CHAPTER 10. THE CIVIL WAR
Governor of Florida:
1861-1865 Gov. John Milton
Florida provided some 15,000 troops to the war effort, of which 5,000, or one out of every three, were lost. Florida was an important source of beef and salt (which came from boiled down sea water).
The state had mixed reactions to the war effort. There was some considerable union sympathy in the state. Florida was a haven for deserters from the Confederate army. And the Union was able to organize two regiments of cavalry partially from these men.
Jacksonville was occupied four different times by Federal troops.
January 2, 1861 Confederate troops occupy Fort Clinch in Fernandina. On January 7, 1861 Confederate troops occupy Fort Marion in St. Augustine.
On February 2, 1862 the Confederates withdraw from Fort Clinch and on March 5, 1862, the Federal troops occupy Fort Clinch. On March 11, 1862, Union troops occupy St. Augustine and Fort Marion. One day late, March 12, 1862, Union troops enter Jacksonville.
Less than a month later, April 9, 1862, federal troops leave Jacksonville.
It is not until September 11, 1862 that Federal gunboats begin operations in the lower St. Johns River area. On October 5, 1862 the Confederates withdraw from Yellow Bluff and St. Johns Bluff.
In St. Augustine, the Seventh Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers, saw action in an engagement with a rebel cavalry group led by Captain J. J. Dickison. The North drove the confederates back. (Buker 1983:178-179)
March 10, 1863, the Federals reoccupy Jacksonville, but have to leave March 29, 1863.
The Federals come back to Jacksonville February 7, 1864.
February 9-10, 1864 the Federals occupy Baldwin and Barber's Plantation. On February 11 A Federal reconnaissance force approaches Lake City but withdraw after a brief skirmish. On February 14, Federal cavalry raid Gainesville.
February 20, 1864, the Battle of Olustee.
In the Jacksonville Museum they have a model of the ship "Maple Leaf." It arrived March 31, 1864. It then departed for Palatka. It hit a mine April 1, 1864 at Mandarin. It sank. The soldiers were able to evacuate in time.
Brigadier General Joseph Finegan was commander of Confederate troops in East Florida until after the Battle of Olustee. In 1862 he ordered the construction of batteries at Yellow Bluff and St. Johns Bluff. Finegan was from Northern Ireland. He was prominent in railroads and Florida politics.
Federal gunboats moved up the river on October 3, and found no opposition.
On March 10, 1863, 1,400 black troops under the command of white officers arrived. There was a skirmish at McCoys Creek. The Federals were withdrawn from the town. They destroyed many buildings in Jacksonville.
On February 7, 1864, Federals troops under the command of Brigadier General Truman Seymour arrived at Jacksonville. Jacksonville looked a mess.
The National Park Service says: The site of Fort Clinch on Amelia Island at the entrance to the St. Marys River and Cumberland Sound has been occupied by various military troops since 1736. Construction of the existing fort was begun in 1847 as part of the Third American System building program, which also included Fort Pulaski further up the coast in Georgia. A pentagonal brick fort with both inner and outer walls, Fort Clinch was a safe haven for blockade runners during the Civil War. Briefly occupied by Confederate forces, its recapture by Federal troops in early 1862 gave the Union control of the adjacent Georgia and Florida coasts. The fort was used in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, but was abandoned until the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) restored it in the 1930s. A Florida State Park, Fort Clinch is interpreted as the base of Union operations in the area throughout the Civil War. The northernmost city on Florida's east coast, Fernandina Beach, which consolidated with Fernandina in 1951, is the only incorporated city on Amelia Island. It received it name in 1811 from King Ferdinand VII of Spain.
During the course of four centuries, eight flags have flown over this area, starting with the French in 1562 and followed by the Spanish. In 1812, the Patriots flag flew, followed in short order by General Sir Gregor MacGregor's personal flag, the Green Cross of Florida, and then, for a brief period, the flag of Mexico. The United States formally took possession of the island in 1821. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the Confederate flag was raised over Fernandina and Fort Clinch, but it was lowered in 1862, when the town was the target of a Union fleet.
