gardens (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); William Bartram Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Garden Center History (approx. 0.2 miles away); Suspension Bridges and Amphitheater (approx. 0.2 miles away); Native Americans at the River (approx. ¼ mile away); Palatka Waterworks (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Hammock (approx. 1.1 miles away); Putnam County WW II Memorial (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Palatka.
 
Also see . . .  The Confederate Swamp Fox Captures the Columbine. Dickison’s sixteen sharpshooters took their places behind cypress trees at Horse Landing, and waited quietly as the Union boat drew nearer. When the Columbine was directly opposite the landing and less than 100 yards from shore, they opened fire. One shot cut the wheel chains, and at the same time the pilot abandoned the wheel and jumped over the bow. The helpless vessel drifted to a point about 200 yards from the Confederate battery and 100 yards from the sharpshooters and ran aground on a mud bank. Another shell hit the main steam pipe causing a great loss of steam. The Columbine could not be moved and their only hope was in driving off the Confederates. The sharpshooters continued picking off the men at the forward gun. The surviving officers decided to surrender. The Columbine had lost one officer killed, five men wounded, and sixteen killed or missing. Apparently several soldiers and sailors drowned attempting to escape. (Submitted on February 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 20, 2019. This page originally submitted on February 18, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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