Between 1861 and 1862, Floridians flocked to join the six regiments that eventually constituted the Florida Brigade of the West. As the fragile remains of the 1st and 3rd Florida’s Battle Flag attests, portions of the brigade saw action in every major campaign of the Western Theater, save Iuka and Corinth. Until November 1863, the 1 st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th Infantry Regiments and the dismounted 1st Cavalry Regiment, served in separate brigades in different areas of the west. While the 1 st, 3rd, and 4th soldiered with the Army of Tennessee in major campaigns, the others protected the important Virginia-Tennessee railine against East Tennessee Unionists.
Following the Florida Brigade’s organization in November 1863, it became the epitome of the hardluck Army of Tennessee. Below strength, poorly armed, and shoddily equipped, the soldiers of the brigade followed their commanders through some of the hardest fighting of the war. From Missionary Ridge to Nashville, attrition whittled away at the small units. While many fell in battle, wounds incapacitated others, and still more wasted away in Northern prison camps. At the time of the surrender at Bennett Place, just over four hundred veterans remained with the brigade.
Through “By The Noble Daring Of Her Sons,” the story of these regiments, from their inceptions to their surrenders, will be told. While this dissertation seeks to describe the Florida Brigade’s military campaign, that is not its sole purpose. Rather, “By The Noble Daring Of Her Sons” uses the context of the Florida Brigade to allow the reader to experience various aspects of the war, including important but little-known facets. Furthermore, this dissertation proposes that Florida, before the war was a fractured state, with citizens maintaining regional allegiances. The overarching theme of this study is to establish that the Floridians’ service during the Civil War helped to create a state identity.