As Florida's political leaders voted on January 10, 1861, to follow the secessionist lead of South Carolina and Mississippi, former Florida Territorial Governor Richard Keith Call observed the multiple and shifting solidarities of the state and warned the winning faction that "you have opened the gates of Hell." Call's premonition swayed few power-brokers in Tallahassee, yet his words proved prophetic. Only in recent decades have historians of Florida's Civil War probed past the traditional interpretations of the state's experience as a "trifling affair" to establish how disruptive and hellish the conflict was on and to the home front. Indeed, scholars such as George E. Buker, Robert A. Taylor, and Tracy J. Revels have opened new and critical windows onto the internally disruptive aspects of the conflict, especially upon those men and women seeking to preserve their limited opportunities in life and the wellbeing of their families. As a result of the war's miseries, numerous Floridians, particularly those in the backcountry far removed from the power and privilege of Middle Florida (the plantation belt), remained "Union men" or for other personal reasons abandoned the Confederates and cooperated with or sought the protection of local Union forces. By focusing on the peculiar blue-brown water naval operations in south Florida, the following study seeks to add new insight into how the personal disaffections of various groups of hardscrabble Floridians in that region influenced the course and conduct of Florida's own "war within a war."1
Winsboro, Irvin D. S.
"Blue Water, Brown Water, and Confederate Disloyalty: The Peculiar and Personal Naval Conflict in South Florida during the Civil War,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 90:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol90/iss1/5