Civil War and Reconstruction

One hundred fifty years ago the Civil War began.

South Florida during the Civil War

Florida stood with the South in opposition to the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln and seceded from the Union on January 10, 1861. The primary impact of the Civil War on South Floridians was from the Union blockade of Confederate coasts. although the lights at Jupiter and Cape Florida were extinguished to hinder the blockade, settlers on the mainland were cut off from the rest of the world. Key West, under federal control throughout the war, was a principal base of operations for the blockade.

Fort Taylor, in Key West. From Frank Leslie’s Magazine, 1861. Image no. 1998-413-1.

Articles about the Civil War, 1861-1865

The Civil War

Update, Vol. 13, no.3 (August 1986)

Blockade Runners and Lighthouses, by Rodney E. Dillon, Jr.
Deserters, Evaders, Refugees, by Rodney E. Dillon, Jr.
A Famous Fugitive, by Rodney E. Dillon, Jr. [John C. Breckinridge]
In the Land of Cotton, by Elizabeth DuBose Price Breeze. [Henry Choice Price during the Civil War]

Blockade-running in the Bahamas during the Civil War

by Thelma Peters.
Tequesta, no. v (1945)

Captain Brannon’s Dilemma : Key West 1861

by Vaughan Camp, Jr.
Tequesta, no. xx (1960)
At the start of the Civil War, Captain James M. Brannan occupied Fort Taylor during the night, ensuring that Key West remain in Union hands throughout the war.

Miami During the Civil War: 1861-65

by Lt. James C. Staubach.
Tequesta, no. liii (1983)

On Blockade Duty in Florida Waters

edited by William J. Schellings.
Tequesta, no. xv (1955)
Excerpts from Dr. Walter Keeler diary, written while working as a surgeon aboard a gunboat that was blockading the Florida coasts during the Civil War.

Robert E. Lee and the Civil War

by Bruce Catton.
Tequesta, no. xxi (1961)

Stronghold of the Straits : a Short History of Fort Zachary Taylor

by Ames W. Williams.
Tequesta, no. no. xiv (1954)

Volunteers’ Report Destruction of Lighthouses

edited by Dorothy Dodd.
Tequesta, no. xiv (1954)
Reprint of letter to Florida governor M. S. Perry describing how the Jupiter and Cape Florida lights were extinguished in 1861, at the start of the Civil War.

Articles about Reconstruction, 1865-1876

African Americans in South Florida

a Home and a Haven for Reconstruction-era Leaders
by Larry E. Rivers and Canter Brown, Jr.
Tequesta, no. lvi (1996)
African American men who held public office in South Florida, including Tampa and Key West, between 1865 and 1897.

Colonel Thompson’s Tour of Tropical Florida

by George R. Bentley.
Tequesta, no. x (1950)
Colonel George F. Thompson toured peninsular Florida in 1865, to identify land on which to settle recently freed African Americans. William H. Gleason accompanyed him, and soon thereafter moved to Dade County.

Miami in 1876

by Arva Moore Parks.
Tequesta, no. xxxv (1975)
History of the Miami region during the 19th century. Includes description of how former Lieutenant Governor William Henry Gleason held up the 1876 presidential election by demanding a recount of Dade County votes.