Fort Clinch State Park is a 1,100-acre park in the most northeasterly point in Florida. The old fort's brick ramparts offer a view of the Georgia shoreline and the Atlantic Ocean. A living history interpretation is provided by park rangers dressed in Union uniforms of the 1864 garrison. Swimming; fishing from 1,500-foot pier, the shore and jetties. Nature trails. Picnicking, concessions. Camping (hookups, dump station). Visitor center.
Amelia Island Museum of History is on 233 S. 3rd Street. Recited oral history, using artifacts and exhibits, recounts 400 years of settlement under eight flags; materials from 17th century Spanish mission archeological site; artifacts from 18th-century shipwrecks; 19th-century "Golden Age" decorative arts and photographs. Docent- guided tours (Daily exc Sun; close holidays).
You can eat at the Palace Saloon, the oldest saloon in Florida.
March 10, 1863 -- 1,400 black troops under the command of white officers arrived and began building breastworks at key points throughout the town. These included Fort Higginson and Fort Montgomery, near the railroad station. While the Federals held the town, the Confederates camped several miles to the west and controlled the countryside. There was a skirmish at McCoys Creek the day after the landing.
The Federals were withdrawn from the town. Before departing, they burned several buildings, including St. Johns Church.
DAVID YULEE AND CEDAR KEY
David Yulee was the most notable figure in the history of Cedar Key (info from Kavanaugh 1995).
1810 -- born David, youngest child of Moses Levy, in St. Thomas, West Indies.
1815 -- his parents divorce.
1818 -- David's father came to the US from Havana, Cuba with the hope of establishing a Jewish colony in Florida.
1819 -- his father sent for David and his brother to come to America. David was sent to live with one of his father's oldest friends in Norfolk, Virginia, where he came under the influence of Christianity.
1827 -- upset, David's father ceases all financial aid to him. David lives at one of his father's plantation near Micanopy, Florida. After learning about plantation life, he spent a year as Deputy Clerk for Alachua County. He decided to pursue a legal career and moved to St. Augustine to study under Robert Raymond Reid, who later became territorial governor of Florida.
1832 -- admitted to the Florida bar. He became clerk to the territorial legislature.
1834 -- attended the Seminole War conference (attended by Chief Osceola among others). He helped strengthen the Florida Democratic Party, which fought the large planter class of West Florida.
1838 -- David won a seat in the Florida senate representing St. Johns, Duval, Nassau, and Columbia Counties.
1839 -- helped write and then sign the Florida State constitution.
1841 -- won election as territorial delegate to the US Congress, which was the highest elected position in the Florida territory. He quickly became Florida's chief spokesman and later became known as the "architect of Florida's statehood."
1845 -- became one of Florida's first US senators and the first Jew to serve in the US senate. He adopted his grandfather's name and became David Levy Yulee. (This was done to protect his children from any possible anti-Jewish prejudice.)
1846 -- David marries Nannie C. Wickliffe, daughter of a former Kentucky governor and Postmaster General under President John Tyler. He buys land for a sugar, cotton, corn plantation near the mouth of the Homosassa River.
1849 -- he suggests that the South chose leave the Union.
1850 -- narrowly defeated in his second bid for the Senate.
1851 -- decided to build a railroad from Fernandina at the northeast edge of Florida to Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico.
1853 -- Florida Railroad chartered with David Yulee as president of the company.
1855 -- David re-elected to the US Senate.
1857 -- track finished as far west as Baldwin.
1861 (January) -- Florida seceded from the Union. Yulee had urged the state to take over all federal forts in Florida, but declared his retirement from politics and took no role in Confederate government.
1861 (March) -- first train from Fernandina arrives in Cedar Key.
1862 -- Fernandina and Cedar Key taken by the Federals.
1863 -- Confederate troops start taking railroad tracks form Yulee's railroad for a north-south railway. The Confederate government seized his sugar crop. The Union forces tried to capture him, but missed him, burning his plantation instead. Only the sugar mill was left standing.
1865 (May) -- Yulee arrested and charged with treason. He was imprisoned at Fort Pulaski, Georgia.
1866 -- Gen. Grant intervened to get Yulee out of prison. When his railroad defaulted, he lost his railroad, but while Edward N. Dickerson was president, Yulee was vice-president of the railroad.
