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Hart, Catherine L. to Her Family. Tampa, January 5, 1865
9th Mississippi Unit, Pensacola, Florida
Duren, Charles M. to his Mother. Jacksonville, Florida, April 2, 1864
Daily Life: The Home Front
This picture is of Catherine Hart, wife of the future Florida Governor Ossian Bingley Hart, and was painted from the original ambrotype. Catherine Hart wrote letters throughout the war from Florida, a Confederate-sympathizing state, to her family in the North.
Women living in Florida experienced many hardships and difficulties while their husbands were away at war. In Saint Augustine, the women took action against Union forces that occupied Fort Marion and went so far as to chop down the flagpole in the main plaza of the city that displayed the Federal flag. Hart, on the other hand, came from a Union family to the North and lived with her anti-secessionist husband throughout the duration of the war.
Catherine Hart expresses her anxiety about being so far removed from her family in this letter from Tampa, Florida. Hart discusses the possibility of her male relatives joining the Union Army and also describes Ossian Hart's involvement in salt-making in Florida. Salt was extremely limited throughout Florida as supplies were no longer delivered from the North due to attempts at a Federal blockade. Her husband's efforts mirrored those of other Floridians determined to make ends meet during the Civil War.
Soldiers in Camp
J.D. Edwards was a Southern field photographer during the Civil War who, like Alexander Gardner and other Civil War photographers, overcame numerous difficulties to photograph soldiers at war. Photographers were able to capture both the tragedy and daily camp life of the Civil War using the new, wet-plate collodian photographic process. The photographs were often put on display for the general public in places like Matthew Brady's studio in New York City. This particular image by Edwards portrays the Ninth Mississippi Unit at camp in Pensacola, Florida.
Soldiers at camp would often write letters to family members while not drilling or on picket duty. They would also play games, gamble, solicit visiting prostitutes, and drink in their spare time.
Camps were arranged with a fixed grid pattern with officers' quarters at the front end of each street and enlisted men's quarters aligned to the rear. Also at the camp there would be defined areas for mess tents and medical cabins. Toward the end of the war as canvas became scarce in the South, Confederate soldiers had to build crude living quarters in order to have protection from the weather as they slept.
Charles M. Duren, United States Army Lieutenant from Bangor, Maine, was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1864. In this letter to his mother Duren describes his picket duty at the camp and the general camp sentiment about payment issues for regimental service:
"Not a man has received one cent- twice during the past year they have been offered the 7.00- but they have been united, have been firm. They said they would serve the country 3 yrs for nothing rather than take one cent less than 13.00 from the U.S. Govt..."
In the same year as this letter Duren was shot in the knee and thrown from his horse, receiving injuries from which he would never fully recover. He died on March 19, 1869, at the young age of twenty-seven.
William D. Rogers
Bellamy, Richard C. to Clarisa Bellamy. April 25, 1863
A Tragic War
William D. Rogers enlisted in the Confederate 1st Florida Infantry in Pensacola, Florida, in May of 1861. This portrait was taken sometime between 1864 and 1865 after he transferred to Company E of the 15th Confederate Cavalry. Rogers was captured at Pine Barren, Florida, by the 1st Maine Cavalry and sent to Ship Island, Mississippi, where he died of dysentery on March 28, 1865.
This letter from Confederate soldier Calvin Bellamy to his wife Clarisa in Florida was written from a Richmond hospital. Bellamy describes his failed efforts at obtaining a furlough to return home despite his sickness. He also speaks of the possibility of his own death during the war, which would bring him some relief when he says:
"My Dear Don’t be uneasy about me for if I Die before I get back I think I Shal be happier Then I am where I am at present ..."
Bellamy's possibility became a reality when he succumbed to sickness and died within two weeks of writing this letter.
Richard C. Bellamy, brother of Calvin Bellamy, was also a Confederate soldier stationed in Virginia during part of the war. In this letter, Bellamy breaks the sad news of the death of his brother Calvin to his brother's wife, Clarisa.