History of the Confederate Pensions in Florida

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The first Confederate pensions in Florida were authorized in 1885 and granted to veterans the sum of $5.00 per month. The next three decades saw a new Confederate pension bill introduced at nearly every session of the Legislature. Residency requirements were added and adjusted, militia members and widows were declared eligible, various financial qualifications were added and changed, and the amount and method of distribution were changed many times.

A Board of Commissioners consisting of three members was appointed under the first pension law and it remained essentially the same, despite changes in name and the inability of the legislature to settle on the identity of the third member. The Governor and Comptroller were members of the board from the beginning, although the third seat was passed at various times from the Adjutant General to the Secretary of State to the Attorney General to the Treasurer, back to the Attorney General, and again back to the Treasurer before finally stabilizing in 1915 as the Governor, Comptroller, and Treasurer. The clerical and day-to-day operations of administering the pension laws were carried out under the supervision of the Comptroller.

Description of Veterans' and Widows' Applications

The pension application files include both veterans' and widows' applications interfiled, although approved and denied claims are filed separately. The veteran's application generally includes his full name, date and place of birth, unit of service, date and place of enlistment, date and place of discharge, brief description of service and/or wounds, proof of service, place and length of residence in Florida, as well as other miscellaneous documentation.

The widow's application is filed with that of her husband and includes her full name, date and place of marriage, date and place of her husband's death, her place and length of residence in Florida, and proof of her husband's service. Some early applications also include the widows' date and place of birth. Confederate pensions were awarded to residents of Florida regardless of the state in which their service was rendered.

Official Copies

Digital copies of the pension files may be downloaded from this web site at no charge. Official copies of the pension files are available from the State Archives of Florida for a flat fee of $7.50 per file (veteran and widow are filed together.)

Checks should be payable to the Department of State, and mailed to:

Florida Department of State
State Archives of Florida
500 S. Bronough St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250

Credit card orders can be placed by phone (850) 245-6700.

You may call (850) 245-6700 for further information on this or any other collection in the Archives, or see "A Guide to Civil War Records at the State Archives of Florida."