AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Re: Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson
In Response To: Re: Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson ()
The Florida pieces, like that of Texas are fascinating to me for several reasons. First, both had the benefit of at least partial isolation from the main brunt of the war. Secondly, both were the primary sources for beef, leather,rice,turpentine, and other staples for the Confederacy in the later years. (One of the reasons that Port Hudson and Vicksburg were so important-they governed the Mississippi, and of great importance-the outlet of the Red River, whence came so many supplies-and a major way to bypass the blockades. Not negating the fact that whoever controlled the Mississippi wielded a great deal of power and control-but loss of that inland route was a major blow.)
Florida, being essentially a narrow peninsula offered a great target for the Union fleet. Because of it's many miles of seacoast, it was difficult to adequately blockade. The Republicans also wanted to reconstruct a loyal state within the Confederacy. Lincoln wrote to General Gillmore a few weeks before Olustee, and it is very clear what his goals were. The state was seen as a potential source for more Black recruits. At the beginning of the Civil War, almost half of her 140,000+ residents were Black. The political considerations were significant.
There are other pieces-the Contraband camp at Fernandina (at Gainesville)needs more research, the fact that, like Texas, Florida had an inland route to supply the Confederacy. While some states had groups of "Raiders" or "Marauders"....Florida had its Cow Cavalry-the cattlemen that shepherded herds North...Florida had the only Confederate State capitol that was not overtaken...just lots of things...