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The Southern States of America
Chapter III - Florida, 1861 - 1909


Secession.

Although the state of Florida was sparsely settled, the population according to the United States census in 1860 being but 140,424, and the highest vote ever cast being only 12,898, yet in proportion to her population she furnished as large a quota to the Confederate army as her sister states. Florida participated in the general political struggle which prevailed throughout the South during the year 1860.

The legislature met in regular session Nov. 26, 1860, a bill was immediately introduced to provide for calling a convention to be held Jan. 3, 1861, which passed both houses unanimously, and an election was ordered for delegates to the convention, which assembled at Tallahassee, the state capital, on the day named. A test resolution in favor of secession was passed by the convention on January 7. A resolution offered on the 9th that the ordinance be submitted to the people for ratification was lost. On January 10 an ordinance of secession was adopted.

The president of the convention was then instructed to inform the proper authorities of other Southern states of the action which Florida had taken, and the following resolution was adopted by the convention:

"Whereas the state of Florida has severed her connection with the late Federal Union, notice of that fact should be communicated to President Buchanan. Resolved that Hons. S. R. Mallery, D. L. Yulee and Geo. S. Hawking be and are hereby appointed commissioners for the purpose."

It was also resolved,

"That this convention authorize and empower the governor of this state to employ the militia of this state, and such forces as may be tendered to the state from the states of Alabama and Georgia to defend and protect the state; and especially the forts and public defences of the state now in possession of the state; and that the governor be authorized to make all necessary arrangements for the support and maintenance of such troops and carrying on the public defences; that it is the sense of this convention that the governor should not direct any assault to be made on any fort or military post now occupied by Federal troops, unless the persons in occupation of such forts and posts shall commit overt acts of hostility against this state, its citizens or troops in its service, unless directed by the vote of this convention."

The War in Florida.

On January 12, two days after the passage of the ordinance of secession, the Pensacola navy yard and Fort Barrancas were abandoned by the Federal troops who retired to Fort Pickens after spiking the guns in both places. The movement indicated that the Federal garrisons anticipated a demand for the surrender of the forts within the limits of the state, and were preparing to act on the defensive by concentrating in this strong fortress, which was located on the extreme western part of Santa Rosa Island and commanded the entrance to Pensacola Bay and harbor, where they could sustain a siege and with the aid of the navy could soon control the city of Pensacola and the adjacent towns. The possession of this fort was of vital importance to the seceding states on the Gulf of Mexico, no other place being safe while the Federal troops held Fort Pickens which was an almost impregnable stronghold and could only be taken by an effective force and a bold and skilful movement. The importance of Pensacola to Alabama from a military point of view induced the governor to send thither a regiment of 225 troops under the command of Colonel Lomax; and the governor of Mississippi ordered troops to go to Mobile and there await orders to go to Pensacola. Troops were also sent from Georgia. The object of this concentration of forces was to prevent the establishment of a great Federal depot at this point, from which none of the gulf ports would have been free from danger, especially Mobile and New Orleans. Though these demonstrations were apparently hostile, yet it was the unanimous feeling that no blood should be shed in the existing state of affairs and that a Southern Confederacy must first be organized. Senator S. E. Mallery telegraphed to the commanding officer "that a collision should be avoided; that Fort Pickens was not worth a drop of blood"; hence within about ten days the troops were disbanded by the order of Governor Perry, it having been decided not to attack Fort Pickens at that time.

The convention of Florida, still in session, sent three delegates to the Southern convention to be held at Montgomery, Ala., in February for the purpose of forming a provisional government. The delegates were instructed "to oppose any attempt on the part of said convention to legislate or transact any business whatever, other than the adoption of a provisional government to be substantially on the basis of the constitution of the late United States, and a permanent constitution for the Southern Confederacy upon the same basis; and that in the event of the said convention undertaking on any pretext whatever to exercise any powers than that above enumerated our delegates are instructed to protest against the same and to declare in behalf of the state of Florida that such acts will not be binding." On Feb. 4, 1861, the delegates from the seceding states prepared a provisional constitution for the new Confederacy which was adopted on February 8. All the principal measures of that body met with the approval and support of the Florida delegates; and on February 9, Mr. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was elected president and Mr. Alexander H. Stevens, of Georgia, vice-president.

War having been begun soon after the inauguration of President Lincoln, the governor of Florida began active preparations for the inevitable conflict. Orders were issued to the volunteer companies to organize into battalions and regiments, and for all citizens subject to military duty to prepare at once for war and be in readiness for the defense of the state and the protection of the extensive line of Florida's seacoast. The response to the call was prompt, resulting in a few months in the formation of regimental organizations composed of the finest material in the state. Four artillery companies were also formed, known as Abel's, Gamble's, Dunham's and Martin's, which did good service not only in the state but in the army of Tennessee. Senator Yulee wrote from Washington that "the immediately important thing to be done is the occupation of the forts and arsenals in Florida," occupied by United States troops in the following places, viz., the Apalachicola arsenal at Chattahoochee, where there were stored a number of small arms, 5,000 pounds of powder and about 175,000 cartridges; Fort Barrancas, with forty-four cannon and ammunition; Banancas barracks, where there was a field battery; Fort Pickens equipped with 201 cannon with ammunition; Fort McRee, with 125 seacoast and garrison cannon; Fort Taylor at Key West, with sixty cannon; Key West barracks, with four cannon; Fort Marion, with six field batteries and some small arms, and Fort Jefferson on the Tortu-gas. As the naval station and forts at Pensacola were first in consequence, ten companies were ordered to the military rendezvous at Chattahoochee arsenal and were there organized into a regiment known as the "First Florida Infantry Regiment," which was ordered to report at Pensacola to General Bragg, who on March 8, 1861, had been appointed brigadier-general in the provisional army and assigned to duty in Florida with headquarters at Pensacola.

