Key West’s Civil War… Is It North or South?
Here’s what EVERYONE knows about the Civil War (April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865). It was a war between the Northern and the Southern states that seceded from the Union. Northern forces were led by Abraham Lincoln while the Southern by Jefferson Davis.
Here’s what hardly ANYONE knows about the Civil War. Despite your first thought or what you learned in High School History class, Key West, Florida was the southernmost outpost for the Northern Yankees during the American Civil War! History books and teachers I’ve found seldom tell you the little known exceptions to the rule… in this case, it’s Key West! Florida seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America while Key West remained in U.S. Union hands. However, most locals were sympathetic to the South, and many flew Confederate flags over their homes.
Key West’s stronghold consisted of four defensive forts; the larger two were Fort Zachary Taylor & Fort Jefferson along with two smaller defensive fortifications only half the size of the others named East & West Martello Towers. The Martello Towers (called Towers, though actually forts) served as side armories and batteries for the larger forts and were connected at the time to Fort Taylor by railroad tracks for movement of munitions. Fort Jefferson on the other hand which saw only minor skirmishes during the war is located about 68 miles west from Key West in the Dry Tortugas (Turtles in Spanish) which also served after the Civil War as the prison for Dr. Samuel Mudd & other convicted conspirators of the John Wilkes Booth assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 15th 1865 just 6 days after the END OF THE CIVIL WAR!
Your History Professor for this on-line course has been me… Mr. 365 DaysShoestring Weekend