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[Portrait of Pvt. Walter Miles Parker, 1st Florida Cavalry, C.S.A.]

10 january, 1861, Florida Secedes

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  1. The South Secedes When Abraham Lincoln, a known opponent of slavery, was elected president, the South Carolina legislature perceived a threat. Calling a state convention, the delegates voted to remove the state of South Carolina from the union known as the United States of America. The secession of South Carolina was followed by the secession of six more states—Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas–and the threat of secession by four more—Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These eleven states eventually formed the Confederate States of America.
  2. February 1861 The South Creates a Government. At a convention in Montgomery, Alabama, the seven seceding states created the Confederate Constitution, a document similar to the United States Constitution, but with greater stress on the autonomy of each state. Jefferson Davis was named provisional president of the Confederacy until elections could be held.
  3. The Confederacy lasted until 1965.

Florida Secedes!

On January 10, 1861, delegates to the Florida Convention in Tallahassee voted to secede from the United States of America. The following month, Florida was one of six Deep South states to form the Confederate States of America

Portrait of Pvt. Walter Miles Parker, 1st Florida Cavalry, C.S.A.. [between 1860 and 1865]. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division

The least populous state below the Mason-Dixon line, Florida played an active role in the Civil War. At least 17,000 Floridians fought in the conflict (the great majority on the Confederate side), and the state’s coastline provided safe harbor to blockade runners. Florida products—such as sugar, pork, molasses and salt—proved essential in feeding Southern soldiers. 

Just a year into the conflict, Confederate forces abandoned Fort Marion in Saint Augustine. On March 11, 1862, the Union gunboat USS Wabash took the fort without firing a shot. Local officials agreed to surrender the historic city, founded by the Spanish in 1565, in an attempt to save it from destruction. The garrison, built by the Spanish and initially completed in 1695, is preserved as the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Compared to many other Southern states, Florida saw little military action. Strategically important coastal cities, such as Jacksonville and Saint Augustine, switched hands between the North and South but the interior of the state remained under Confederate control. When Lee surrendered in 1865, Tallahassee was the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi that was still held by rebel forces. 

Jacksonville, Fla. Signal Tower. [Between 1860 and 1865]. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division

Enlistment Strength

Enlistment strength for the Union Army is 2,672,341 which can be broken down as:

  • 2,489,836 white soldiers
  • 178,975 African American soldiers
  • 3,530 Native American troops

Enlistment strength for the Confederate Army ranges from 750,000 to 1,227,890. Soldier demographics for the Confederate Army are not available due to incomplete and destroyed enlistment records.

Saint Augustine, Fla. Bastions of Fort Marion. Sam A. Cooley, photographer. [Between 1860 and 1865]. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division

Civil War Facts: 1861-1865

The Union included the states of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, California, Nevada, and Oregon. Abraham Lincoln was their President.

The Confederacy included the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Jefferson Davis was their President.

Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri were called Border States.

The records of the Confederate States of America span the years 1854-1889, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1861-1865, during the Civil War in America. The collection relates to the formation of the government of the Confederacy and the conduct of its internal, external, and military affairs. With few exceptions, the collection consists of official or semiofficial records generated by departments of the Confederate government and their agents. The departments of state, justice, treasury, navy, war, and the post office are represented, along with material relating to the president, congress, and constitution. The collection is arranged in eleven series.

Most numerous are the records of the Department of State (once known as the “Pickett Papers”) containing correspondence exchanged for most of the period between Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin and departmental agents and diplomats abroad, particularly those stationed in Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Mexico. The records are supplemented by the inclusion of the James Wolcott Wadsworth Collection of similar material. Other records of the department relate to administrative and financial affairs, passports, pardons, appointments to office, applications for office, and maritime and domestic affairs of the Confederacy.

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