Lieut. A. J. Slemmer was in command of Fort Pickens, having a force of eighty men. He was summoned to surrender the fort to the governors of Alabama and Florida on January 12, and also on the 15th. A few days later the demand was renewed by Col. W. H. Chase who had constructed the fort when an officer of the United States army; but Slemmer refused to comply with these demands. Meantime the Washington government sent reinforcements to forts Taylor and Jefferson and the Confederates under Colonel Chase began to erect a battery.

The sloop of war Brooklyn with a company of artillerymen was sent to reinforce Fort Pickens with orders from General Scott to land the company and hold the fort until further orders.

On April 1 Col. Harvey Brown was given command of Florida by the United States government and ordered to make Fort Jefferson the base of operations. His fleet consisted of the ship Atlantic, the Illinois (carrying stores) and the Sabine, the St. Louis and the Crusaders, also the Powhattan, commanded by Lieut. David D. Porter. The obvious purpose of the United States government was to retain the fortifications at Key West, Dry Tortugas and Santa Rosa Island, to which end 3,000 troops were to be concentrated on the Island of Santa Rosa. Meanwhile the Confederate government called out the following troops for the defense of Pensacola harbor, viz., from Georgia 1,000, from Alabama 1,000, from Louisiana 1,000, from Mississippi 1,500, from Florida 500; total, 5,000. As far as practicable Florida made preparations to defend itself against invasion, but it was impossible to fortify the entire coast. Key West and Tortugas were held by the Federals and these posts were the keys to the gulf. At St. Augustine, Fort Clinch at the mouth of the St. Johns River, Fernandina, Cedar Keys, St. Marks, Apalachicola and at Tallahassee were a few guns only. In May Florida had an estimated force of 700 men at Pensacola and nearly 2,000 more were organized and equipped ready to march where ordered.

On May 10 the United States schooner William Atwater with thirty-one men was captured off Cedar Keys by the Confederate steamer Spray. She was taken to Apalachicola and converted into a blockade runner, but in January, 1862, the Atwater was recaptured by the Federal steamer Itasca. In July Tampa Bay was blockaded, and in August St. Marks was also blockaded by the steamer Mohawh, and the channel obstructed by the sinking of a captured sloop. The Federal steamer Massachusetts captured four schooners and sent them as prizes to Key West, but they were recaptured by the Florida troops when off Cedar Keys; subsequently all the important ports were blockaded by the United States navy. The military command of middle and east Florida was assigned first to Brigadier-General Grayson, and afterward to Gen. James H. Trapier, and in November it was included in a new department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, under command of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Early in October Maj. W. L. L. Bowen captured two sloops with thirteen men at Tampa Bay.

In Pensacola harbor on Sept. 14, 1861, the Confederate schooner Judah, carrying five guns, while lying at the navy yard, was captured and burned by the United States forces; they lost three killed and thirteen wounded. This was the first encounter in the state in which lives were lost. General Bragg sent an expedition of 1,000 troops under command of Brig.-Gen. B. H. Anderson, against the outposts on Santa Rosa Island. Wilson's zouaves were in charge of the outposts; they were driven in and the camp, containing large stores of provisions, clothing, equipage, arms and ammunition, was burned. The Confederate loss was: killed eighteen, wounded thirty-seven, taken prisoners thirty. It was estimated that the Federal troops lost 150 killed and wounded and twenty prisoners.

On November 24 there was an artillery battle between Fort Pickens and the two battleships Niagara and Richmond on the Union side, and Fort McRee and other Confederate batteries. It lasted two days, but the loss of life was small and the results indecisive. No important engagement occurred this year. In February, 1862, as more troops were needed in Tennessee and Kentucky, the Confederate War Department decided to abandon all Florida ports, and General Bragg ordered Gen. Samuel Jones, who was in charge at Pensacola, to abandon the works and move the heavy guns with ammunition to Mobile, to which port General Bragg had been transferred, and other supplies to Montgomery, Ala. His orders were as follows: "I desire you particularly to leave nothing the enemy can use; burn all from Fort McRee to the junction with the Mobile road. Save the guns and if necessary destroy our gunboats and other boats. They might be used against us. Destroy all machinery, etc., public and private, which could be useful to the enemy; especially disable the saw mills in and around the bay, and burn the lumber. Break up the railroad from Pensacola to the junction, carrying the iron up to a safe point." General Bragg was succeeded by General Jones, who detailed Col. T. M. Jones to execute General Bragg's orders. On May 7, hearing of Federal demonstrations at Mobile harbor, he proceeded to evacuate at once. All sick and baggage were sent out on the 8th and on the night of the 9th the infantry marched out, leaving several companies of cavalry to accomplish the work of destruction. Public buildings, camp tents, and whatever was combustible, from the navy yard to Fort McRee, were quickly in flames; and, notwithstanding that the Federal fleet opened a heavy fire, the work of destruction was thoroughly completed. At Pensacola, an oil factory, the quartermaster's store-houses, three small steamers and some small boats were burned. On May 12 the Federal forces took possession of the ruins, and also occupied Pensacola. Fernandina was evacuated in March, 1862; St. Augustine surrendered to Commander Rodgers of the flagship Wabash on March 11, and Jacksonville on March 12. The destruction of two unfinished gunboats lying at the wharf at Pensacola, by Lieutenant-Colonel Beard, who acted under the orders of Maj.-Gen. Sam Jones, elicited the censure of G. W. Randolph, the secretary of war, who pronounced it an unnecessary act and a serious loss to the Confederacy.

Previous to the occupation of Jacksonville, a battalion of Confederate troops, numbering 400, and under the command of Col. C. F. Hopkins, had come in and, acting under orders, burned the extensive sawmills and the foundry, also the Judson House, a fine hotel. On March 19 Gen. F. W. Sherman arrived at Jacksonville and called a meeting of loyal citizens, and steps were taken to secure the cooperation of other counties in restoring Florida to the Union, but without much result. On April 8 the Federal troops evacuated Jacksonville, and many buildings were burned, presumably by the soldiers or camp followers. After the evacuation of Pensacola, General Hunter ordered Colonel Bell, commanding at St. Augustine, "to at once drive out of your lines all persons, without reference to sex, who have not taken and still refuse to take the oath of allegiance." A similar order was made by Brigadier-General Saxton, directing the provost-marshal to expel all such people who should refuse to take the oath of allegiance. A large number of women and children were put on board the steamer Burnside, but off the bar of the St. Johns River, they were met by Gen. A. H. Terry, who, under the direction of General Brannon, countermanded General Saxton's order, and compelled the Burnside to return to St. Augustine with the expelled people.

