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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Observance of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Tampa

Monday, May 21, 2012

Observance of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Tampa

June 30 and July 1, 1862

The most notable occurrence in 1862 was what is known by the National Parks Service as the "Yankee Outrage at Tampa".

The Sesquicentennial Commission of Tampa Bay ( will observe this event as its signature event for 2012, the second year of the observance of the sesquicentennial of the Confederate States of America.

Date: June 30th, 2012 - 150 years to the day of the actual Battle

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: Historic Oaklawn Cemetery (just north of downtown Tampa) at monument site to the shell that landed in the Cemetery

Walking Tour of Confederate Tampa

Immediately following the observance ceremony, local historians, dressed in 'period costume' will conduct narrated walking tours of historic downtown Tampa.

(This walking tour is a suggested activity for the Republican Convention).

Project Overview

Following the opening ceremonies, a first person account of the attack will be presented by Capt J.W. Pearson, Post Commander at Fort Brooke. A Southern Cross of Honor will be placed at the grave of James Gettis, who was a hero of the two day battle.
The event will feature a period color guard, period rifle squad, singing of “Dixie,” presentation ceremony for the “Southern Cross of Honor” to Captain Gettis-CS (a noted participant of the defense of Tampa resting in Oaklawn Cemetery and member of Hillsborough Lodge 25 F. & A.M.), and period music.

Historical Overview

On June 30, a Federal gunboat, the U.S.S. Sagamore, came into Tampa Bay. She turned her broadside on Tampa Town, and opened her ports. Commanding officer, Capt. A.J. Drake, U.S.N., dispatched a launch carrying 20 men and a lieutenant under a flag of truce. They demanded the surrender of Tampa Town and Fort Brooke.

Capt. J.W. Pearson, Post Commander at Fort Brooke refused, and later that day, the Sagamore unleashed her arsenal on the town. The cannons at Fort Brooke responded, and inexperienced soldiers defended Tampa from the attack.

The Sagamore ceased her firing at 6 p.m., and reportedly made repairs. Then at noon, the following day, resumed the attack.
We are fortunate to have Capt. Pearson's official report on the engagement. This first person account will be presented in first person at the event.

Tampa attorney Capt. James Gettis would play a key role in the Battle, directing one of the cannon crews.

Public Reaction

The event is designed to excite and enthuse the general population with an appreciation for the Veterans of so long ago fighting to protect and defend the Tampa Bay area during time of War.

Public Participation

This observance event is in need of sponsors, supporters, participants, re-enactors and period clad towns-folks and spectators.


There were thousands of men who served Florida and the Southern Confederacy during her existence from 1861-1865. This event is dedicated to them. Descendants of the men of the Osceola Rangers are encouraged to register with the Commission, and will be recognized at the event.

This project honors the history of the Tampa Bay area's contribution to Florida and her Southern Confederacy 150 years ago.

Event Sponsors

Augusta Jane Evans Wilson Chapter 2640, United Daughters of the Confederacy
Judah P. Benjamin Camp 2210, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Confederate Cantinieres Chapter 2405 , United Daughters of the Confederacy
(your name here)


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