In July of 1861, three months after Confederate gunners opened fire on Fort Sumter igniting the Civil War, a distinguished group of United States Army, Navy, and civilian officials met in Washington, DC. These men, Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont, Commander Charles H. Davis, Major John G. Barnard, and Superintendent Alexander D. Bache of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, had been appointed by the Navy Department as a blockade board to study the geography and topography of the southern coastline, the state of Federal naval resources and manpower, and the strategic and tactical plans necessary to make President Lincoln’s frequently ridiculed blockade of the Confederate States a reality. Meeting throughout the summer and early fall, the board prepared a series of reports giving detailed descriptions of the Confederate shore and recommending the division of blockading forces into sections. Commenting on the southern Atlantic coast of Florida in their July 26 report, the board dismissed the region with the statement that it “can hardly be said to be inhabited, and is of no great consequence except as a convenient place of resort for pirates.“ Although this statement reflected the common perception of southeast Florida during the mid-nineteenth century, events would soon prove it notably shortsighted.
Dillon, Jr., Rodney E.
""A Gang Of Pirates": The Confederate Lighthouse Raids in Southeast,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 67:
4, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol67/iss4/5