On May 20 a boat from a blockading vessel in the Apalachicola River was attacked by Capt. H. T. Blecker, and seventeen of the twenty-one on board were killed or wounded. On June 30 the Confederate battery at Tampa Bay, held by Captain Pearson, was attacked by a Federal gunboat, which after several hours' cannonading withdrew with but little damage on either side. A heavy battery at St. Johns Bluff on the St. Johns River, under the command of Col. C. F. Hopkins, was attacked by a heavy force of United States gunboats and troops. The position was flanked by the latter, rendering it untenable, and consequently it was abandoned by the Confederates.

In January, 1863, Colonel Higginson, with a regiment of South Carolina troops, made an expedition from Fernandina up the St. Marys River without accomplishing anything of note, and on March 10 he and Colonel Montgomery, commanding a force of colored troops, took possession of Jacksonville. General Saxton had become impressed with the idea that a great deal could be done by securing the negroes in Florida and enlisting them in the United States service. He obtained Mr. Lincoln's indorsement of his plan, and was authorized to enlist 5,000 negroes for military service and 5,000 as laborers. He proposed to make Jacksonville an asylum for negroes. General Saxton reported that negroes were collecting from all quarters, but he was apprehensive of being attacked by the Confederates, who, under General Finnegan, were closely surrounding the town. Being reinforced he moved out against the Confederates, but after a sharp skirmish, retired. Colonel Montgomery went up the river to Palatka raiding plantations and carrying off negroes, but in attempting to land at Palatka bis troops were fired upon by Confederate troops under Capt. J. J. Dickinson, who afterward became celebrated as "The Marion of Florida," and be immediately returned to Jacksonville. On March 27, 1863, after seventeen days' occupation, General Hunter ordered the evacuation of Jacksonville, thus breaking up the plans of General Saxton for recovering Florida to the Union.

The government at "Washington had been led to believe that there was a strong Union sentiment in Florida which would declare itself if a sufficient force was sent into the state; hence President Lincoln sent Major Hay to further this end, with blanks and papers to be used in the process of restoring the state to the Union. General Gilmore, in command of the department in the South, entertained similar views, and his plan was to occupy Florida in force, to cut off the Confederate sources of commissary supplies of beef and salt, and to procure an outlet for cotton, lumber, turpentine, etc; also to obtain recruits for colored regiments and to inaugurate movements for the restoration of Florida to the Union. As most of Florida's troops were in Virginia or the west, leaving only a few hundred in movable detachments to guard the interior of the state, it was supposed that the Federal forces would meet with but little opposition in an advance to the capital of Florida, Tallahassee, and that they would expel the Confederate authorities and organize a quasi-state government which should recognize the supremacy of the United States.

Accordingly, on February 5 Gilmore ordered Gen. Truman Seymour to proceed with a division of troops from Hilton Head to Jacksonville. Admiral Dahlgren sailed with a squadron of five gunboats to escort the transports, and the expedition, comprising about 7,000 men, including cavalry, infantry and artillery, was landed at Jacksonville on Feb. 2, 1864. On receipt of this intelligence General Finnegan, then in command of the Confederate forces, notified Lieutenant-General McCormick who had a force of about 350 men at Camp Finnegan, to guard against a surprise. On the night of the 8th an advance was made by a troop of cavalry under Col. Guy Henry, which passed Camp Finnegan and captured a battery and several wagons and mules. Proceeding to St. Marys, near the Georgia line they encountered two companies of cavalry under Maj. Robert Harrison, by whom their progress was checked, and they returned to Sanderson, from which place they made a raid to Gainesville, capturing sugar, cotton, etc., on the way. While at Gainesville they made a temporary breastwork of cotton bales and repulsed an attack by two companies of Confederate cavalry. The captured stores were burned, and the Union troops left and rejoined General Seymour, who, having encountered but little opposition and being greatly elated by the success of these two raids, decided to make a forward movement.

On February 13 General Finnegan had concentrated near Lake City a force of 4,600 infantry, 600 cavalry and three field batteries of twelve guns. He had encamped his little army at Olustee on a line between Ocean Pond and a cypress pond. The Union force, as officially stated, was 5,500 men. Upon receiving information of the advance of General Seymour, General Finnegan sent out a force of cavalry and part of the Georgia troops to skirmish with the enemy, who were then about three miles east of Olustee. The skirmish developed into a battle in which all the forces were speedily engaged. The ground was stubbornly contested by the Confederates, notwithstanding that two Georgia regiments had exhausted their supply of ammunition and were compelled to hold their ground for fifteen or twenty minutes without a round of ammunition, but with which they were finally supplied from a train of cars half a mile distant. A New Hampshire regiment armed with Spencer rifles found the Confederate fire too heavy and broke in confusion; a colored regiment having its colonel and major killed, also broke and retreated; but on the whole General Seymour's forces fought bravely, having marched fourteen miles and fought for three hours before retreating. Their batteries were well served, but they left five guns and 1,600 stands of arms on the field. The losses as officially reported were 1,861 killed, wounded and missing on the Federal side, and 940 on the Confederate side. Under date of February 22, General Beauregard sent the following congratulatory message to General Finnegan: "I congratulate you and your brave officers and their commands on your brilliant victory over the enemy on the 20th inst. Your country will be cheered by this timely success, and I trust it is but the earnest of heavier and crushing blows which shall destroy our enemy on the soil of Florida."

The defeat at Olustee put an end to President Lincoln's expectation of restoring Florida to the Union, and to General Gilmore's and General Seymour's plans of separating her from the rest of the Confederacy. On May 9, 1862, Maj.-Gen. David Hunter, U. S. A., had ordered the emancipation of all the slaves in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, but on May 19 President Lincoln issued a proclamation stating that General Hunter nor any other commander or person had been authorized by the government of the United States to make proclamation declaring the slaves of any state free, and that the supposed proclamation was altogether void.

