Type of Document Thesis Author Turner, Shane Micah Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-07112005-175844 Title Rearguard of the Confederacy: The Second Florida Infantry Regiment Degree Master of Arts Department History, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jonathan Grant Committee Chair Elna Green Committee Member Michael Creswell Committee Member Keywords
- Florida Brigade
- Whirlwind Brigade
- 2nd Florida
- Perry's Brigade
Date of Defense 2005-06-24 Availability unrestricted AbstractAmong the popular Confederate accounts of the America Civil War, the men who served in the Army of Northern Virginia occupy positions of special celebrity and admiration. In print, on stage, in song, and on screen, the experiences of leaders and ordinary men who served in that army have attained almost mythological status. So many books have been published telling the histories of the men and units of that army that one might be led to falsely conclude that all the stories that are worth telling have already been told. Such is not the case. Both lay and professional historians have, in the more than 140 years since the end of the conflict, produced new interpretations and published yet-untold stories every year. Yet, much remains to tell. One such story is that of the Second Florida Infantry Regiment.
From the spring of 1861─when the regiment was formed─until the spring of 1865─when it surrendered─the men of the regiment had endured four full years of military life. They underwent discipline and chaos, slumber and sleep deprivation, abundance and hunger, and living and dying together. The Second Florida took part in nearly every campaign and fought in nearly every major battle in which the Army of Northern Virginia was engaged. The blood of many a member touched the soils of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and was liberally sprinkled across the hills and fields of Virginia; such was the price of the glory they attained.
Beyond the battlefield, the campaigning, and the marching, other than the active warfare, there are aspects of the Civil War─portions of a day, a night, and even whole months─that are not normally entered into the records of what happened to the men who fought in that great conflict. The members of the Second Florida, like all members of the Confederate Army, had many experiences apart from the active waging of war. There were months of encampment in winter quarters, and whole or parts of days, nights, and sometimes weekends at the beginning, end, and even during a campaign when they were inactive. These experiences are actually what filled the majority of the infantry soldier’s life. The Civil War was not only about fighting and killing. It was also about hunger, boredom, cold, varying degrees of wetness, religion, and even love.
This study tells the story of what the Second Florida Infantry Regiment did during the campaigns and battles in which the regiment took part, investigates the every-day experiences of the men of the unit, and explores the reasons the men had for staying with the regiment until the end of the conflict. There are several specific issues involving the lives of common soldiers during the Civil War about which historians have written little. Included in these topics are: how medical and sanitary conditions affected Civil War era armies; how the diet of soldiers affected a their health and unit morale; what the men did while not on the battlefield, and how they interacted with each other; and the role of religion in the lives of the men. In telling the military history of the regiment, this work includes several items that are absent from any other published history of the unit.
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