State history in the Civil War




U.S. Navy and Confederate shipwreck project


Department of Environmental Protection


3900 Commonwealth Blvd. M.S. 49
Tallahassee, Florida 32399


Bristol, Florida

Torreya State Park

(850) 643-2674, located off S.R. 12. on C.R. 1641, 13 miles north of Bristol.  Open 8-Sundown.  $

During the Civil War, this important route was protected by a six cannon battery located on a bluff. The battery was in place to prevent Union gun boats from passing. The remains of the gun pit can be seen along the bluff trail.

The Gregory House, built in 1849 by Planter Jason Gregory, stood across the river from the park at Ocheesee Landing. Gregory's plantation prospered until the beginning of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. In 1935, the house was dismantled and moved to its present location in the park by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was developing the park.


Cedar Key


            Cedar Key Museum State Park


(352) 543-5350, Contact Information: 12231 SW 166 Ct., Cedar Key, 32625
 Driving Directions:  Take S.R. 24 west into Cedar Key. Once in town, follow the official signs to locate the museum at 12231 SW 166th Court. Open 8-Sundown. No entrance fee.

Salt was an important commodity in the 1800’s. During the War Between the States, salt was obtained for the Confederacy from the evaporation of sea water in kettles and boilers around Cedar Key. In 1862 a Federal force attacked by sea and captured the city. The forces destroyed the kettles and boilers hoping to further deprive the Confederates of much needed supplies. Museum exhibits include the fishing and lumber industry, the Civil War period and information on the history of Cedar Key.


De Leon Springs


            De Leon Springs State Park


(386) 985-4212, Contact Information: P. O. Box 1338, De Leon Springs, 32130
 Driving Directions: De Leon Springs State Park is located at the corner of Ponce de Leon Blvd. and Burt Parks Road in De Leon Springs, Florida. $
Restaurant Hours: M-F serving 9-4 (closing at 5pm); Sat-Sun and holidays 8-4 (closing at 5pm); Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas day

During the Civil War, the spring-powered mill was used to grind corn and other stores for Confederate forces. Union troops eventually captured it and most of the facilities were destroyed.

Events:  A Day In Florida History: Aug. 3, 2002, 9 AM-4 PM 

Highlighting this exciting day is a reenactment of a skirmish between Florida militia and Seminole Indians, complete with actual weapons of the Second Seminole War period. Talk with Seminoles, soldiers and settlers of the 1830s. Explore other periods of Florida history by visiting a Spanish settlement, a Civil War soldiers' encampment and others. Join in the performance of Native American dances. Picnic lunches, lawn chairs and cameras suggested. Sponsored in cooperation with the Friends of De Leon Springs SP. A park entrance donation to the Friends is appreciated.


Fernandina Beach

     Fort Clinch State Park

    (904) 277-7274, Take I-95 to the Fernandina Beach/Callahan exit (Milepost Exit 373 - Old Exit 129), and stay to the right. You will then be traveling east on A1A. (This road becomes 8th Street within the town limits of Fernandina.) Stay on this road, (A1A), for 16 miles until you come to the intersection of 8th Street and Atlantic Avenue. Turn right on Atlantic Avenue and go about two miles, Fort Clinch State Park will be on the left.  $

Fort Clinch was named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, an important figure in Florida's Seminole War of the 1830s. Construction of the fort started in 1847 by the federal government and continued during the Civil War.

Occupied by Confederate forces when the war began in 1861, it was taken by federal troops when a withdrawal was ordered by Gen. Robert E. Lee the following year.

The garrison operation was greatly reduced in the years following the Civil War and eventually ceased altogether. In 1898, the fort was reactivated for several months during the Spanish-American War. Today, it remains in a remarkable state of preservation.



            Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park


(352) 628-5343, Driving Directions: Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is located in Homosassa Springs, 75 miles north of Tampa on U.S. 19 and 90 miles northwest of Orlando.  Open 9- 5:30 p.m. Last tickets are sold at 4:00 p.m. It is recommended that visitors allow 3 1/2 to 4 hours to tour the park.  $, group, child rates

The Calusa and Seminole Indians first inhabited the Homosassa River and surrounding islands. Excavations made during the past few years have revealed not only burial grounds, but also canoes, cooking pots, axes and many other artifacts.

