Florida in the Civil War

Ordinance of Secession

Ordinance of Secession, 1861

Ordinance of Secession, 1861

(From: Florida Convention of the People, Ordinance of Secession, 1861, Series S972)

"...the State of Florida is hereby declared a sovereign and independent Nation..." 

In the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency on November 6, 1860, Governor Madison Starke Perry called for Florida to prepare for secession and to join with other southern states in organizing an independent confederacy. The state legislature voted to hold a statewide election on December 22 for the selection of delegates to a convention that would meet in Tallahassee beginning on January 3, 1861, to decide whether Florida should secede. Of the sixty-nine delegates eligible to vote on January 10, 1861 for the adoption of an ordinance of secession, sixty-two voted yea and seven nay.

There are sixty-five signatures on the Ordinance of Secession.

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Robert Watson

"I forgot to mention that President Lincoln and some of his cabinet were assassinated on Saturday night."

Watson left Union-occupied Key West in September 1861 and he enrolled in a Florida "Coast Guard" company at Cedar Key. In April 1862 this company was mustered into Confederate service as Company K, Seventh Florida Infantry Regiment. Watson's company remained along Florida's west coast, primarily at Tampa and Point Pinellas, until late June, when it joined the Confederate Army in Tennessee. (Series M76-139)

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Joshua Hoyet Frier

"About this time some inventive person discovered that by taking up the dirt out of the meat houses, and leaching it a fair article of salt could be made...A piece of pork liberally smeared with it had the appearance of being wallowed in the mud."

On his seventeenth birthday, May 20, 1864, Joshua Frier enrolled in a Florida militia company that eventually became the First Florida Reserves, Company B. The unit remained in north Florida throughout its service. Joshua Hoyet Frier wrote a reminiscences entitled "Reminiscences of the War Between the States by a Boy in the Far South at Home and in the Rank of the Confederate Militia." This selection deals with the shortage of salt during the war. (Series M76-134)

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Louis James M. Boyd

"...we would leave the Ship about four O’clock in the Morning, and proceed up the Bay until we would discover Smoke, for that is the only way that those pans can be found by a Stranger as soon as we could get near enough we would then fire at them with a Small Cannon we have and such Skidaddeling you never seen in your life, they would leave everything behind them, we went in Several of their Camps and found their Breakfast cooked and on the Table ready for eating..."

This selection is from a collection of letters written by Louis James M. Boyd to his wife, "Jannie," from April 23, 1862 to August 1871. The couple met in Cedar Key, Florida and later moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Boyd served as a 3rd Assistant Engineer aboard the U.S. Gun boat "Albatross" during the Civil War. This letter describes the destruction of the rebel salt pans along the Florida coast. (Series N2000-4)

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