On March 10, 1864, the Federal troops occupied Palatka, located on the St. Johns River about sixty-five miles from Jacksonville, but it was evacuated by them on April 12. While there, frequent skirmishes occurred with Capt. J. J. Dickinson's Second Florida cavalry. Torpedoes had been placed in the river between Jacksonville and Palatka by the Confederates, and on April 1 the United States transport Maple Leaf was blown up and sunk off Maudarin Point, and what was left above water was burned. Captain Dickinson, having occupied Palatka after its abondonment by the Federals, made arrangements to engage any gunboats or transports coming up the river. On May 22, 1864, two gunboats and four transports were seen coming up near Palatka. One of these the gunboat Ottawa, the largest boat on the river, carrying twelve guns was accompanied by a transport which had landed troops on the other side of the river; they continued on their way and anchored about three miles above Palatka at Brown's Landing. The Confederates opened fire on them with two guns which they had hurriedly hauled from Palatka, and the transport Was so badly crippled that she hoisted anchor and left without firing a gun. The Ottawa, however, responded with so heavy a broadside that Captain Dickinson ordered his two guns withdrawn, but she was badly injured and could not move for thirty hours. Several of her crew were killed and wounded. The Confederates lost not a man.

The gunboat Columbine having passed up the river the previous night, Captain Dickinson determined to await her return, and proceeded to a landing known as Horse Landing, six miles distant from engagement of the previous evening. The Columbine appeared about three o'clock and approached within sixty yards of the landing before a gun was fired. Two rounds were then fired which disabled the vessel, and she floated down and river and struck a sand bar. A hot fight ensued. The boat carried two fine thirty-two rifle guns and 148 men with small arms. The fight lasted forty-five minutes when she surrendered. Only sixty-six of the 148 men were found alive, and one-third of these were badly wounded, several of whom died that night. The Confederates did not lose a man. Captain Dickinson ordered the boat burned as it was impossible to save her from the enemy, several gunboats being in the river below. On the Columbine were found orders explaining the object of landing the two regiments of Federal troops on the east side of the river. The gunboats were ordered to guard well each landing, and use all means to prevent Dickinson from recrossing the river. The two regiments were to scour the country on the east side of the river for Dickinson's command. As he had only a few days previous crossed to the east side and captured two posts, returning all safe, it would seem from this plan that the great trouble of the enemy was to locate Dickinson at any time only when engaged in fighting. On April 16 the United States transport Hunter was blown up and sunk by a torpedo near the place where the Maple Leaf had been previously destroyed. Tampa was occupied by a detachment of Union troops on May 6 and the Confederate guns and battery disabled. The United States transport Harriet A. Weed was blown up and sunk by a torpedo near Cedar Creek and the crew drowned. On May 9 Captain Dickinson captured fifty-six men and two officers at Welaka and Saunders on the St. Johns. On July 21 General Ashboth moved out of Pensacola to attack Fort Hodgson, fifteen miles from Pensacola, which after half an hour's engagement was evacuated by the Confederates. Captain Childs, with a Union force from Fort Myers, landed at Bayport and captured some cotton and negroes; Major Weeks, with a United States force from Cedar Key, landed at St. Andrews Bay and captured cotton and burned bridges. On August 15 a raiding party, commanded by Colonel Harris of the Seventy-fifth Ohio, with 138 men of that regiment, ninety men of the Fourth Massachusetts cavalry, and one piece of artillery and ten men, left Baldwin, advanced in the direction of Lake City up to Fort Butler in Bradford county, and then flanked around to Starke, a small town fourteen miles north of Waldo, at which place Captain Dickinson was with his command. Flanking Waldo and cutting the telegraph wires, and tearing up the railroad track to prevent communication with the Confederate forces at Lake City, they proceeded to Gainesville, where immediately after their arrival they were attacked by a force of cavalry under Captain Dickinson and completely routed. Colonel Harris escaped to Magnolia with less than forty men. On his march Harris had gathered 200 negroes, forty mules, wagons and other plunder, but all of these were recaptured by Captain Dickinson, whose whole force was only 175 and whose loss was but two killed and four wounded.

In September General Ashboth made a raid from Pensacola on Marianna, capturing many citizens and much private property, and carrying off 600 negroes. About 100 prisoners were taken and sent north, principally to Elmira, N. Y. The objective point of General Ashboth's expedition was to capture Tallahassee, the capital of the state, but as he was seriously wounded in the encounter, the plan failed.
On October 24 Captain Dickinson attacked a force of Federal cavalry near Middleburg on Black Creek, completely routing them, killing and capturing almost the entire command, of which three only escaped, and without any loss to the Confederates. A few days afterward Dickinson's cavalry encountered another Federal force near St. Augustine and defeated it. On the same date two Federal steam transports, with a force of 700 men and two howitzers left Barrancas to proceed up the Blackwater Bay, whence the troops were to march to Pierce's mills to secure a supply of lumber and thence advance toward Milton, about twelve miles distant. Near Milton they encountered a detachment of about eighty Confederate cavalry and a brisk fight ensued, forcing the latter to retire. On Feb. 2, 1865, Captain Dickinson attacked the Seventeenth Connecticut regiment, commanded by Colonel "Wilcoxson, near Picolata and captured the entire command of seventy-five men, together with all their fine cavalry horses, and also ten wagons loaded with sea-island cotton, each with six mules and horses. On February 13 two Federal regiments were landed at Cedar Keys under cover of their gunboats, and advanced up the Florida railroad toward Lake City. At Levy-ville, Captain Dickinson encountered them with a force of about 150 men. The Union forces fell back to Station Number Four and occupied a strong position behind a high embankment of the railroad, where Dickinson attacked them. After four hours' desperate fighting the Confederates had exhausted their ammunition, and the Union troops retreated, having lost seventy killed and wounded; Dickinson's loss was six.

