Brings to light an overlooked aspect of Florida’s importance to the Confederacy.
Florida's role in the Civil War has long been overlooked or discounted by students of the conflict. Despite its isolation and the lack of important land battles, the state made a contribution to the Confederate war effort far out of proportion to its small population. After seceding from the Union in 1861, Florida joined the Confederacy with a reputation, born in the 1850s, as an area of great agricultural potential for the newly created country. Rebel leaders quickly came to regard Florida as an abundant source of foodstuffs.
The state became a major supplier of salt, beef, pork, and corn both for the rebel forces and for many civilians. Cattle in particular were driven northward in large numbers, providing rations for Confederate troops from Chattanooga to Charleston. Unfortunately, however, senior officials in the field and in Richmond often held unrealistic expectations about the volume of supplies Floridians could actually deliver. These same authorities for the most part also failed adequately to defend this crucial food source, a factor that may have accelerated the Confederacy's ultimate disintegration.