Florida and the Civil War (June 1863)

Railroad Wars

Railroads played a decisive role in the Civil War. The ability to rapidly move troops and supplies on a vast scale greatly increased the war making potential of both sides. When the war began, two thirds of U.S. railroads were in the North, which could draw on its tremendous industrial base to repair, replenish and construct rail lines, cars and locomotives. The South had to conserve and utilize its limited railroad resources to the best possible effect. Paradoxically, for a nation built on the premise of limited government and state’s rights, the Confederacy, if it was to survive, had to subordinate the rights of private railroads to benefit the national war effort. One of the clearest examples of this conflict of interest occurred in Florida in the summer of 1863, when Governor John Milton sought to obtain rails from the Florida Railroad owned by former United States senator David Levy Yulee.

Excerpt from "Watson's New County, Railroad and Distance Map of Florida," 1875

Excerpt from “Watson’s New County, Railroad and Distance Map of Florida,” 1875

With 402 miles of track in 1860, Florida had the lowest track mileage in the South, which by the beginning of the war had a total of 9,000 miles compared to 21,000 miles in the North. In 1861, only two interstate lines between Florida and Alabama linked Florida to another state. In 1861, there was no rail link between Florida and Georgia, and there was no railroad between Pensacola and the rest of the state. The Pensacola & Georgia Railroad and the Atlantic & Gulf Central Railroad companies were chartered to build a railroad from Jacksonville to Pensacola, but by 1861 the road only ran between Jacksonville and Tallahassee, just half of the planned route. In 1862, the route reached Quincy, 20 miles to the west of Tallahassee, but no further. Read more »

Don Barton, Jacksonville Filmmaker (1930-2013)

Jacksonville filmmaker, producer, and director Don Barton died this month. Barton spent much of his life promoting the motion picture industry in Florida. These days, he is best known for his 1971 feature-length cult classic Zaat about a radioactive half-man, half-catfish monster bent on destroying the world. However, the greater body of his work included documentaries, training films, and commercials promoting Florida. Several of these films are in the collections of the State Archives, including:

Design for Winning Florida Department of Citrus promotional film featuring Steve Spurrier

 

Sailfish City Florida State Advertising Commission film on fishing for sailfish off Fort Pierce Inlet

 

A Day at the Zoo Promotional film about the Jacksonville Zoo

 

The British Invasion (Part Two)

The War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739-1748) was but a single episode in the prolonged series of imperial conflicts between England and Spain in the 18th century. In the summer of 1740, the conflict came to Florida.

James Oglethorpe, English military commander and founder of the Georgia colony, led the expedition against St. Augustine. In January 1740, Oglethorpe presented his plan for a swift victory before the South Carolina General Assembly. He envisioned a decisive surprise attack led by English soldiers and militia, aided by Creek and Cherokee warriors.

"A New and Accurate Plan of the Town of St. Augustine," by John de Solis, 1764

“A New and Accurate Plan of the Town of St. Augustine,” by John de Solis, 1764

Surprise proved nearly impossible for the English invaders. Leading up to the advance of the main force, England’s Native American allies–principally Creek and Euchee (also Yuchi) warriors–periodically raided Spanish settlements north of St. Augustine. An incident on Amelia Island in late 1739 also alerted the Spaniards to the likelihood of an attack.

By the time Oglethorpe’s army reached the south bank of the St. Johns River on May 9, 1740, the Spanish were certainly aware of their intentions. On May 12, Oglethorpe took Fort Diego, located 20 miles north of St. Augustine near the head of the Tolomato River. Four days later he advanced on St. Augustine, but pulled back to Fort Diego on May 18. At this point, several commanders expressed dissatisfaction with Oglethorpe’s tactics. Some questioned why he did not immediately besiege the town as Colonel James Moore had done with great success four decades earlier.

During the ensuing month, Oglethorpe repeatedly marched his troops within sight of the city without launching a full assault. Regular soldiers, militia, and Indian auxiliaries again lodged complaints about the incessant and seemingly pointless marching. A group of Creeks even threatened to abandon the field, and apparently some did. Oglethorpe also divided his force, weakening their ability to defend any particular position. He left some men at Fort Diego, sent a group across the bay to Anastasia Island, and encamped another on Point Quartell (modern-day Vilano Beach).

After much maneuvering on the English side, the most significant battle of the campaign took place in the early morning hours of June 15 (modern calendar June 26). A company of Scottish Highlanders and a number of Creeks had occupied the abandoned Fort Mose north of St. Augustine. Fort Mose was established in 1739 to defend the northern approach to the city; its defenders were free-blacks and escaped slaves organized into a militia unit. The African defenders of Fort Mose had left the four-square wooden and earthen structure in anticipation of Oglethorpe’s advance on the city, which never fully materialized aside from sporadic artillery fire.