After the defeat of the Federal troops at Cedar Keys on Feb. 13, 1865, it was determined to make another effort to capture Tallahassee, and for this purpose Gen. John Newton planned to concentrate forces from Cedar Keys, Santa Rosa and Key West; land in the neighborhood of St. Marks, and in conjunction with a naval force, ascend the river. The cavalry, infantry and artillery landed at Lighthouse Point, marched to Newport, and finding that the bridge had been burned, went eight miles further up to the Natural Bridge, where they were surprised to find some Confederate troops prepared to meet them. As they were under the impression that the Confederate forces were so scattered over the state, that they would encounter little or no opposition, the Union troops were forced to fall back to their gunboats after sustaining a heavy loss. No other important engagement occurred in Florida, as upon April 9, 1865, General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House, and the Confederate forces in Florida made a formal surrender to General McCook on May 30, 1865.

Reconstruction in Florida.

Gov. John Milton died April 1 and Lieut.-Gov. A. K. Allison assumed the duties of governor, but he, together with Senator Yulee, was soon consigned as a prisoner of state to Fort Pulaski, Ga. Senator Stephen E. Mallory, Confederate secretary of war, was imprisoned in Fort Lafayette, N. Y. The dark days of reconstruction were now entered upon, and on July 13, 1865, Judge William Marvin was appointed by President Johnson provisional governor of Florida, with authority to call a constitutional convention. On August 3 he issued a call for an election to be held October 25. An amnesty oath was required as a qualification to vote at such election, and no person was to be allowed to vote who was not a qualified voter before Jan. 10, 1861, thus preventing any negro from voting; 7,042 persons subscribed to the oath, fifty-six delegates were chosen, and the convention met at Tallahassee, Oct. 25, 1865. The ordinance of secession was repealed and a new constitution adopted, which provided for an election to be held on Nov. 20, 1865, for governor, cabinet officers, judges, legislature, county officers and members of Congress. The whole vote cast at this election was less than 4,000. David S. Walker was elected governor, only eight votes being cast against him. He had been one of the judges of the Supreme Court and one of the most popular leaders of the old line Whig party; W. W. J. Kelly was elected lieutenant-governor. The legislature met Dec. 20, 1865. Wilkinson Call and William Marvin were chosen United States senators, but were not, however, admitted to their seats in Congress. The Thirteenth amendment to the constitution was ratified on Dec. 28, only two votes being cast in opposition. In February, 1866, Congress enlarged the functions of the Freedman's Bureau. This was an institution devised by Congress under the influence of the very best people of the North as a means of protection of the freedmen and to prepare them for the new responsibilities and privileges conferred. Instead of a blessing it proved a curse to the race, administered as it was by dishonest men. The national government sent provisions to the state to be distributed to such of the freedmen as were struggling without means of subsistence to make a crop, but instead of honestly distributing the meat and flour, those in charge of the bureau appropriated much of it for their own benefit. General Steadman was appointed to examine and report upon the condition of the Bureau's affairs; learning which, the commissioner of the Bureau for the state, who, in company with a retired army officer, carried on a large plantation on the Apalachicola, suddenly transferred his interest to his partner, who gathered and disposed of the cotton crop and all available stock, and disappeared. The Freedman's Savings Bank in Jacksonville, in which had been deposited considerable sums of money by colored and white people, under the impression that it was backed by the United States government, but which was an institution organized with no capital by a political ring, failed and the deluded depositors recovered only 62 per cent. of their money.

The legislature met again in December, 1866. Meantime Congress had passed the Fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, and it was proposed to the legislatures for ratification. It virtually disfranchised the most intelligent classes of the South. Those who had held office of any kind, national or state, under the Confederate government were disqualified from voting or holding any office in the state. Governor Walker advised its rejection and the legislature refused its ratification. In March, 1867, Congress passed the reconstruction law, over the President's veto, which divided the Southern states into five military districts, over which the President was authorized to place an army officer with supreme control. Florida was made part of the Third Military District, under the command of Gen. John T. Pope, who was succeeded by Gen. G. C. Meade, with Gen. John T. Sprague commanding in Florida. The law provided that registration should be made in every county in each state, and each applicant was required to make oath that he had not given aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States. After the registration was completed, an election was to be held for a constitutional convention to form a constitution and frame a civil government acceptable to the people of Florida and the Congress of the United States. The registration lists showed 11,148 white and 15,434 colored voters, but only 14,503 votes were cast, nearly all for a convention. Forty-five delegates were elected. On Jan. 20, 1868, the day appointed for the meeting of the convention at Tallahassee, twenty of the delegates met and elected a president and secretary, the former being D. Richards, of Sterling, Ill., who was returned from Gadsden county (where he had spent but two days of his life), and W. H. Christy, of Jacksonville. There existed two factions in the state, viz., the Loyal League, headed by Richards, and the Lincoln Brotherhood, by F. W. Osborn, both of which had been organized among the Freedmen. The Osborn faction withdrew and went to Monticello, leaving the body without a quorum. The remaining members continued in session, framed and adopted a constitution, and sent it to General Meade for approval. At midnight the seceders came from Monticello and took possession of the hall of the House of Representatives and organized as a convention. Several members of the opposing faction were ousted and others seated. An appeal was made to General Meade, who came to Florida and directed both factions to come together and take their seats in the convention, and that both presiding officers resign, and General Sprague take the chair and reorganize the convention. This was done; Horatio Jenkins, Jr., was elected president and Sherman Conant, secretary. The convention then adopted that known as the Constitution of 1868. "Under this constitution suffrage was to be universal. Judges and all state officers were to be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate; upon a popular vote the constitution was ratified by a majority of 5,000. Harrison Reed, who came to Florida after the war, holding a government office, was nominated for governor by the Republicans, and George W. Scott by the Democrats. Reed was elected, and a legislature consisting of twenty-four senators and fifty-three representatives was elected, the majority being Republicans, including quite a number of negroes.

