The Civil War and the Southernmost State: Highlights from the P.K. Yonge Florida History Collection

Ohio Infantry
Soldiers from the 75th Ohio Infantry in Jacksonville, Florida (from Florida Memory)

A Confederate state following its secession on January 10, 1861, Florida stood at the far edge of wartime events. Florida was sparsely populated at the outbreak of the Civil War, yet many Florida soldiers fought in significant battles throughout the war. During the four years of conflict the Florida home front witnessed many changes, including a lack of common items such as salt due to the severed supply lines from the North. Union General-in-Chief Winfield Scott proposed the Anaconda Plan, which enforced a blockade by occupying many Southern ports, including several in Florida. With its long coastline, this endeavor was nearly impossible to accomplish in Florida, and blockade runners brought in supplies through the state throughout the war. Yet, within the state borders Union soldiers managed to occupy some fortifications for most of the war and several battles and skirmishes, some to reobtain control of the forts, were fought on Florida soil.

This exhibit is divided into three parts: Daily Life, which describes the Floridian home front during the war, camp life, and the tragedies that affected many American families during the Civil War, Florida Battles, which presents information about the Battles of Olustee and Gainesville, and Union Fort Occupations, which details the Union stronghold on Forts Pickens and Marion throughtout the war. The small but important impact made in Florida and by Floridians is often overlooked in traditional Civil War narratives, and this internet exhibit is meant to bring some of those issues to light.

Exhibit creator Nicole Milano, reproduced here with permission. Exhibit originally on exhibit creator Nicole Milano's website here.