"Plano de la Ciudad y Puerto de San Agustin de la Florida," by Tomas Lopez de Vargas Machura, 1783. The location of Fort Mose is noted on this map as "Fuerte Negro."

“Plano de la Ciudad y Puerto de San Agustin de la Florida,” by Tomas Lopez de Vargas Machura, 1783. The location of Fort Mose is noted on this map as “Fuerte Negro.”

Colonel Palmer, commanding the troops at Mose, warned the men to be on alert the evening of the 14th. He reportedly had heard “Spanish Indians dancing the War Dance.” Apparently the soldiers did not heed his call for vigilance and when the combined force of Spanish soldiers, African militia under the command of free-black Francisco Menendez, and Indian warriors attacked the fort, they easily routed the Highlanders and Creeks inside.

Conflicting reports surfaced on English causalities suffered at the Battle of Bloody Mose, as the event became known. Oglethorpe reported 20 Highlanders killed, plus “several Indians and some Others” as well as 27 taken prisoner. Thomas Jones, a Creek interpreter, counted “about fifty Whites and Indians” killed in the action. Jones also added gruesome details about the aftermath of the battle. “[A]fter their Victory at Moosa,” he explained, the victors “cut off the Heads and private Parts of the Slain, and carried them into Augustine in Triumph.”

The Battle of Bloody Mose proved to be a turning point in the siege. In the weeks that followed, Oglethorpe proved incapable of rallying his troops to the cause. By early July he had also lost the support of vessels patrolling the entrance to the Matanzas River. Citing possible hurricanes ships left the area, which allowed the Spanish to easily resupply the besieged settlement. By mid-July the English retreated and St. Augustine survived another British invasion.

Castillo de San Marcos, ca. 1950

Castillo de San Marcos, ca. 1950

The subsequent investigation by the General Assembly of South Carolina enumerated at length the failures of Oglethorpe’s expedition. First, unrestrained attacks by England’s Indian allies as well as preemptive raids near Amelia Island spoiled the element of surprise, long before the army marched into Florida. Second, the repeated marching and dividing of the troops without attacking weakened both morale and the potential for success. Third, several incidents alienated Oglethorpe’s Indian allies, without whom victory was unlikely. Fourth, the Assembly did not feel as if they had been properly advised on critical decisions during the campaign; Oglethorpe had acted without their advice and paid for it in defeat. Finally, the departure of the blockading vessels in early July dealt the final blow to an ill-conceived and poorly executed mission.

Ironically, Great Britain did gain control of St. Augustine 23 years later in 1763, following the end of the French and Indian War (1754-1763), also known as the Seven Years War. This time, a bloodless transfer took place and the British finally breached the city walls and entered the Castillo de San Marcos as victors.

To learn more about the investigation of Oglethorpe’s failed expedition, see John Tate Lanning, ed. The St. Augustine Expedition of 1740: A Report to the South Carolina General Assembly (Columbia: South Carolina Archives Department, 1954); on Fort Mose see Jane Landers, Black Society in Spanish Florida (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999); on Creek – English relations, see Steven C. Hahn, The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004).

St. Augustine Wade-In Demonstrations (June 25, 1964)

The city of St. Augustine became a battleground in the Civil Rights Movement during the summer of 1964.

Demonstrators held several nonviolent “wade-ins” at segregated hotel pools and beaches. This film shows footage taken by the Florida Highway Patrol of one of the largest demonstrations, a wade-in held at St. Augustine Beach on June 25, 1964 (see full-length version).

Civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., came to northeast Florida to show their support for the Movement. King is said to have remarked that St. Augustine was “the most segregated city in America” at the time. He pledged to defeat segregation using nonviolence, even “if it takes all summer.”

To learn more, see Dan R. Warren, If It Takes All Summer: Martin Luther King, the KKK, and States’ Rights in St. Augustine, 1964 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008).

Great Outdoors Month

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Park Service is celebrating Great Outdoors Month in June! Explore the Florida Park Service Photographic Collection, and experience the great outdoors from the comfort of your computer. Then, go out and enjoy all that Florida’s award-winning parks have to offer.