Ignoring the action of the preceding legislature, the newly elected legislature ratified both the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments to the constitution of the United States, and the election of senators previously made was disregarded. Florida was readmitted to representation in Congress under the act of June 25, 1868, and on July 4, the newly elected state officers were installed. On June 15, 1868, the legislature ratified the Fifteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, and elected F. W. Osborn, chief of the Freedman's Bureau, and Abijah Gilbert of St. Augustine, who was very wealthy and had agreed to cash $50,000 or $100,000 of state bonds when issued at eighty-five cents on the dollar. Subsequently on January 19 a resolution was introduced into the legislature reciting the fact that large sums of money had been used at the last session of the legislature to secure the election of said Gilbert, and that, therefore, the said election was unlawful and void. There was no intention of the Osborn ring, who controlled the legislature, to elect another senator, but only to make Gilbert pay more for his seat, for which they openly said he had not paid enough. The old gentleman submitted and retained his seat, but said '' Surely I have fallen into a den of thieves.'' Charles M. Hamilton, an agent of the Freedman's Bureau, was elected to the House of Representatives. For the first time in the history of the state, presidential electors were chosen by the legislature, not by the people, who cast the vote of Florida for Gen. U. S. Grant. As Governor Reed had resisted the efforts of the Osborn ring to loot the treasury, the latter endeavored to impeach him for malfeasance in office at three different times, but failed to do so.

In view of the conduct of the legislature, and the marked distrust between the blacks and whites, the governor deemed it advisable to secure an armament for the state in case military force should become necessary. He sought the aid of the national government but it was refused. He applied to Governor Fenton of New York and Governor Andrews of Massachusetts for a loan of arms but was unsuccessful. He then purchased in New York 2,000 stands of muskets and 4,000 rounds of ammunition for $21,000, giving four months' notes for the same. The arms were shipped and delivered in Jacksonville, where they were received by the adjutant-general, Carse, and General Houston and placed in cars to be delivered in Tallahassee. Unknown to General Houston, the president of the railroad company, men were secreted in the cars who were to throw them out when they reached Madison county where a company of Dickinson's guerillas were placed to seize and destroy them. All but 800 of the guns were thrown out and carried away by the enemies of the governor, and Governor Reed was left to foot the bill; but no occasion arose for calling out the troops, although in 1868 and 1869 there were great lawlessness and a number of murders in Jackson county, where the blacks and whites became arrayed against each other in deadly hostility. On Jan. 4, 1870, the legislature met in the third regular session under the constitution of 1868. Josiah T. Walls, an intelligent colored citizen of Alachua county, was nominated as the Republican candidate for Congress. The Democrats nominated S. L. Niblock of Columbia county, and the Hon. William D. Bloxham of Leon county for lieutenant-governor. The state canvassers threw out several counties and gave Walls the certificate of election, but he was unseated by Congress, and Niblock declared entitled to the seat. Bloxham, who had been counted out, was by a decision of the supreme court of the state given that office. He had been a slaveholder, but after the emancipation established a colored school on his plantation, building a schoolhouse at his own expense and contributing the major portion of the money for a teacher.

Much of the time of the legislature of 1872 was consumed in attempts to impeach Governor Reed, and they were so far successful that he was placed under arrest and disqualified from performing any of the duties of his office as governor of Florida until acquitted by the Senate of Florida. Lieutenant-Governor Day proceeded to assume the office of governor. Governor Reed carried the matter before the supreme court of Florida and obtained a decision in his favor. The Republicans met in convention in July, 1872, and nominated Ossian B. Hart for governor. The Democrats also held a convention and nominated W. D. Bloxham. Hart was elected but died in 1874 and was succeeded by Lieut.-Gov. M. L. Stearns; and Josiah T. Walls (colored) and W. J. Parman were elected Representatives in Congress. Under the constitution of 1868, the Seminole Indians, residing mostly in the counties of Dade and Monroe, in the extreme southern part of the state, were entitled to one representative in each branch of the legislature; accordingly a man named J. King, claiming to be a Seminole, came to Tallahassee and asked to be received representative of the Seminoles. As he proved to be a bogus Indian his application was rejected. In this legislature about one-half were negroes. In the succeeding legislature of 1875 parties were nearly equally divided, and Charles W. Jones, a Democratic member of the legislature from Escambia county, was elected senator.

The Republican party had now been in power in the state since 1868, mainly by the aid of the colored vote. The fall election of 1876 was of vast importance, not only to the state of Florida, but also to the United States. The canvassing board was in session several days and by the rejection of certain counties and precincts the Democratic candidate for governor, George F. Drew, was declared elected and the majority of ninety-seven for the Tilden electors was changed into a majority of 928 for Mr. Hayes. The contest was transferred to Washington where the electoral commissioners by a vote of eight to seven awarded the electoral vote of Florida to Rutherford B. Hayes.

Democratic Party in Power, 1876-1909.

Governor Drew's administration was a very successful one. Confidence was restored. State bonds rose from 65 per cent. to par and taxes were reduced. The census of 1880 showed that the population of Florida was 269,493, of whom 142,605 were white and 126,696 colored and 180 Indian. The assessed valuation of taxable property was $31,000,000.

In 1880 William D. Bloxham was elected governor. During his administration 4,000,000 acres of swamp and overflowed land were sold to Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia for $1,000,000. Mr. Disston undertook to plant cane and manufacture sugar on a large scale, but want of familiarity with the conditions necessary to success involved an enormous loss and the scheme was ultimately abandoned. At the session of the legislature in 1881 numerous charters were granted to railroads, and up to 1884 1,045 miles of railroad had been constructed. Population increased rapidly and a special impetus was given to the planting out of orange groves. In 1885 the orange crop reached 900,000 boxes and notwithstanding a severe frost on Jan. 12, 1886, which destroyed all the fruit on the trees, the growers were not discouraged, and crops grew larger every year until Dec. 29, 1894, when another and more disastrous frost occurred, destroying all the ungathered fruit, estimated at over 2 000,000 boxes and worth as many dollars. Again on Feb. 7, 1895, the temperature fell to fifteen degrees above zero. In one night men who at sundown were owners of large fortunes were made penniless. A frost such as was never known in the history of the state reached all the way down to the end of the peninsula. The freezing of the oranges only would have meant but the loss of one crop, and the growers would have lost only one year's income, but it did not stop there, the trees themselves were frozen. At that time the orange crop of Florida was about 5,000,000 boxes a year. It was reduced to nothing in a single night. While the orange culture had received a severe blow it was not abandoned and at the present time it has reached a production of about 3,000,000 boxes. The result has been advantageous to the state, as it has led to the cultivation of a diversity of fruits and crops which are yielding a greater income than did the orange crop.

