Florida in the Civil War

Salt Chase of a blockade runner

Florida joined the United States in 1845. Fifteen years later, however, it was out again.

After Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States on November 6, 1860, Florida and 10 other Southern states chose to secede, severing their ties with the rest of the country.

For years, differences between North and South over slavery and the federal government’s right to regulate it had divided the country. Political leaders in Florida and throughout the South considered Lincoln’s election the breaking point. If slavery were to survive, the South would have to leave the Union.

In many respects, Florida remains the forgotten state of the Confederacy. Although the third state to secede, Florida’s small population and meager industrial resources made the state of little strategic importance to either side.

However, Florida was a vital source of beef and salt for the Confederacy. Florida beef became especially important after the Confederates lost control of the Mississippi River in 1864. With the flow of beef from Texas almost completely cut off, Florida’s vast supply of cattle became a critical food source for the Confederate Army.