1869 -- the Florida Railroad was in good financial shape.
1870 -- Fernandina becomes known as the "Newport of the South."
1880 -- Gen. Grant visits Yulee in Fernandina and was given a grand reception.
1881 -- English capitalists gain control of the Florida Railroad (with a name change to Florida Transit Railroad).
1885 -- Mrs. Yulee dies suddenly.
1886 -- Yulee retires from the board of the Florida Transit Railroad (then known as the Florida Railway & Navigation Company).
1886 (October 10) -- Yulee dies.
We visited Cedar Key on March 2 and March 4, 2004. Here are my notes:
March 2, 2004
Left from Jacksonville and then out of Gainesville took Route 24S. We passed by the following along the way:
Historic Haile House
SW 91 Terrace
76.1 miles on the odometer
SW 107 Street
red bud and red maple in bloom
80 SW 114th Place
80.3 Archer City Limit
81.1 junction 27 and 41
81.3 Cedar Key 41 miles away
lots of oaks
very few saw palmettos
89.3 Bronson City Limits
90.8 Route 27
Levy Forestry Camp
91.0 Cedar Key 35 miles away
91.6 Wacassassa Forest (pretty deserted out here)
97.7 Upper Waccassassa Conservation Area?
98.6 Upper Waccassassa Devil’s Hammock WMA
99.4 Waccassasa River
99.7 Devil’s Hammock WMA
101.5 Otter Creek City Limits
102.2 Junction 19 and 98
102.3 Cedar Key 24 miles away
103.3 Otter Creek
104.0 Elezey City Limits
113.4 Rosewood (my wife Rosemary reminds me this is the one from the movie of the same name about the black town that white rioters completely burned down)
114.5 Cedar Key 9 miles away
116.0 Sumner City Limits
116.5 BP gas
117.1 Cedar Key Scrub Preserve/Cedar Key Scrub WMA
118.0 Cedar Key Scrub Preserve entrance
120.4 Lower Suwannee area /Shell Mound Park
121.3 marshes and water
121.5 #4 Channel
121.7 Cedar Key City Limits
121.9 Marine Research Facility
122.4 Marina Motel
122.7 Number 3 Channel
123.2 Pirates Cove
123.4 turn for State Museum
Right turn onto Gulf Boulevard; at stop sign turn left onto Hodges Avenue; turn right on Museum Drive; admission #1.00; open Thursday to Monday.
Historical Sign: John Muir spent several months in Florida in 1867. He arrived in October, seven weeks after setting out from Indiana on "a thousand-mile walk to the Gulf." Here he recovered from malaria. He left in early 1868 for California.
Went on a short walk on the Whitman Trail which has a view of the water. Found greenbrier, sand pine, cactus, sand oak?, plus size saw palmettos, reeds, spike grass, glasswort, Spartina, spikey palm tree, cedar tree.
Over three ton cannon may have defended nearby Seahorse Key during the Civil War.
Left the museum and on the way saw a lot of white egrets in the Back Bayou (pond). Park at the City park and take a closer look at the Gulf of Mexico. No waves here (because of long shallow shelf here). The water was somewhat dark.
There are several companies offering boat tours:
Lower Suwannee Wildlife Excursions
There is a small tourist/hotel area. Found sixty to seventy pelicans lazing on the wharf. There are a lot of large restaurants here and gift shops. Stopped at Ann’s Other Place. Rosemary bought a little pelican knick-knack. See Frog’s Landing Restaurant. See a kiosk about the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve. The Big Bend area is where the peninsula merges with the panhandle. Here there is a shallow offshore shelf; the depth of the water increases one foot per mile. There are extensive seagrass meadows over 1,800 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico. A picture shows the shoal grass.
Cedar Key NWR consists partly of islands off shore of Cedar Key, such as Atsena Otie.
Decide to head over to Cedar Key Scrub Preserve (25 miles of coast). Head up Route 347 off Route 24. Turned left for access to Lower Suwannee NWR and Shell Mound Park. We park and take the Shell Mound Trail. A sign says this is the largest prehistoric shell midden site on the central Gulf Coast, covering five acres and rising 28 feet above sea level. Activity here took place over a 3,500 year period, 2500 BC to AD 1000. See coontie and lots of cedar.
