Indian Sharpshooters in Florida

by Fred Ray on May 27, 2015 · 0 comments

Some time ago I put up a post about a letter I have from a Union soldier who mentions Indian sharpshooters at the battle of Olustee, and also mentions them as bushwhackers.

The most desperate enemy that we have to contend with here is the Florida Indians, who have organized themselves into roving bands of Bushwhackers and occasionally steal upon our picket lines under cover of night and disturb our sentinels. Many of the Redskins are sharpshooters. During the recent battle, they betook themselves to the tree tops and picked off many of the officers of the Colored Troops.

I wondered who these Indians might be and whether they were an actual unit or irregulars. I may have found an answer.

It turns out that there was such a unit, McBride’s Company, a unit of scouts that included a number of Indians. They were from Levy County, Florida (southeast of Gainesville). There is even a re-enactment group in Florida that specializes in them. Their web site notes:

McBride’s Company was a company of indian scouts raised in 1862 in the Black Dirt District of Levy County, Florida by Captain Andrew Hodges. The company was raised as a company of scouts originally known as Hodges’ Company. It was raised by the State of Florida to assist in the defense of the interior of the state and to take advantage of the geographical knowledge of indians in the state. The unit was actually a multi-racial unit though composed of Native Americans, Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks. The unit was however predominantly Native American and saw members of the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Seminole tribes who stayed in Florida join it. Very few Confederate records of this unit remain other than the unit’s membership roster of officers when Capt. Andrew Hodges first started the company in 1862 and then the full enlistment muster roll that was put together in 1864 when Capt. A. McBride took over and the unit became McBride’s Company.

As they say, very little is known about this outfit but it’s logical to assume that they are another similar unit was the one who participated at Olustee and elsewhere. We can at least say that such units did exist.

I hope more on this comes to light.


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