State Archives of Florida: Series S1725, Box 01, Folder 1
Sylvanus M. Hankins' recollections of his experiences as an enlisted Confederate soldier during the American Civil War in Florida. Hankins was a private in Company D of the 1st Florida Reserve Regiment for the Confederacy which was one of the units that fought at the Battle of Natural Bridge in March 1865. Hankins begins by discussing Florida's secession in 1861, when Hankins was 14 years old. He recalls how Floridians intially reacted to the threat of war; the raising of military units; the death of his cousin resulting from combat wounds and imprisonment; the imprisonment of women and children and the burning of their homes if their husbands, fathers or brothers were suspected of deserting; the shooting of deserters; the wartime treatment of African-Americans; Hankins' enlistment at age 16; escorting prisoners to Andersonville; the Battle of Natural Bridge; and other wartime events. The date of these recollections is unknown.
Sylvanus Masters Hankins was born on January 15, 1846, to Almaria Church and William W. Hankins in Madison County, Florida. He served in Company D, 11th Florida Regiment at Madison and Company D, 1st Florida Reserves at Madison under Captain John H. Bryan. Hankins was discharged at Madison at the end of the American Civil War. He married Elizabeth V. Stubbs in Orange County on December 24, 1888.