Florida in the Civil War
Teacher’s Guide for Railroad Documents

Background Information

The Internal Improvement Act of 1855 granted railroad companies land in exchange for new tracks. The state government supported the railroads because better transportation would help facilitate a stronger economy for Florida. With state support, railroad developers began linking East and West Florida. Senator David L. Yulee became the president of the Florida Railroad, completed in 1860, that connected the port cities of Fernandina and Cedar Key.

Florida had only a few railroads when the Civil War began. Union attacks destroyed some sections of the Florida railroads.

Throughout the Civil War, Governor Milton advocated for greater security for Florida and pressed the Confederate government to maintain enough troops in the state for an adequate defense.

In this series of letters, Milton recommends seizing iron rails from the Florida Railroad Company to reuse the iron for new rail lines to transport troops and supplies. Yulee contends that this would be unwise and illegal.

Some Useful Questions to Ask:

  • What role did railroads play in the development of Florida?
  • What role did railroads play in the Civil War?

Use to Illustrate:

  • How railroads changed Florida.

Document Analysis Worksheets
Created by the National Archives

Document analysis is the first step in working with primary sources. Teach your students to think through primary source documents for contextual understanding and to extract information to make informed judgments. The document analysis worksheets created by the National Archives and Records Administration are in the public domain.

Sunshine State Standards

  • SS.4.A.1.1: Analyze primary and secondary resources to identify significant individuals and events throughout Florida history.
  • SS.4.A.5.1: Describe Florida's involvement (secession, blockades of ports, the battles of Ft. Pickens, Olustee, Ft. Brooke, Natural Bridge, food supply) in the Civil War.
  • SS.4.A.6.1: Describe the economic development of Florida's major industries.
    Examples are timber, citrus, cattle, tourism, phosphate, cigar.
  • SS.4.A.6.3: Describe the contributions of significant individuals to Florida.
    Examples are John Gorrie, Henry Flagler, Henry Plant, Lue Gim Gong, Vincente Martinez Ybor, Julia Tuttle, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thomas Alva Edison, James Weldon Johnson, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
  • SS.5.A.1.1: Use primary and secondary sources to understand history.
  • SS.5.A.6.3: Examine 19th century advancements (canals, roads, steamboats, flat boats, overland wagons, Pony Express, railroads) in transportation and communication.
  • SS.8.A.1.5: Identify, within both primary and secondary sources, the author, audience, format, and purpose of significant historical documents.
  • SS.8.A.4.5: Explain the causes, course, and consequences of the 19th century transportation revolution on the growth of the nation's economy.
    Examples may include, but are not limited to, roads, canals, bridges, steamboats, railroads.
  • SS.8.A.5.5: Compare Union and Confederate strengths and weaknesses. Examples may include, but are not limited to, technology, resources, alliances, geography, military leaders-Lincoln, Davis, Grant, Lee, Jackson, Sherman.
  • SS.8.A.5.7: Examine key events and peoples in Florida history as each impacts this era of American history. Examples may include, but are not limited to, slavery, influential planters, Florida's secession and Confederate membership, women, children, pioneer environment, Union occupation, Battle of Olustee and role of 54th Massachusetts regiment, Battle at Natural Bridge.
  • SS.912.A.1.1: Describe the importance of historiography, which includes how historical knowledge is obtained and transmitted, when interpreting events in history.
  • SS.912.A.1.2: Utilize a variety of primary and secondary sources to identify author, historical significance, audience, and authenticity to understand a historical period.
  • SS.912.A.3.4: Determine how the development of steel, oil, transportation, communication, and business practices affected the United States economy.
    Examples may include, but are not limited to, railroads, the telegraph, pools, holding companies, trusts, corporations, contributed to westward expansion, expansion of trade and development of new industries, vertical and horizontal integration.
  • SS.912.A.3.13: Examine key events and key people in Florida history as they relate to United States history.
    Examples are the railroad industry; bridge construction in the Florida Keys; the cattle industry; the cigar industry; the influence of Cuban, Greek and Italian immigrants; Henry B. Plant; William Chipley; Henry Flagler; George Proctor; Thomas DeSaille Tucker; Hamilton Disston.

 

Florida Standards

  • LAFS.4.RI.1.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.2: Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.3: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.3.9: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LAFS.K12.R.1.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • LAFS.68.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • LAFS.68.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • LAFS.910.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • LAFS.910.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.2.6: Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.3.8: Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.3.9: Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.