In September 1861, the First Florida Special Battalion entered Confederate service at Fernandina. The unit, initially commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Daniel P. Holland, served first as heavy artillery before being reorganized as infantry. However, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hopkins then became its commander in May 1862, and he would serve in that position until the end of the war.
In March 1862, after the evacuation of Amelia Island and Fernandina due to the landing of strong Union forces, the battalion served at various points in north Florida during 1862–1863. It participated in the actions at St. Johns Bluff in September–October 1862 where it was forced to retreat, and Jacksonville in March 1863. Various companies also guarded the Apalachicola River from Union attack. In the summer of 1863, the First Battalion was ordered to reinforce the defenses at Savannah, Georgia, but the unit would return to Florida in time to defend the state against the Federal invasion in early 1864.
The First Battalion entered the battle of Olustee with approximately 400 enlisted men and twenty officers. The unit was held in reserve until the latter part of the battle when, according to a participant, it "went to the rescue of General Colquitt." The men "went in double-quik time" and "struck right in the center of the battle." The battalion suffered official casualties of three killed and forty seven wounded.
After the battle, the unit stayed in Florida until the spring of 1864, when it was sent to reinforce the Army of Northern Virginia. In June, the First Battalion, along with four companies from the Second Florida Infantry Battalion, consolidated together into the new Tenth Florida Infantry Regiment. The Tenth fought through the Petersburg Campaign of 1864–1865 and surrendered 154 men at Appomattox.
1st Florida Reenacting Units
(Please inform Webmaster of new additions, changes in URLs or dead links.)
Confederate Order of Battle
Battle of Olustee home page