The Museum of Southern History
Preserving the History, Ideals and Chivalry of the South.
4304 Herschel St., Jacksonville, Florida 32210
The State of Florida during the War Between the States (1861-1865)

        The Museum of Southern History covers all aspects and regions of the Country during the War Between the States era but since we are located in Florida, we thought it appropriate to provide some little known facts relating to Florida.  Although many refer to the war as the Civil War, the U. S. Senate recognized the title “War Between the States” as proper in the joint resolution No. 41 on 2 March 1928. The Congressional Record of 2 March 1928 We will refer to the war as such at the museum.

        Florida was the third state to secede from the Union, doing so on 10 January 1861, one day after Mississippi.  Florida was the only state east of the Mississippi River to successfully defend its capital so that Florida’s capital was not captured during the war.  The last attempt by Union forces to capture the state capital was at Natural Bridge on 4, 5 and 6 March 1865.

      In the 1860 census, there were approximately 14,000 men of military service age.  From this group, 110% signed up and served. We arrive at this number as a result of the numbers of men that were older or younger than the military conscription age.  Clearly Florida supported succession and the ensuing military engagement. These numbers take on a different perspective when contrasted to today where it is estimated that 75% of all men in the military service age are unfit for military service.

The Florida Succession Flag flown from
10 January 1861 until 22 April 1861 when Florida ratified the Confederate constitution.
       The 2nd, 5th and 8th Florida Infantry Regiments (Perry’s Florida Brigade) fought at Gettysburg and alongside Wright’s Brigade (Georgia 3rd, 22nd and 48th Infantry) on the left and Wilcox’s Brigade (Alabama 8th, 10th and 11th Infantry) on the right were able to advance further than any other unit on the second day.  Starting from a position to the left center of the Confederate position they charged from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge past the Codori Farm.  Florida suffered some of the largest percentage of casualties at Gettysburg; the 2nd Florida had only 22 line officers and 233 men out of over 700 at the end of the day.
       During the war, there were 182 battles or skirmishes fought in the State of Florida.  The best known of these was Olustee which was fought on 20 February 1864. In relation to the number of troops engaged, Olustee was one of the bloodiest battles of the war with the Union casualties amounting to 34% of their troops engaged. The battlefield is located west of Jacksonville near the town of Lake City.