Florida in the Civil War
Robert Watson - Civil War Diary
(From: Robert Watson Diary, 1861-1865, Collection M76-139)
The following are excerpts from Robert Watson's diary. Watson's diary is arguably the most detailed and complete diary kept by a Floridian during the Civil War, and it is certainly unique in documenting the activities of a Floridian who served in the Confederate States Navy.
“Owing to the political affairs of the country and the Federal troops having possession of this place, and as it is rather unsafe for a southern man to live here, I have determined to leave in disgust…”
Key West September 27th
Owing to the political affairs of the country and the Federal troops having possession of this place, and as it is rather unsafe for a southern man to live here, I have determined to leave in disgust, consequently I left today in the schooner Lady Bannerman for the Bahama Islands, in company with Canfield, Sawyer, Lowe and several others. The schooner has on board 55 passengers in all, the most of which are women and children.
Arrived at Bay Honda at 9 o’clock AM, all hands bright. Wm. Sawyer, Alfred Lowe, Canfield and others went on shore [to] catch crabs while I stayed on board making love to Miss L. Got under way about 2 o’clock PM and arrived at Knights Key at 6 o’clock PM and came to anchor.
Got underway 5 o’clock AM and arrived at Indian Key at 12 o’clock N., landed, I and S[?]gleston Curry got a lot whisky, all hands took a drink and proceeded on our voyage.
Head wind and heavy sea in the Gulf.
Head wind and very rough, all of the female passengers sea sick, very sorry for them.
Made the Orange Keys about 3 o’clock PM with a fair wind, was greatly alarmed about 10 o’clock to hear the confusion on deck, carried away the jib and foresail, also the fore crosstree.