The election of 1884 resulted in the choice of Gen. Edward A. Perry for governor. He was a native of Massachusetts but had been a resident of Florida before the War of Secession. He entered the Confederate service and became a brigadier-general. In 1885 a constitutional convention was called and met at Tallahassee June 9 and framed a constitution which was ratified by a vote of the people, and went into operation Jan. 1, 1887. In the latter part of July, 1888, yellow fever broke out in Jacksonville. The epidemic lasted till December. The whole number of cases was about 5,000, the deaths 500. Measures were promptly adopted to prevent any future recurrence of an epidemic, and no case has occurred since.

At the election of 1888 Francis P. Fleming was elected governor. The entire vote of the state was 66,641, of which the Cleveland electors received 39,561. By the census of 1890 the population of Florida was shown to be 391,422, of whom 224,949 were white and 166,495 colored.

About this period Mr. Henry M. Flagler, vice-president of the Standard Oil Company, and Mr. Henry B. Plant, a railroad magnate of New York, each erected magnificent hotels at St. Augustine and Tampa, which, with increased railroad facilities leading to Florida, very largely increased the tourist travel. In 1892 Henry L. Mitchell was elected governor and the Cleveland electors received 30,143 votes. No Republican presidential ticket was put in the field, but the populist, Weaver, received 4,843 votes.

In 1881 Mr. J. F. LeBaron, a civil engineer, found phosphate pebbles in Pease Creek. It attracted no attention at the time, but in 1889 phosphate of a high grade was discovered at Dunnellon in Marion county, which created considerable excitement, and the whole country was explored for other deposits. Companies were formed, lands purchased and plants constructed to prepare the phosphate for manufacturers of fertilizers. The territory in which phosphate was found extended about 200 miles along the western border of the state, and in a number of river beds. The export for 1894-95 was about 500,000 tons, valued at $5,000,000. C. F. Van Horn, of the United States Geological Survey, reported in 1907 the actual quantity of phosphate rock mined in Florida was 1,386,578 long tons, valued at $4.85 per ton, and that nearly 60 per cent. of the entire production of the United States came from Florida.

In November, 1896, William D. Bloxham was elected governor and the vote of the state was given to the national ticket headed by William J. Bryan. During Bloxham's administration the Cuban war occurred. Large numbers of Cubans had settled in Tampa, Key West and other parts of Florida. General Weyler's inhuman policy, and the destruction of the Maine aroused the sympathy of the Floridians and Florida became the gathering point for the troops called out by the President, and Jacksonville and Tampa were occupied by large bodies of soldiers, under the command of Maj.-Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. Secret expeditions were formed by Cuban sympathizers from time to time in Florida ports. Small and swift steamers carried arms and munitions of war to the insurgents. Chief among these was the steamer known as the Three Friends, of which the present governor of Florida was one of the owners.

In 1900 William S. Jennings was elected governor. His cousin, William Jennings Bryan, was the Democratic nominee for President, and received the electoral vote of the state. During Governor Jennings' administration occurred the disastrous fire in Jacksonville. At noon on Friday, May 3, the fire broke out in Cleveland's fibre factory in the northwestern section of the city. A brisk northwest wind quickly spread the flames to adjacent dwellings, and before the fire department could reach the scene the fire was beyond control and swept rapidly in a southeasterly direction. The wind became a furious gale, and, the houses being chiefly frame, burned like cigar boxes, and as there had been a long dry spell the flying cinders were carried from roof to roof until the city became a roaring furnace of flame, in which even those buildings constructed of brick melted like wax. At 8:30 p. m., 150 blocks covering an area of 455 acres of the best and most populous portion of the city were in ashes embracing the city hall and market, the Duval court house, the city clerk's office with all the public records, the armory, the board of trade and city library, the fire department and three engine houses, the police headquarters, the city jail, the Seminole and Elks' club buildings, seventeen churches and the high school. The total number of buildings consumed was 2,362 was the value of property destroyed was $15,000,000; insured for only $6,000,000; and 10,000 persons were rendered homeless, but fortunately only six lives were lost. There has probably never been in this country or anywhere else such a remarkable rebuilding of a burnt city as has been shown in the instance of Jacksonville. The ashes had hardly grown cold before the work of rebuilding began. Business was resumed by the larger business houses in improvised sheds. New stocks of goods ordered, banks opened up in temporary quarters, Sunday services resumed in makeshift places and everything done to restore order and confidence. The number of buildings since erected is 7,850 at the rate of 1,000 a year. Ten per cent. of the number are brick and two per cent. of reinforced concrete and stone.

In the fall of 1905 Napoleon B. Broward, a native Floridian of humble parentage, was elected governor of the state. He began his career as cook on a steamboat and by indomitable energy worked his way upward until he obtained the highest office in the state. He built the famous steamer Three Friends and personally contributed toward furnishing munitions of war to the Cuban insurgents during their struggle against Spanish tyranny. During his incumbency Governor Broward strongly advocated the drainage of the Everglades, an immense tract of marsh filled with islands, in Dade county, the southernmost county in the state. As this scheme involved the taxation of land supposed to be benefited it met with strong opposition from the owners and led to applications for injunctions to prevent the collection of taxes, notwithstanding which the governor induced the trustees of the internal improvement fund to begin operations and an experimental canal is being constructed at New River near Fort Lauderdale.

Economic and Educational Conditions.

