Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tragic Assault on St. Andrews Bay 20 March 1863

On 20 March 1863, a landing party from the USS Roebuck landed on St. Andrews Bay, near present-day Panama City. Their objective was to attempt to cut out a potential blockade runner.  Acting Master John Sherrill, commanding the Roebuck, received intelligence that a ship was loading cotton to run the blockade. He sent a ship’s boat with 11 men, under the command of Acting Master James Folger, to proceed up the bay to find and destroy or capture the runner. Unfortunately, the landing party ran into a strong defense by Confederate home guard militia, under the command of Capt. W. J. Robinson of the C.S. Army. Seamen Thomas King and Ralph B. Snow were killed in this action and seven other sailors were injured, including the landing party commander, Act. Master Folger. The ORN reports indicate that some of the injured were "severly injured", so perhaps they died later, accounting for the listing of "six dead" on the historic marker. Capt. Sherrill’s squadron commander, Adm. Theodorus Bailey, did not approve of this action, and believed it to be “ill-advised”.

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