Troy Spring State Park - Branford, Florida
Troy Spring State Park
The spring is 70 feet deep and flows with a
year-round temperature of 72 degrees. Its waters
cover the wreck of the steamboat Madison, a Civil
War era vessel scuttled in 1863.
Troy Spring State Park
A popular recreation area, the
park is located just off US 27
near Branford, Florida. It
fronts the Suwannee River.
Divers at Troy Spring
Diving and snorkeling are
popular activities at the park.
Scuba enthusiasts can enjoy
open water diving.
Troy Spring State Park - Branford, Florida
The Wreck of the Madison
Copyright 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: July 18, 2014
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Grave of a Civil War ship
The steamboat Madison was
scuttled in the Troy Spring run
in 1863 to hide it from the
Union navy. Its wreck can be
explored using a snorkel and
mask.
Troy Spring State Park is home to a beautiful
freshwater spring that feeds the
Suwannee
River near Branford, Florida.

The park offers swimming, open water scuba
diving, birding, hiking, picnicking and the rare
chance to explore the wreck of a Civil War
steamboat!

The wreck on the bottom of the Troy Spring
run is that if the
Madison, a stern-wheel
riverboat built in 1850. Owned by James M.
Tucker, the boat was specially-designed to
navigate higher up the Suwannee than any
other steamer then on the river.

Tucker was a leading advocate of using the
Suwannee River as a transportation artery.
With the shallow-draft
Madison, he extended
riverboat service all the way up the river to the
resort community of White Springs.

When the War Between the States (or Civil
War) erupted in 1861, Tucker and others
helped convert the Suwannee into a port for
running the Union blockade. Ocean-going
steamers, schooners and sloops came up
the river from the Gulf of Mexico to take on
cargoes of cotton, timber, naval stores and
other commodities and to drop off cargoes of
gunpowder, weapons, medicines and other
necessities.

Unlike the larger Apalachicola River to the
west, the Suwannee was crossed by one of
Florida's major railroads. This meant that
steamboats like Tucker's
Madison could
carry corn and other supplies up and down
the river to the port town of Columbus. From
there trains were available to transport the
cargoes on to Confederate troops throughout
the South.

Tradition holds that the
Madison was used to
carry shipments of corn for the Confederate
armies. Accounts from the time verify that the
farmers of the Suwannee valley turned their
focus from growing cotton to growing food as
the war entered its second year.

The Florida correspondent of the
Charleston
Mercury
reported on April 29, 1862, for
example, that almost every farmer along the
river had "planted their whole crop in
provisions, except an acre or two of cotton for
home consumption."

Legend holds that James M. Tucker ran the
Madison until 1863 when he joined the
Confederate military. His service record,
however, shows that he enlisted in Company
F, 7th Florida Infantry in April 1862.

Since there was no immediate threat of
Union raid, the
Madison continued to carry
cargo and passengers up and down the
Suwannee. Placed under the control of E.J.
Davis, Jonathan Caldwell and Joab Ward,
the boat provided vital transportation as far
up as White Springs well into 1863.

Although legend holds the boat was scuttled
at Troy Spring to save it from Union capture in
September 1863, it likely operated for at least
a few months longer. The fall harvest would
not have been finished until October or
November and the steamboat was needed
for as long as it continued.

On November 17, 1863, Brigadier General
Joseph Finegan reported that "there are now
four steamers" operating on the Suwannee
River. One of them was likely the
Madison.
In December 1863, however, the U.S. Navy
clamped down on blockade running from the
Suwannee. A Union warship captured the
steamboat
Little Lilly at the mouth of the river
and other vessels increased their patrols off
the Suwannee.

It was probably at around this time that its
crew nosed the
Madison into the spring run
at Troy Spring and opened its plugs. Water
poured into the hold of the vessel and it
settled to the bottom. The sinking of the boat
was a temporary measure to prevent its
capture by Union raiders, but it turned out to
be the permanent end of the steamboat
Madison.

The wreck of the boat remains on the bottom
of the spring run to this day. Ribs of the
vessel are clearly visible in the water flowing
from Troy Spring and can be seen by
snorkeling in the short run as it leaves the
spring and flows to the Suwannee.

Other features of Troy Spring State Park
include the main spring itself, which is more
than 70 feet deep. It can be viewed from
overlooks and a wooden staircase leads
down to the water. It is open most of the year
for swimming and open-water scuba diving.

In addition, visitors can enjoy hiking, birding
and picnicking. Camping is not currently
available at the park. Future plans include an
equestrian trail for horse lovers.

Troy Spring is a popular place for weddings.
The beautiful spring offers a perfect backdrop
for ceremonies. Click here to download the
park's wedding guide:  
Your Perfect Wedding
at Troy Spring State Park.

Troy Spring State Park is located at 674 Troy
Springs Road in Branford, Florida. The park
is open daily from 8 a.m. until sundown, 365
days a year. Admission is $5 per vehicle ($4
if the driver is the only passenger) and $2 for
pedestrians and bicylists.

Please click here to visit the official state park
website for more information.
Troy Spring State Park
A wooden stairway leads
down the steep bluff to scenic
Troy Spring. The Suwannee
River can be seen in the
background.
Florida Springs & Waterfalls
Wreck of the Madison in Troy Spring