Florida History
CIVIL WAR IN FLORIDA
1861-1865
During the Civil War, Florida was not ravaged as several
other southern states were.  Indeed, no decisive battles
were fought on Florida soil.  While Union forces occupied
many coastal towns and forts, the interior of the state
remained in Confederate hands.
Florida provided an estimated 15,000 troops and
significant amounts of supplies— including salt, beef, pork,
and cotton—to the Confederacy, but more than 2,000
Floridians, both African American and white, joined the
Union army. Confederate and foreign merchant ships
slipped through the Union navy blockade along the coast,
bringing in needed supplies from overseas ports.
Tallahassee was the only southern capital east of the
Mississippi River to avoid capture during the war, spared
by southern victories at Olustee (1864) and Natural Bridge
(1865). Ultimately, the South was defeated, and federal
troops occupied Tallahassee on May 10, 1865.
Before the Civil War, Florida had been well on its way to
becoming another of the southern cotton states.
Afterward, the lives of many residents changed. The ports
of Jacksonville and Pensacola again flourished due to the
demand for lumber and forest products to rebuild the
nation’s cities. Those who had been slaves were
declared free. Plantation owners tried to regain prewar
levels of production by hiring former slaves to raise and
pick cotton. However, such programs did not work well,
and much of the land came under cultivation by tenant
farmers and sharecroppers, both African American and
white.
William Dunn Moseley
(February 1, 1795 – January 4,
1863) was an American politician. A
Democrat and North Carolina
native, Moseley became the first
governor of the state of Florida,
serving from 1845 until 1849 and
leading the establishment of the
state government.
Andrew Jackson
(1767–1845)
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On March 10, 1821, U.S. President James Monroe appointed General
Andrew Jackson Commissioner of the United States to take possession of
Florida and gave him the full powers of governor. Jackson accepted the
office only on the condition that he could resign as soon as the territorial
government was organized.
On July 17, 1821, Spain transferred Florida to the United States, and
Jackson sent his resignation to the president in November. In all, Andrew
Jackson visited Florida only three times: in 1814 during the War of 1812,
in 1818 during the First Seminole War, and in 1821 to organize the first
territorial government.
Andrew Jackson was born in South Carolina on March 15, 1767. He
became a national hero after defeating the British at the Battle of New
Orleans in 1815. He was elected president of the United States in 1828;
reelected in 1832; and served until March 3, 1837. After his last term in
office, Jackson retired to his plantation, "The Hermitage," in Tennessee,
where he died on June 8, 1845
Andrew Jackson
Commissioner of the United States
March 10, 1821 to November 12,
1821
Oil over photograph, Claribel Jett,
ca. 1960
John Milton
(1807–1865)
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Fifth governor
October 7, 1861 to April 1, 1865
Oil over photograph, Claribel Jett, ca. 1960
John Milton was born near Louisville, Ga., on
April 20, 1807. A descendant of the English poet
John Milton, he practiced law, first in a number of
Georgia and Alabama communities and later in
New Orleans. Before coming to Florida in 1846,
Milton allegedly killed an adversary in a duel.
After entering Florida politics, Milton became a
statewide force in the Democratic party, serving
as a presidential elector in 1848 and as a
member of the 1850 House of Representatives.
A vigorous states-righter, Milton encouraged the
early secession of Florida from the Union.
As governor, Milton stressed Florida's ability to
serve as an important source of food and salt for
the Confederate war effort. On April 1, 1865, as
the southern cause was collapsing, John Milton
shot himself at "Sylvania," his home near
Marianna. In his last message to the legislature,
he had said, "Death would be preferable to
reunion."
Abraham Kurkindolle Allison
(1810–1893)
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Sixth (acting) governor
April 1, 1865 to May 19, 1865
Oil over photograph, Claribel Jett, ca. 1960
A. K. Allison was born in Jones County, Ga., on
December 10, 1810. He was a merchant and settled in
Apalachicola sometime before 1832. Allison served as
county judge of Franklin County, clerk of the U.S. court,
and a member of the territorial legislature.
During the Civil War, Allison served with Confederate
forces in battles at Macon, Ga., and Natural Bridge, Fla.
As senate president, he became acting governor on April
1, 1865, after the death of John Milton. Allison was
arrested by federal authorities on June 19, 1865, and
imprisoned for several months at Fort Pulaski, Ga., along
with other Confederate officials. He died in Quincy on
July 8, 1893.
William Marvin
(1808–1902)
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Seventh (provisional) governor
July 13, 1865 to December 20, 1865
Oil over photograph, Claribel Jett, ca. 1960
William Marvin was born at Fairfield, N.Y.,
on April 14, 1808. He was practicing law at
Phelps, N.Y., when President Andrew
Jackson appointed him as U.S. district
attorney at Key West. Marvin's
experiences there led him to write a
nationally recognized textbook, Law of
Wreck and Salvage.
President Andrew Johnson named Marvin
as Florida's provisional governor for the
purpose of reestablishing state
government after the end of the Civil War.
Later, he was elected to the U.S. Senate,
which declined to seat him. When
Congress enacted legislation for
"reconstructing" the seceded states,
Marvin refused to be a candidate for any
office. In 1867 he moved to Skaneateles,
N.Y., where he died on July 9, 1902