From this entrance, it is 6.4 miles to the South Entrance of the LSNWR.
11.4 north entrance
13.4 Fowler’s Bluff
17.9 Route 330
22.5 junction 345
23.4 junction with 341
25.5 Chiefland City Limits
28.3 junction 320; turn left; sign says Manatee Springs 6 miles away
On the boardwalk a couple told us they saw a manatee. We missed seeing him. But at the next stop we did see two manatees. One is marked with an orange X on its back. Someone tells us it is so marked because it is underweight and they want to keep an eye on it. We see coontie, cypress knees and our third manatee.
March 4, 2004.
We head back to Cedar Key to see the museums we missed.
At the Cedar Key State Museum we learn:
Cedar Key was first chartered by Bernard Romans.
1773 – employed by the British and mapped the entire coast of Florida and published his findings in his book "Natural History of Florida" (1774)
1818 – two British traders Alexander Arbuthnot and Rober Ambrister.
1843 – first white settler Judge Augustus Steele had a summer resort on Atsena Otie Key. Judge Steele, from Massachusetts, would become the father of Cedar Key. He purchased the army building and facilities on Depot Key for $227 dollars. He would work with David Levy and Gen. William J. Worth to promote the development of the area.
1855 – Lt. George G. Meade (later hero of the Battle of Gettysburg) built the lighthouse on Seashore Key.
During the Second Seminole War, Seahorse Key was used as a place of detention for captured Seminoles.
From here on August 14, 1842, Colonel William J. Worth issued a proclamation ending the Second Seminole War.
The Florida railroad was the most important railroad before the Civil War. They transported fruit, cotton and fish. All the mail for Havana came through Cedar Key.
1855 – Eberhard Faber gets land so he can have access to the cedar trees for his pencil factory.
During the Civil War the population was over 100. USS Hatteras raided the area January 16, 1862. Cedar Key was then in Federal hands. The federals destroyed the railroad depot, wharf, telegraph office and the turpentine warehouse.
On February 15, 1862, David Yulee wrote General Robert E. Lee that Cedar Key be retaken.
Atsena Otie Key was used as a supply depot for Federal troops and a military hospital.
Cedar Keys most important product was salt.
October 4 and 6, 1862 – landing party from the USS Somerset destroyed 50 to 60 boilers near Station 4. A boiler could produce 150 salt bushels a day.
They have a diorama of the skirmish at Station #4, February 13, 1865.
1888-1889 – this period was the peak of the timber boom. There was a mill on Atesena Otie Key.
1900 – the timber was largely exhausted.
1909 – Dr. Dan Andrews had a factory for brooms and brushes made from palmetto fiber. It operated until 1942.
There were 500 different kinds of pencils being produced; the graphite came from Siberia.
1870-1895 – 28 vessels built and many small boats used by the spongers at Tarpon Springs repaired.
1880s – Cedar Key was one of the most important ports in Florida. By 1885 Cedar Key reached its greatest population. But something was about to change all this.
1884 -- the railway from Tampa to Waldo and then to all over the country was completed.
1886 -- start in the decline in business, population, and property values. Also contributing to this was the near exhaustion of timber and green turtle resources in the area. (Fishburne 1982b:28)
Cedar Key Historical Society Museum in the downtown area:
1861 – the 155.5 mile long railroad completed.
1865-1866 – David Yulee was imprisoned at Fort Pulaski.
Eagle Pencils founded.
1877 – a Bavarian company established a pencil factory.
1880 – slat factory in Cedar Key
They have a bowling ball, 1885, from one of the big hotels.
1886 – Yulee dies and is buried in Georgetown, Washington D.C. He had a home on Connecticut Avenue, which was later used as the Austrian Embassy.
Cedar Kay was known as the major US sponge center until the turn of the twentieth century.
Since 1950 the Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange has handled most of the sponges taken from Florida waters.
Next door to the museum we visited the old home of Mr. Andrews, who founded a brush company in Cedar Key.
