During the four years of the Civil War, Floridians endured great challenges and hardships, both during military service and at home. Florida physicians were called upon to serve the Confederate armies, and the sons of Florida families contended with the dangers of battle, rampant disease, and inadequate food and hygiene.
This is a transcribed copy of material in a small account book or diary which recounts the trip that Dr. Arthur Moray Randolph took to attend his son Thomas Eston in his last illness in October and November of 1862.
The Randolph family moved from Virginia to Florida in 1829 and settled in Tallahassee, where they became active in civic and social life. Thomas Eston Randolph and Jane Cary Randolph had eight children. Randolph was appointed U.S. Marshal for the Middle Florida district in 1831.
His son, Dr. James Randolph, served in the legislative delegation from Leon County in 1845, became a surgeon in the provisional army of the Confederacy, and was mayor of Tallahassee in 1876.
In 1881, Dr. Randolph was appointed superintendent and physician in charge of the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee. With his father, he co-founded St. John's Episcopal Church. The Randolph daughters conducted the first girls' school in Tallahassee. The diary account by Dr. Arthur Moray Randolph describes his journey to Virginia from Florida to tend his dying son, Eston, in a Civil War hospital.
Dr. Theophilus West was a prominent citizen, physician, and druggist in Jackson County, Florida. He moved from Leon County where his father, Charles Bundick West, was a successful farmer.
Dr. West's career spanned the fields of medicine, teaching, and farming. He enlisted in Company E, 8th Florida Infantry, of the Confederate StatesArmy and was appointed assistant surgeon. He accompanied his regiment to northern Virginia, where he served out the war.
After the war, Dr. West returned to Jackson County and started anew at his plantation near Marianna and resumed his medical practice. In 1872, he moved to Marianna, the county seat, and opened the city's first drug store.
This letter was sent from Dr. West, then at a camp near Brandy Station, Virginia, to his sister, Mrs. A.M. Watson of Marianna, Florida, November 6, 1863. In the letter, Dr. West described the overall health of the soldiers as “very good,” although his own health was not as good as he would have liked. He also discussed the opportunities for Christian worship available and the importance of regular services for the well-being of the troops.