One of the remarkable engineering feats undertaken in this country is that of the construction of the Florida East Coast Railroad from Jacksonville to Key West. To Miami, 366 miles south of Jacksonville, no serious obstacles were encountered, but between Miami and Key West fully seventy-five miles lie over water and a considerable portion over the sea itself. The Florida Keys may be called a series of stepping stones leading into the ocean. They extend between the Florida peninsula and Key West in the form of a curve, the channels separating the islands varying from a few hundred feet to several miles in width. Nearly thirty islands are to be used for short stretches of the construction, the longest being sixteen miles on Key Largo. More than fifty miles of rock and earth embankment has been built where the intervening water is shallow; but where the water is deeper and the openings are exposed to storms by breaks in the outer reef concrete arch viaduct construction is used, consisting of fifty-foot reinforced concrete circular arch spans and piers, with occasional spans of sixty feet. The water is ten to thirty feet deep in most places and the bottom is of limestone. There are four of these arch viaducts, aggregating 5.78 miles in length. The work of construction has already been completed to Knights Key. The intentions of the company are to engage in export trade on a very large scale. Key West will be the nearest American seaport to the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal. The distance between Key West and Havana is but ninety miles. The transportation of passengers and freight will be conducted by means of huge railroad steamboats, transporting cars directly to Havana. The man whose enterprise and capital is accomplishing this great work is Henry M. Flagler, vice-president of the Standard Oil Company. Cars are now running regularly between Jacksonville and Knights Key, distant only forty-four miles from Key West. The cost of this great enterprise has averaged $200,000 per mile. Mr. Flagler has also built a number of magnificent hotels at St. Augustine, Atlantic Beach, Ormond, Palm Beach, Miami and two at Nassau, N. P. (Bahama Islands).

Another gigantic engineering and industrial undertaking which will result in the material development of Florida is the construction of the East Coast Canal. This enterprise is the connection of the St. Johns, Matanzas, Halifax, Indian, Hillsborough and other rivers, sounds, creeks and water courses along the east coast by means of tide-water canals so as to make a continuous land-locked waterway, without locks and practically at tide-water level from the St. Johns River to Key West, covering a distance of something over 500 miles. Work has been going on steadily for twenty-five years and has already involved an expenditure of over $2,000,000. The work to date has been completed all the way up the coast to St. Augustine, and the balance of the stretch from St. Augustine to Jacksonville is already under way. The canal company will operate a line of passenger and freight steamers of about 150 feet in length, and of suitable draft, which will make the run along the entire route. With both adequate fast freight furnished by the Florida East Coast Bailway for vegetables and perishables on one side, and water transportation for heavy or slow freight on the other, the people located along the east coast will have shipping facilities not equaled in any other section.

Florida has vast forests of pitch pine, cypress and over 200 kinds of other trees valuable for manufacturing into a great variety of useful articles, but the conversion of the pine and cypress trees into lumber and of cross-ties for railroads has been the leading business for a number of years. In connection with forest products the naval store business is closely associated. The lumber business was at first confined to the vicinity of navigable rivers or seaports, but with the extension of railroads into the interior of the state and the improvement of the rivers and harbors by the United States government, the output has been immensely increased. The principal ports of export are Tampa, Fernandina and Jacksonville. The latter port was for many years handicapped by a long and shallow river with a bar at its mouth. In 1878 James B. Eads was induced to come from New Orleans, where he was constructing jetties at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and examine that of the St. Johns River. His opinion being favorable, the United States government commenced making appropriations for constructing jetties there, but they were intermittent, and at the end of thirteen years a channel over the bar fifteen feet deep at low tide and nineteen and one-half feet at high tide had been obtained; but owing to a long and shallow reach in the river at Dames Point, the city of Jacksonville received but small benefit. On Aug. 25, 1890, the Times Union, the leading paper in the city, asked "what are we going to do about it?" The writer of this article, then secretary of the board of trade, suggested that "we do it ourselves." The idea took root and after a discussion pro and con it was determined to bond Duval county for $300,000 and under sanction of the United States government the work was carried to completion. The government thereafter was more liberal in its appropriations and now a channel twenty-four feet deep at mean low tide and practically 300 feet wide exists from Jacksonville to the ocean.

Prior to the year 1905 there existed in Florida nine schools of so-called higher education which were denominated colleges, viz., the Florida Agricultural College or University of Florida, at Lake City; the "West Florida Seminary, known as Florida State College, at Tallahassee; the "White Normal School, at DeFuniak Springs; the East Florida Seminary, at Gainesville; the South Florida College, at Bartou; the Florida Agricultural College, in Osceola county; the Institute for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, at St. Augustine; the Colored Normal School, at Tallahassee; and the industrial and normal department of the Industrial and Normal School, at St. Petersburg. Under this system the burden upon the taxpayer became very onerous and state appropriations for their maintenance were yearly increasing. Each of these so-called colleges had its separate board of trustees; each importuned succeeding legislatures for funds to be disbursed in their own way and without system; and each was becoming a political factor whose strength, when joined together, was so powerful as to force the legislature to make appropriations to them, even against the best judgment of that body. Under these conditions the legislature in 1905 abolished the entire system by what is known as the Buckman Bill, and created in their stead a state university for men, and a college for women; the former located at Gainesville and the latter at Tallahassee. The Colored Normal School and the institution for the blind, deaf and dumb were retained. The state board of control was created to manage these four institutions. There are two other very prosperous colleges in the state, viz., the Stetson University, a Baptist institution, located at DeLand, and Rollins College at Winter Park. The latter was founded by the Congregationalists, but is now undenominational.

Bibliography. Dickinson, Mary E.: Dickinson and His Men; Evans, General Clement A.: Confederate Military History (Vol. XI.); Fairbanks, George R.: History of Florida; Smith, Charles H.: Jacksonville and Florida, Jacksonville Relief Association; Wallace, John: Carpet-Bag Rule in Florida; War of the Rebellion, Official Records of Union and Confederate Armies (United States Secretary of War); Chattanooga (Tenn.) Tradesman; Manufacturers Record (Baltimore, Md.), Scientific American (New York); Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, Fla.).

Charles H. Smith,
Formerly Secretary, Jacksonville Board of Trade.


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