Skirmish of the Brick Church

The Skirmish of the Brick Church was the first land engagement in Northeast Florida between the Union Army and Confederate Army of the American Civil War. It was fought on March 24, 1862 and resulted in the first Confederate victory in Florida.[1]

Battle of the Brick Church
Part of the American Civil War
The location where the brick church once stood
DateMarch 24, 1862 (1862-03-24)
30°19′57″N 81°40′31″W / 30.3325°N 81.6753°W / 30.3325; -81.6753Coordinates: 30°19′57″N 81°40′31″W / 30.3325°N 81.6753°W / 30.3325; -81.6753
Result Confederate tactical victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Lieutenant Strange Colonel W. S. Dilworth
7 30
Casualties and losses
(4 killed
 3 captured/missing)
(1 killed
 2 captured)


After Florida seceded from the United States on January 1, 1861 in defense of slavery, President Abraham Lincoln assembled a large amphibious naval armada. The 1st Florida was one unit in this large armada. In early 1862 the coastal defenses of Florida were abandoned. At this point several warships of the Union Navy sailed down the St. Johns River to Jacksonville, Florida.


When Confederates heard the Federal forces landed in Jacksonville Colonel Davis sent a detachment of cavalry to Camp Langford near Jacksonville. Confederate scouts reported that Federals established a strong picket outpost at a brick church. Colonel W. S. Dilworth was conducting raids and attacking Union pickets to annoy the enemy. One attack on a Union picket erupted into a battle at a brick church.[2] Lieutenant Strange of the Third Florida at the brick church was ordered to capture the Federals and if possible with no bloodshed. Thirty Confederates encountered five Federals in the vicinity of the brick church. The Federals were behind tombstones, trees and in the church yard shooting at the advancing Confederate force. The five Federals were forced to retreated inside the church only to have the Confederates storm the church. Two Federals in the church were killed and the remaining three surrendered.[3]

Further Confederate advance was halted by return fire from the 4th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry with one confederate killed and two taken prisoner[4]

Lacking forces to engage the Union forces directly, Colonel Dilworth continued hit-and-run raids.[5]


After the Federals retreated to their ships they decided to torch the city. Any trace of the brick church has been lost but the church cemetery still remains.[1] The battle, though small, had a number of firsts for the civil war. It was the first Confederate victory in Florida[1] and it was where the first Confederate officer was killed in Florida.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Lost Church, Lost Battlefield, Lost Cemetery, Lost War". Metro Jacksonville. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  2. ^ The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. United States Department of War. 1861–1865. p. 131. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  3. ^ Unknown (April 7, 1862). "Skirmish at Jacksonville". Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  4. ^ Isaiah Price (1875). History of the ninety-seventh regiment, Pennsylvania volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861-65. pp. 107–.
  5. ^ "Skirmish near Jacksonville, Florida (March 24, 1862)". Civil War Florida. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
  6. ^ Davis, Ennis; Mann, Robert (2012). Reclaiming Jacksonville: Stories Behind the River City's Historic Landmarks. The History Press. pp. 47–48. Retrieved November 21, 2014.