1904 – his father came here from Indiana as a dentist. He met the man who later was responsible for the Cedar Key State Museum and learned about the production of brushes with palm fibers. They used the outer boots of the sabal palm for the fibers. The dentist decided to abandon dentistry for the production of palm fiber brushes.
Daniel Alfred Andrews, Sr. and Cora Tooke Andrews established a family here. We talked to John Andrews himself, one of Mr. Andrew’s sons. There was another brother, Dan. John was born when his father was 53 years old. He later went off to Gainesville and served as a medical doctor, a profession rather common in his family.
The house was moved here from its original site across from the brush factory.
1960s – commercialization.
The town has around 800 permanent residents and the population doubles in the wintertime.
How did they make the palmetto brushes?
Shellack machine; put in oil stored for a month; cut it into lengths; coarse, medium and fine. The outer most boots of the palms had the coarser threads. Even the handles of the whisk brooms and others were of fiber (shellacked to make them harder).
The living room was the office for the building. His aunt sat at the desk and did the bookkeeping.
They put various paper promotional covers over the brooms that would say: Florida from Cedar Key (St. Augustine, St, Petersburg, etc.)
On the walls are some very large illustrations: beautiful paintings by Bill Roberts illustrating some of the stages of the production of the brushes. One is of the cutting and gathering of the palms. They would cut the same territory every three to five years, so they had a renewable resource for their factory production.
One part of the museum illustrates dentistry. They have his father’s dentist chair. He did dentistry for his family and friends, but not full time.
After finishing with the museum, I walked diagonally across the intersection to the book store and picked up the book on Rosewood that I had seen earlier on our first trip to Cedar Key a couple days previously. The book store owner told me that the only thing remaining from the Rosewood riot was the white man’s house/store set back from the highway on the right about 75 yards. (We saw the house on our way back to Jacksonville.)
DAVID YULEE AND HIS SUGAR MILL (HOMOSASSA SPRINGS)
We visited the area on March 3, 2004. My notes:
On the way back from Weeki Wachee, we stopped at Homossas Springs State Park but it was too late in the day the guide said and so we decide to come back the next day. We decided to visit the Yulee Sugar Mill from 1849. During the Civil War the mill supplied the Confederates with sugar, syrup and molasses. Federal raiders burned the Yulee home May 29, 1864 but the mill and plantation escaped destruction.
The sugar produced here was moist, coarse and light brown in color..
Sugar cane was planted from January to February. It was ready for harvesting in mid October. The cane was brought to the mill to make sugar.
There are two wells which supplied water for the boiler which operate the steam engine. Water was pumped from the wells to the boiler. A fire was built in the furnace which heated the boiler above.
There were five cooling vats/kettles. The heated juice was hand dipped from the larger (grande) kettle to the smaller kettle and ended as syrup in the "batterie," the smallest and hottest.
The syrup was then ladled into a trough and poured in to large wooden vats where the sugar crystals began to form as it cooled. After hardening, it was spaded into slices, carried in small tubs to the "purgery" (curing room) and packed in hogsheads (wooden barrels).
At the purgery, the concoction was kept from twenty to thirty days until all the molasses had dripped from the sugar into a cistern in a recess under the room. The molasses was sold for making rum. The partly emptied hogsheads were then refilled with sugar and stored until ready for shipment.
After the visit, we drove north and stopped at the Crystal River Mall which turned out to be a brief visit. There was a Walden Books store but nothing much on local history there.
We are now eating at Chilis in Crystal River along Route 98. Cefe had ribeye steak, Rosemary BBQ ribs and Patrick had a BBQ burger. Enjoyed the meal immensely.
OLUSTEE BATTLEFIELD STATE HISTORIC SITE
15 miles west of Jacksonville on US 90. At mile 326 there is a sign for exit 45 (Sanderson and Olustee Battlefield). Just after mile 325 get off at exit 45. Turn left at the stop sign. You will pas quite a few prisons, then a one-mile sign for Olustee Battlefield. At 5.6 miles turn right into the entrance.
Site of important battle during Civil war, resulting in a Confederate victory. Museum exhibits depict battle scenes; period displays. Battlefield trail; annual battle reenactment. (Thurs- Mon). Free.
