Some speculate that the Civil War could have begun in Florida instead of Fort Sumter, South Carolina. In early January of 1861 when Florida joined the other Confederate states and seceded from the Union, there were Union (U.S. Army) soldiers stationed at Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, right off Pensacola. Confederate soldiers demanded that the Union soldiers surrender now that Florida was a Confederate state. The Union soldiers refused to leave the fort. The Union quickly moved in more troops to reinforce the number of soldiers in the fort of Pensacola. A battle began and a standoff lasted over several months.
The Confederate army landed 1,000 soldiers on the island on October 9th to raid a small Union army camp outside of the fort. More Union soldiers were sent from the fort to reinforce their camp and they were able to drive the Confederates off the island. Battles continued throughout the early part of 1862. Finally, by May, the Confederate troops withdrew from the area and the yearlong standoff was over. The Union occupied Pensacola for the rest of the war.
Olustee - February 20, 1864
Natural Bridge - March 6, 1865
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