Diver at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, 1960s

Diver at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, 1960s

 

Camping at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Gulf County, 1960s

Camping at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Gulf County, 1960s

 

Children on merry-go-round at Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville, 1970s

Children on merry-go-round at Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville, 1970s

 

Hillsborough River State Park, Tampa, 1959

Hillsborough River State Park, Tampa, 1959

 

Canoeing at Salt Springs, Marion County, 1970s

Canoeing at Salt Springs, Marion County, 1970s

 

Park rangers riding horses at Lake Kissimmee State Park, Polk County, 1970s

Park rangers riding horses at Lake Kissimmee State Park, Polk County, 1970s

 

Archaeologist at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, St. Marks, 1970s

Archaeologist at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, St. Marks, 1970s

 

Fishing at Hontoon Island State Park, Deland, 1970s

Fishing at Hontoon Island State Park, Deland, 1970s

 

Swimming at Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, 1960s

Swimming at Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, 1960s

 

Lake Johnson at Gold Head Branch State Park, Keystone Heights, 1956

Lake Johnson at Gold Head Branch State Park, Keystone Heights, 1956

 

Park ranger Bob Rahberg at a replica of Fort Foster, a Second Seminole War fort, Hillsborough River State Park, Tampa, 1979

Park ranger Bob Rahberg at a replica of Fort Foster, a Second Seminole War fort, Hillsborough River State Park, Tampa, 1979

 

Divers at Bahia Honda State Park, Monroe County, 1960s

Divers at Bahia Honda State Park, Monroe County, 1960s

 

Canoeing at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound, 1970s

Canoeing at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound, 1970s

 

Artist painting at Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, 1970s

Artist painting at Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, 1970s

 

The British Invasion (Part One)

The War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739-1748) was but a single episode in the prolonged series of imperial conflicts between England and Spain in the 18th century. In the summer of 1740, the conflict came to Florida.

In 1731, Spanish coast guardsmen boarded an English merchant ship captained by Robert Jenkins. The Spaniards accused the Englishmen of smuggling, and as punishment cut off Jenkins’ ear. According to some accounts, Jenkins later exhibited the severed ear in front of the British Parliament during his testimony on Spanish depredations. This incident, along with numerous petitions and lengthy testimony, convinced the British government to take action against Spain.

War erupted across the Caribbean soon after the hearings before Parliament. The most significant action in Florida resulted from an expedition led by General James Oglethorpe against the city of St. Augustine in the summer of 1740. By all accounts, Oglethorpe’s campaign constituted an epic failure. The General Assembly of South Carolina launched a full investigation into the failed siege. Ultimately, they concluded that a series of tactical mistakes doomed the English effort to weaken the Spanish outpost.

English cartographer Thomas Silver created the map below to illustrate the siege against St. Augustine. It bears a striking resemblance to a map depicting an earlier British attempt to level St. Augustine, undertaken by Sir Francis Drake in 1586. The transcription of the long key included with the map has, as much as possible, preserved spellings used in the original.

"A View of the Town and Castle of St. Augustine, and the English Camp before it June 20, 1740," by Thomas Silver

An early, hand-colored engraving of Silver’s map resides in the Florida Map Collection at the State Library of Florida.

Transcription of Silver’s Map:

“A View of the Town and Castle of St. Augustine, and the English Camp before it June 20, 1740. By Thos. Silver.

A. The English South Trench [?] 3 18 Pounders & 2 small Morters
B. A Marsh from whence we played with 20 Cohorns
C. Eustatia Island, which is chiefly Sand & Bushes
D. Sailors hawling Cannon in reach of the Castle
E. A North Trench 3 18 prs & a Mortar of 24:1:10
F. Genl. Oglethrop’s Soliders, Indians & Sailors Tents
G. A Lookout taken the 12th of June
H. Soldiers and Sailors landing June the 11th
I. A Sand Battery quited at our Approach
K. Capt. Warren Commander over the Sailors hoisting the Union Flag on board a Schooner
L. The Sailors wells to Water the Shiping

Ships 1. Flamborough 2. Hector 3. Squirrel
4. Tartar 5. Phoenix
6. Woolf 7. Spence

Employ’d in this Expedition about 200 Seamen 400 Sailors and 300 Indians

Forces of the Spaniards 1000 besides a Strong Castle and 4 Fortified Barks and a Shallow River hindring our Shippings Playing on them.

An Account of the Siege of St. Augustine in the letter on Board ye Hector. May 30 we arrived near St. Augustine, June 1st we were join’d by the Flamborough. Capt. Pearse, the Phoenix Capt. Fanshaw, the Tartar Capt. Towshend and the Squirrel Capt. Warren of 20 Guns each besides the Spense Sloop Capt Laws, and the Wolf Capt. Dandrige.

On the 2d Col Vander Dufen with 300 Carolina Soldiers appear’d on the North of the Town. On the 9th Genl. Oglethorpe came by Sea with 300 Soldiers and 300 Indians from Georgia. On the 10th they were carried a Shore in the Men of Wars boats under the cover of the small Ships Guns. They Landed on the Island Eustatia without Opposition and took the Look-out at G.

The 13th Capt. Warren in a Schooner and other Armed Sloops and Pettyaugers anchored in their Harbor just out of Cannon shot till the 26th when the Sailors were employed in landing Ordnance and other Stores within Reach of the Enemys Cannon. On which Occasion they discover’d a surprising Spirit and Intrepidity. The same night two Batteries were rais’d, but too far off.

