Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Cow Cavalry and the Battle of Fort Myers (Fla.)-- Part 1

Continued from my Feb. 10, 2011 entry

It took place Feb. 25, 1865, and is regarded as the southernmost Civil War battle.  The fort was originally built during the Seminole War, but was abandoned after it ended.  Reoccupied by Union soldiers in 1863 who intended to use it as a base to attack cattle ranches along the Caloosahatchie River which were supplying beef to the Confederacy.  It is estimated that by 1865, some 4,000 head of cattle had been taken by them.

The fort was also a refugee center for escaped slaves and Union sympathizers with 400 in it at one point.

It was garrisoned by the and Florida Cavalry, a company of the 110th New York and a company of black soldiers from the 2nd USCT, both of these units came from Union Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West. 

The Confederates organized a special detachment to stop Federal incursions and became known as the Cattle Guard Battalion, or "Cow Cavalry."

The unit was posted at Fort Meade and in February 1865, ordered to attack Fort Myers.

Get Them Cows, You Cavalry.  --Old B-Runner (Soon to Be Old Secesh)

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