Florida Secession Cockades

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Florida was the third state to secede but was likely the least geographically important state in the Confederacy. Though a brisk scuffle continued along the coastline between Union blockaders and Southern blockade runners through the war, both governments decided not to expend much in the way of troops to control Florida.

That didn't mean Florida wasn't important in other ways. Florida's thriving beef and salt supply was a welcome help to the Confederate army. And her lengthy coastline allowed blockade runners to continually bring imported supplies through the state to the rest of the Confederacy.

Secession was easily voted for on January 10, 1861. An eye-witness account by 14 year old Susan Bradford gives us a vivid picture of the event - as well as the cockades!

"January 8th, 1861
"We are at home again after a day filled to overflowing with excitement and interest. We were in such a hurry to get to town that the convention had not assembled when we reached the Capitol. There were groups of men talking earnestly and there were other men running hither and thither with papers in their hands. Father has a great many friends and I stood quietly beside him while he and they discussed the situation.

"The ambassador from South Carolina had evidently made an impression on his audience of yesterday and somebody had been busy last night, for in every direction could be seen Palmetto cockades, fastened with a blue ribbon; there were hundreds of them.

"When at last the hall of representatives was opened and Father and I took our seats, Judge Gwynn came in and pinned a cockade on Father and one on me. Oh, I was so proud.... The members of the convention took their seats and Mr. Blake...opened the day’s session with prayer; such a beautiful prayer. I had never seen a convention until Father brought me here and it is strange to me. I wish I could tell all I heard today but the language the members used is not familiar to me and some of the things they talk about are just as new. Then, too, I am just a little girl.

"A message was read on the floor of the convention, from Governor Brown of Georgia, to Governor Milton. As near as I can remember it was this way: 'Georgia will certainly secede. Has Florida occupied the fort?'"

Even as early as November 1860, blue cockades had been seen in Florida. A newspaper reported the following: "Minute Men in Florida. - The Fernandina East Floridian says:
Badge representing the state of Florida used at the last Great Bazaar
at the Old State House on January 16, 1865. Women helped to organize
the event to raise money for the Columbia Wayside Hospital.
South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum.
We are pleased to learn that a company of 'Minute Men' has recently been organized in Fernadina, under the most favorable circumstances. The association already numbers amongst its members many of our most respectable young men, who are fully impressed with the emergency now so imminent, and who are prepared to defend and protect those rights whose destruction is speedily threatened. The “blue cockade” is familiar to many of the citizens of Florida, and the Palmetto State is not the only section where that emblem will be worn and appreciated. From the tone and temper of the people of Florida, we confidently expect the organization of 'Minute Men' will pervade every portion of the State, and embrace within its ranks our best and most patriotic citizens. Success to it!"