In 1846, David Yulee, a former United States Senator, established a 5,000-acre plantation and sugarcane mill. This was the area's first known settlement made by the white man. With the beginning of the Civil War, sugar made by the mill and other products of the plantation were used to supply the Confederate Army. The Union Troops, after intensive spying and treachery by one of Yulee's slaves, burned the family mansion on Tiger Tail Island. Yulee surrendered and spent two years in prison. 


Maple Leaf Shipwreck: An Extraordinary American Civil War Shipwreck, Jacksonville Florida 1864

The Wreck of the Maple Leaf is unsurpassed as a source for Civil War material culture. The site combines one of the largest ships sunk during the war, carrying all the worldly goods of more than a thousand soldiers, with a river bottom environment that perfectly preserved the ship and cargo. It is the most important repository of Civil War artifacts ever found and probably will remain so. Considered among Florida shipwrecks, Maple Leaf is probably the best preserved site in Florida.....
Edwin C. Bearss, Chief Historian
United States Department of Interior, National Park Service


            Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park


(904) 251-2324, Contact Information: 12157 Heckscher Dr., Jacksonville, 32226
 Driving Directions: Yellow Bluff Fort is located in north Jacksonville on New Berlin Road. From 9A, exit to Heckscher Drive. Take New Berlin road south from Heckscher Drive. Yellow Bluff Fort is approximately 2 miles on the right. No entrance fee.

Yellow Bluff Fort served as an important position along the St. John’s River during the Civil War. This area was occupied by both sides during the struggle, and at its peak, had over 250 soldiers encamped within. It now serves as a peaceful setting to spend the afternoon or to enjoy a picnic.

 Key West

            Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

(305) 292-6713, located at the end of Southard Street on Truman Annex in Key West. Open  8-Sunday 365 days a year.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Capt. John Brannon occupied the fort, placing it in Union hands. Key West was an important outpost for the Union because numerous blockade-running ships were detained at Key West harbor and guarded by Fort Taylor's cannons. The 10-inch Rodman and Columbiad cannons at the fort had a range of three miles. This was an impressive deterrent to the Confederate navy, preventing them from attempting to take the fort or the island of Key West. Proving to be a severe loss for the South, Fort Taylor remained in Union hands throughout the Civil War. By the time the three-story fort was finally finished in 1866 (21 years after it was begun), there were many impressive features included. Items such as sanitary facilities flushed by the tide and a desalination plant which produced drinking water from the sea were available as early as 1861. A total of 198 guns and a large supply of ammunition were on hand to secure the fort. In the years that followed, Fort Taylor was again used during the Spanish-American War. In 1889, in an effort to modernize the fort, the top levels were cut down to install newer weapons. Further remodeling also included the addition of Battery Osceola and Battery Adair on the inside of the fort. With the coming of the 20th century, more sophisticated weapons and eventually radar and other devices took the place of guns. By 1947, the Army turned Fort Taylor over to the Navy to maintain. Beginning in 1968, through the tireless efforts of volunteers, excavations for old armaments in the gun rooms uncovered a number of guns and ammunition from Civil War times. This represents only a fraction of the buried arsenal, which is the largest collection of Civil War cannons in the U.S. In recognition of this, Fort Taylor was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Two years later, the fort was designated a National Historic Landmark


         Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park


        (386) 758-0400, U.S. 90, 15 miles east of Lake City, Florida.  If you are on I-10, take Exit #45 to U.S. 90, then west 5 miles.  Open every day from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Interpretive Center is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Free.
            Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park was built to preserve the site of the state’s largest Civil War battle. A small interpretive center, a one-mile interpretive trail, and monuments to the Union and     Confederate armies are open to the public free of charge. The interpretive center contains historical information and artifacts related to the Battle of Olustee.A reenactment featuring full-scale artillery, military drills, and living history demonstrations by more than 2,300 re-enactors is held every February to commemorate the battle. A smaller exposition of Civil War artifacts and living history demonstrations is held in September. Located on the southern perimeter of Osceola National Forest, the park adjoins 645 acres of land cooperatively managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The area includes vast preserves of longleaf pine forest that support several colonies of red-cockaded woodpeckers, a federally endangered species. The forest also provides habitat for gopher tortoise and other wildlife. Olustee Battlefield is Florida’s first state park. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Pensaco la


            Civil War Soldiers Museum


108 South Palafox Place, Pensacola, FL 32501

The Civil War Soldiers Museum was founded in 1991, and exhibits the private collection of Dr. Norman W. Haines, Jr., a local physician, who began collecting as a boy near the Antietam Battlefield. Experience what it was like to serve during the Civil War. The Museum's diverse collection offers wonderful insights into our nation's rich history.


St. Petersburg


Egmont Key State Park
(727) 893-2627, Egmont Key is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort DeSoto Beach. Access by private boat only.

In 1858, the lighthouse was reconstructed to "withstand any storm." The new tower is 87 feet high with an Argard kerosene lamp and fixed Fresnel lens. Confederate troops occupied the island when the Civil War began. Realizing they could not defend their position, the Confederates evacuated Egmont, taking with them the Fresnel lens from the tower. The Union navy used Egmont to operate their Gulf Coast blockade of the Confederacy. Union troops raided Tampa in an unsuccessful effort to locate the missing lens.

The lighthouse returned to normal operation at the end of the war. After the Civil War, the lightkeeper, his assistant and their families were the principal residents of the island from 1866 to 1898.





The capitol remained virtually unchanged during the Civil War years when Tallahassee was the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi to avoid capture by Federal troops.


               Knott House Museum
                (850) 922-2459, 301 E. Park Ave., Tallahassee

Built in 1843, probably by free black builder George Proctor, the Knott House was first occupied by attorney Thomas Hagner and his wife Catherine Gamble. The house served as temporary Union Headquarters in 1865, where Brigadier General Edward McCook announced the Emancipation Proclamation. Physician Dr. George Betton made the location his home and office in the 1880s. Betton assisted in the early medical training of his carriage driver, William Gunn, who became Florida’s first African - American physician. In the early 20th century, three Florida Supreme Court judges lived in the house, acquired by William and Luella Knott in 1928. As the wife of a state treasurer, Luella hosted notable social functions, and as a poet, she wrote verses about the home and its furnishings, causing the site to be known as "The House That Rhymes." With the death of the Knott's son in 1985, the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board became the beneficiary, and after extensive renovations, the Knott House Museum opened to the public in 1992. Its administration was transferred to the Museum of Florida History in 1997. Take a look at the beautiful interior of the Knott House.


Museum Main Gallery

         (850) 245-6400, 500 S. Bronough St.,
        At the Main Gallery in the R. A. Gray Building, artifacts, reproductions, hands-on materials, and graphics interpret Florida's colorful past from the Pleistocene era to the present. Highlights include a fully reconstructed mastodon skeleton; artifacts from 18th-century Spanish shipwrecks; Civil War flags; and a life size, partial replica of a Florida steamboat. Florida's First People, a major new exhibit about prehistoric populations, was opened in 1997. The Museum also presents special exhibitions that change on a regular basis.

 Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park

(850) 922-6007, Driving Directions: Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park is located six miles east of Woodville, off S.R. 363 on Natural Bridge Road. Open 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.  $

During the final weeks of the Civil War, the Battle of Natural Bridge preserved Tallahassee as the only Confederate capitol east of the Mississippi River never to fall into Union hands. Considered quite an accomplishment by historians, the five-day battle concluded when a motley militia of old men and young boys defeated seasoned Union troops.

Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park serves as a monument for the famous battle that took place at the location. The Battle of Natural Bridge is re-enacted every year in March on a weekend near the anniversary of the actual battle. Visitors can view authentic Confederate and Union encampments