A Forgotten Front//Florida during the Civil War Era Edited by Seth A. Weitz and Jonathan C. Sheppard

An examination of the understudied, yet significant role of Florida and its populace during the  Civil War.

In many respects Florida remains the forgotten state of the Confederacy. Journalist Horace Greeley once referred to Florida in the Civil War as the “smallest tadpole in the dirty pool of secession.” Although it was the third state to secede, Florida’s small population and meager industrial resources made the state of little strategic importance. Because it was the site of only one major battle, it has, with a few exceptions, been overlooked within the field of Civil War studies.

During the Civil War, more than fifteen thousand Floridians served the Confederacy, a third of which were lost to combat and disease. The Union also drew the service of another twelve hundred white Floridians and more than a thousand free blacks and escaped slaves. Florida had more than eight thousand miles of coastline to defend, and eventually found itself with Confederates holding the interior and Federals occupying the coasts—a tenuous state of affairs for all. Florida’s substantial Hispanic and Catholic populations shaped wartime history in ways unique from many other states. Florida also served as a valuable supplier of cattle, salt, cotton, and other items to the blockaded South.

A Forgotten Front: Florida during the Civil War Era provides a much-needed overview of the Civil War in Florida. Editors Seth A. Weitz and Jonathan C. Sheppard provide insight into a commonly neglected area of Civil War historiography. The essays in this volume examine the most significant military engagements and the guerrilla warfare necessitated by the occupied coastline. Contributors look at the politics of war, beginning with the decade prior to the outbreak of the war through secession and wartime leadership and examine the period through the lenses of race, slavery, women, religion, ethnicity, and historical memory.

Seth A. Weitz is an associate professor of history at Dalton State College. He has published in The Historian, Tampa Bay Journal of History, and FCH Annals: Journal of the Florida Conference of Historians, among other publications.

Jonathan C. Sheppard is the executive director at Mission San Luis: Florida’s Apalachee-Spanish Living History Museum. He is the author of By the Noble Daring of Her Sons: The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee.

“With fine essays covering a mixture of both well established and developing topics, A Forgotten Front offers readers a solid overview of Florida’s Civil War as well as a promising roadmap for future research. Recommended.” —Civil War Books and Authors

“A Forgotten Front helps fill the historiographical void by covering both traditional political and military topics, as well as examining subjects that have become much more popular areas of scholarship in recent decades.” —David Coles, associate editor of the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War and coauthor of Sons of Garibaldi in Blue and Gray: Italians in the American Civil War

“A fine collection of essays that serves as a much needed overview of the Civil War in Florida. At the same time, the individual essays shed light on various aspects of the Civil War, such as pre-war politics, secession, the role of women and Hispanics, Unionism, guerilla warfare, and race.”

—James Denham, professor of history and Director of the Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History at Florida Southern College

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