On February 13, Finegan established Camp Beauregard at Ocean Pond near Olustee -- a position protecting the strategically important pike and railroad leading into the interior of North Florida.
The most important battle of the war in Florida occurred near Olustee on Feb 20, 1864. A combination of military and political objectives inspired the invasion. In addition to recruiting blacks and picking up the cotton, lumber, and turpentine that might be confiscated, they planned to move into the interior and cut the supply route of cattle and pork for the Confederate army.
President Lincoln sent his personal secretary, John Hay, to Beaufort, South Carolina, with a major's commission to oversee the move to construct a loyal government for Florida. General Quincy A. Gilmore promised his support.
Union General Gilmore selected 6,000 troops to invade Florida. General Seymour was in command. The troops came from South Carolina in transport boats. Among the troops were the black troops of the 54th Massachusetts (from the movie "Glory") now under James Montgomery (Robert Gould Shaw having been killed at the Battle of Fort Wagner.)
The invasion began on the morning of Feb 7 when Union transports brought troops to Jacksonville a fourth time. Jacksonville looked partly like a burned city. Gilmore wanted to get to Lake City and perhaps to the Suwannee River to destroy the rail connections in the area. Seymour had at first recommended just holding the coastal area, but he later changed his mind and decided to go to the Suwannee River.
The "invaders" moved on westward and two days later were in Baldwin, the junction point of three railway lines nineteen miles west of the city.
There was a skirmish at Barber's Plantation. Confederate cavalry ambushed Federal troops and then vamoosed.
Southern General Bureaugard sent reinforcements from Georgia (the 6th, 19th, 23rd, 27th, and 28th Georgia Infantry). Finegan fought several skirmishes to delay the Yanks. General Colquitt and his Georgians (total of 5,000 troops) arrived to reinforce
Federal troops reached Sanderson 14 miles farther west. The Confederates withdrew ahead of the federal advance and, without stopping to give battle, did slow it up until General Finegan could gather a force large enough to meet this first major threat to the interior of the state. This strategy of retreat so alarmed Gov Milton that he asked for Finegan's removal, but it was too late, the crisis was at hand.
Since the line of advance seemed to be along the railroad to Lake City, Finegan concentrated there to await the attack. General Truman A. Seymour, the Union commander, had been compelled to weaken his forces somewhat by leaving men along his supply and communications line to Jacksonville, but the two armies had about the same number of men.
The actual site of the battle, at Olustee, was partially accidental. General Finegan had wanted to remain in his defensive positions at Lake City and Ocean Pond. But when Federal troops met up with Southern troops, the skirmish kept building as more troops came up from both sides. This actually forced Finegan to leave his defensive position and throw his troops into the Olustee battle.
The Federals were thrown back but took up another defensive position. The Union 7th collapsed into a disorganized mob. A black unit, the 8th, was untried with no previous combat experience. For instance, they had had very little practice in firing. They suffered 300 casualties.
Colonel William Barton and his New York troops came forward to stop the route. They had little room to maneuver as swamps bordered both flanks. In addition, the Federals were exposed in the open while the Confederates were in the woods.
Finegan's men took up positions on a line about a mile and a half long running between Ocean Pond on the north and a large cypress swamp on the south. The fighting began soon after noon on Saturday, Feb. 20, and by mid-afternoon the main bodies of both armies were engaged.
They were then thrown back from this position to a third defensive position at where the Olustee Battlefield visitor center is located. The Union troops were again thrown back and it was feared that disaster faced them. But the black troops of the Massachusetts 54th saved the day from complete disaster by coming forward and stopping the Confederate advance.
By a little after six in the evening the battle was over, and the federals began an orderly retreat, made easier by some reinforcements that came up too late for the battle. Though the Confederates failed to follow up their victory, it was decisive. The supply lines in the interior were secure. The two sides had been about evenly matched, each with about 5,000 men. The defenders had the advantage of position. The federals went into battle after several hours of marching and did not succeed in bringing all of their force to bear in a coordinate fashion. Losses were comparatively heavy. Finegan lost 93 killed, 847 wounded, and six missing for a total of 946 casualties. The invaders lost 203 killed, 1,152, and 506 missing for a total of 1,861. The Confederates also captured some much needed equipment.
