Civil War

Historic photo of sailors on the deck of the Pawnee
Union sailors and crew members, quarterdeck, and starboard battery of the U.S.S. Pawnee. Matthew Brady, photographer.

Library of Congress

The St. Johns River has been a strategic waterway for centuries. During the Civil War, the Union blockade of Jacksonville and the St. Johns River was pivotal in maintaining a strong coastal and interior blockade of the southeast coast. The successful Union blockade of the Atlantic seaboard prevented supplies and goods from entering and leaving the Confederacy.

Florida voted to secede from the United States and to join with other Southern states in the Confederacy in 1861. Although few actual battles were fought in Florida during the Civil War, the state nonetheless played an important role for both sides in the conflict.

Learn more about the stories and daily activities of Union commanders and sailors on the St. Johns River. Transcribed from the original documents at the National Archives, these records are dramatic and detailed:

Letter Books of Commanding Officers

Decklogs of Union Vessels

Want to visit Civil War sites in the Timucuan Preserve? Download this brochure, learn about Fort George Island, or attend an event:

The River War: The Timucuan Preserve in the Civil War

The Civil War on Fort George and Batton Islands

Events - Civil War

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Last updated: April 14, 2015

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Jacksonville, FL 32225



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