Florida and the Civil War provides online access to primary sources about the American Civil War from the collections of the Department of Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Library, University of Florida.

Florida had the smallest population of any state in the Confederacy in 1861 and stood at the far edge of conflict. Yet Floridians were at the center of most of the war’s major battles. Because of this, letters sent home from the battlefronts cover a broad spectrum of events and opinions. Regiments from Florida served with the Army of Northern Virginia from shortly after the Battle of Bull Run through Gettysburg and Appomattox. Other Florida regiments were dispatched westward to serve with the Army of Tennessee, fighting at Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge in 1862 and 1863, and then challenging the Union drive for Atlanta in 1864.

Collections in this project also provide a wealth of information about divided loyalties and realms of influence within Florida. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Union forces quickly took over key Florida ports like Fernandina, Key West, and Tampa, while the Confederacy held Tallahassee and the interior. The two sides engaged in a long duel for Pensacola and control of Jacksonville and the St. Johns River changed hands repeatedly. Residents, home guard soldiers, and northern troops all left behind written records of their experiences in a state torn apart. 

Addition of contents to this site is ongoing. A core collection consists of the J. Patton Anderson Papers, which document the career of Confederate general James Patton Anderson, his military command in the West, Georgia, and Florida, and the fate of his family before, during, and after the war. This site also draws on the family papers and Civil War letters in the Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection of the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History. Wherever possible, digital versions of original handwritten documents are accompanied by easy-to-read transcriptions. 

Related Resources