The 27th the General Summon’d the Governor to Surrender, who sent word he should be glad to shake hands with him in his Castle. This haughty answer was occasioned by a dear bought Victory, which 500 Spaniards had obtained over 80 Highlanders 50 of whom were slain, but died like Heroes killing thrice their number.

The 29th bad Weather obliged the men of War to put to sea out of [?] but one man had be kill’d. Hereupon the Siege was raised.”

Stay tuned for “The British Invasion (Part Two),” which recounts the Spanish-African-Native American victory over Oglethorpe’s troops at the Battle of Bloody Mose.

To learn more about the British siege of St. Augustine in 1740, see Edward Kimber, A Relation, Or Journal, Of a Late Expedition &c (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1976); John Tate Lanning, ed. The St. Augustine Expedition of 1740: A Report to the South Carolina General Assembly (Columbia: South Carolina Archives Department, 1954); Aileen Moore Topping, ed. An Impartial Account of the Late Expedition Against St. Augustine under General Oglethorpe (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1978).

Florida’s First Retirement Community

Florida’s First Retirement Community
Advent Christian Village, Dowling Park, Florida

In a horseshoe-like bend of the Suwannee River at Dowling Park, Florida there is a community that is celebrating its Centennial Year. Advent Christian Village (ACV) has the distinction of being the first retirement community in Florida. In 1913, it opened for business as an orphanage and a home for “tired and worn-out preachers and their spouses.”

Advent Christian Village began with a dream. In 1910, Thomas Dowling of The Dowling Lumber and Naval Stores Company at Dowling Park sold his vast holdings to Richard W. Sears of the Sears Roebuck Company dynasty. Dowling deeded 120 acres to the Advent Christian Conference of Churches to establish a church campground. The campground did not materialize until later, but Dr. Burr A.L. Bixler, minister of the Advent Christian Church in Live Oak, Florida, envisioned an orphanage and a home for “tired and worn-out Christian workers.” On December 17, 1913, a family of five children arrived at the American Advent Christian Home and Orphanage at Dowling Park. In July, 1914, Rev. Henry Smith was the first minister to enter the Home.

Orphans at the American Advent Christian Home and Orphanage at Dowling Park  enjoy a cart ride by the river. Old Buck, the ox, is the motor for the wagon, circa 1914

Orphans at the American Advent Christian Home and Orphanage at Dowling Park enjoy a cart ride by the river. Old Buck, the ox, is the motor for the wagon, circa 1914

 

The dream of a handful of people at the beginning of the 20th century developed into a secure comprehensive care community on 1,200 acres of woodlands and scenic landscapes along the banks of the Suwannee River. The eight hundred residents choose from a wide range of housing options from homeownership to mid-rise Housing and Urban Development (HUD) facilities, ground level apartments and manufactured homes. The continuum of services includes a 161-bed nursing home and 40-bed assisted living facility.

Through the years, the Home and Orphanage (now Advent Christian Village) adjusted to the changes in society and remained true to its mission to express Christ’s love by providing compassionate care and quality comprehensive services for senior adults, families with special needs, and children in a secure, supportive residential setting and in the surrounding communities.

Advent Christian Village’s Centennial Celebration began by planting 100 flowering trees across the main campus as well as trees along one roadway that will someday become a canopy road. A special centennial event is planned for each month during 2013. The Village Heritage Trail with 24 illustrated markers recounts the early buildings that comprised the Home and Orphanage and church campground. The year ends with a Founder’s Day spectacular in December when a pictorial history book will be unveiled.

Oaths of Loyalty to the United States of America

Restoring the Union following the destruction of the Civil War proved to be an enormous task. Several questions emerged in the wake of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865; namely, the pace and scope of reintegrating former rebels and Confederate states back into the Union, rebuilding the southern economy, and the future of millions of newly freed slaves.

President Abraham Lincoln’s desire to enact swift Reconstruction clashed with the so-called Radical Republicans in Congress who wanted to punish the South. President Andrew Johnson, who took office after Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865, tried to follow Lincoln’s general approach to Reconstruction and was eventually impeached for it.

The latest additions to the significant documents page on Florida Memory are artifacts from the early period of what historians call Presidential Reconstruction. Part of the plan implemented by Johnson included granting amnesty to some former Confederates who pledged an oath of loyalty to the United States.

Confederate Oaths of Loyalty, 1865

Read more »

Newsies

Newsies were the primary distributors of newspapers to the general public in the United States from the mid-19th to the early 20th century.

Ruan Milton Martin and Ivan Trezvant Martin, Cocoa, 1895

Ruan Milton Martin and Ivan Trezvant Martin, Cocoa, 1895

Newsies purchased the papers from the publisher and hawked them on the street to passersby. They were not allowed to return unsold papers and worked long hours attempting to sell every last paper. Read more »