Seymour retreated to Jacksonville, where he prepared to make a stand. The Confederates fortified a position above McGirt's Creek 12 miles west of Jacksonville, where by March 1 the new commander for Florida, Major Gen James Patton Anderson, had over 8,000 troops. The expected renewal of the fighting never occurred.
Museum of Southern History
4304 Herschel Street, Jacksonville, FL 32210. 914-388-3574.
The purpose of this museum is to establish, maintain, and perpetuate an educational facility for those interested in the history of the Civil War. The museum is dedicated to presenting the lifestyle and culture of the Antebellum South.
The museum was establish in 1975 by Kirby Smith Camp No. 1209, sons of Confederate Veterans. There are a number of exhibits dealing with the Battle of Olustee. Other areas covered are medicine, home life, personal items, camp life, relics, uniforms, weapons, and flags.
Natural Bridge Battlefield State Historic Site
Ten miles southeast of Tallahassee. Take US 363 to Woodville, then go east on Natural Bridge Road (SR 354). Open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset year-round; (904) 925-6216. Free.
Young cadets from West Florida Seminary (now Florida State University) and old men (Gadsden County Grays) joined Confederate forces to inflict heavy casualties on Union soldiers here on March 6, 1865. Thanks to their efforts, Tallahassee was the only southern capital east of the Mississippi that did not fall into Union hands. Each year, in early March, the battle is reenacted.
St. Marks River is nearby.
The Sacking of Darien, Georgia
Darien was burned in Darien in 1863.
Fanny Kembel Butler's young friend, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, was in charge of the black troops of the 54th Massachusetts. In June 1863 the black regiment was sent to Port Royal. They were then sent to Darien (as told in the movie Glory). Darien was pillaged and burned on orders of Colonel James Montgomery of the South Carolina Volunteers. (Montgomery was used to brutal fighting, as he was a veteran of the fighting in bloody Kansas.) The troops first shelled the town from the river and then burned it to the ground. Shaw was shocked. In fact, he was offended that his troops were asked to perform punitive tasks instead of fighting. So he demanded that his troops be sent to the front lines. He got his wish and he met his death at Fort Wagner, South Carolina. (Bell 1987:365-368)
Jefferson Davis Memorial State Historic Site
When Confederate President Jefferson Davis and a few remaining staff members crossed the Savannah River into Georgia on May 3, 1865, they were headed for the Western theater of war where Davis planned to unite rebel forces and continue fighting for the "lost cause." On May 9, 1865, they camped in this pine forest, not knowing that pursuit was so close behind. At dawn, they were surrounded by two independent groups of Union cavalry who were unaware of each other's presence. Gunfire ensued until the federal forces realized they had been shooting at one another. Two Union cavalrymen died during the skirmish. Davis was taken prisoner and held in Virginia for two years until released. Today, a monument marks the spot where he was arrested. (from Georgia State Parks and Historic sites: http://gastateparks.org/info/jeffd/)
13-acre historic site that includes a 1939 WPA-built Civil War museum (with video on capture of Jefferson Davis in park headquarters), 20 picnic tables and a group shelter; short (quarter-mile) nature walk.
The site is located south of Macon in the Plains Region in southern Georgia. To reach the park, take I-75 exit #26 and then go 14 miles east on Georgia Hwy. 32 14 to Irwinville. Turn left on Jeff Davis Park Road and proceed one mile to the site.
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday 2 - 5:30 p.m. Closed Monday (except holidays), Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Closed Tuesday when open Monday.
The Blue and Gray Museum in Fitzgerald, Georgia north of Irwinville celebrates the Civil War veterans who founded the City of Fitzgerald in 1896.
In Tifton is the Georgia Agrirama Living History MuseumI-75 & 8th St., a 19th century living history museum including two working farmsteads, cotton gin, saw mill, grist mill, print shop, drug store, Masonic Lodge, Victorian home, steam train and country store. Costumed interpreters share Georgia's rural heritage with visitors. It is open year round from Monday through Saturday, from 9am to 5pm, closed on Sunday. The Agrirama is also closed on New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, the 3 days before Christmas and Christmas Day.
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