Florida in the Civil War @ Florida OCHP

Florida in the Civil War

Symbols of Florida

A number of symbols were used to represent Florida during the Civil War. Because these emblems were not produced in large quantities, nor used on a large scale, few people would recognize them today. The emblems shown here are ones that were made in an attempt to create distinctive symbols for the state.

Unlike the troops of some southern states, which had well-established state symbols, Florida soldiers usually used uniforms, flags, insignia, and equipment issued by the Confederate government. Likewise, the Floridians who joined Union units wore federal uniforms with regulation U.S. insignia.


Civil War ImageEagle button
The Florida eagle button was patterned after an unofficial state seal image used in the 1850s-60s that was based closely on Florida's old territorial seal.
Cherokee rose button
This button is called the "Cherokee rose" pattern because of the rose wreath. The button, with the six-pointed star device, was manufactured in only very limited numbers and marked on the back: "E. Halfmann/Montgomery Ala."
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Civil War ImageSecession banner
Even before Florida left the Union in January 1861, unofficial secession flags were flying in many parts of the state. A group from Duval County called "the Ladies of Broward's Neck" presented this flag to Governor Madison Starke Perry. The flag bore the motto "The Rights of the South at All Hazards!" and was displayed at the Florida capitol when the Ordinance of Secession was signed on January 11, 1861.
(Collections of the Museum of Florida History)
Colonel Chase's lone-star flag
In mid-January 1861, Colonel William H. Chase, the commander of Florida troops in Pensacola who were loyal to the South, raised this lone star emblem as the state's provisional military flag. Colonel Chase's soldiers had seized the federal navy yard in Pensacola during the crisis preceding the outbreak of the Civil War. The flag bears the same design as that used by the navy of the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1845.
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Civil War Image1861 pattern Florida state flag
Early in 1861, the Florida legislature passed an act directing Governor Madison S. Perry to adopt "an appropriate device for a State flag which shall be distinctive in character." On September 13, 1861, the governor reported that the new state flag had been deposited in his office, and the secretary of state recorded a description of Florida's first official state flag. Whether the flag was ever raised over the capitol or on the battlefield is unknown. This illustration is based on the written description.

State seals

First state seal

An impression of Florida's first state seal pattern was embossed on Florida's Ordinance of Secession to certify it as official in January 1861. Although Florida retained the same official state seal throughout the war, the design apparently did not prove popular and was used only for certifying documents.Civil War Image

Unofficial eagle pattern seal

Civil War Image Beginning in the 1850s, a variation of the state's territorial seal came into unofficial use as a state symbol of Florida. This design modified the territorial seal by strengthening the eagle image and changing the bed of clouds below the eagle to a bed of cactus. Several references from the Civil War period use this image as the coat of arms or seal of Florida.
"Arms of Florida" envelope
This envelope, showing the unofficial Florida state seal, is one in a series printed by Magee of Philadelphia, which displays the seals or coat of arms of different states. In this variation, the printer chose to reverse the image and rendered the eagle facing to the right. (Collections of the Museum of Florida History)
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Civil War Image"Patriotic" envelope
During the Civil War, envelopes illustrated with symbols showing the sender's patriotism were popular. This envelope, printed in New York, displays an anti-Confederate message: a devil figure has seized the Florida seal, while an angel of the Union prays for the state.
(Collections of the Museum of Florida History)

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