MAJOR-GENERAL JAMES PATTON ANDERSON
James Patton Anderson (February 16, 1822 – September 20, 1872) was an American physician, lawyer, and politician, most notably serving as a United States Congressman from the Washington Territory, a Mississippi state legislator, and a delegate at the Florida state secession convention to withdraw from the United States.
"Patton" Anderson was born near Winchester in Franklin County, Tennessee. As a young boy, he moved with his family to Kentucky in 1831, where he lived for most of his childhood, and then to Mississippi in 1838. He attended the medical school of Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in 1840, before a family financial crisis forced him to withdraw a short time before graduation in 1842. Soon after his return home, Ander-son began practicing medicine.
He studied law at Montrose Law School in Frankfort, Ken-tucky, and was admitted to the bar in 1843, establishing a practice in Hernando in DeSoto County, Mississippi. He also entered the state's militia forces with the rank of captain in 1846. He later served in the Mexican-American War, com-manding the 2nd Battalion, Mississippi Rifles with the rank of lieutenant colonel as of February 22, 1848. That July he was mustered out of the volunteer service.
Anderson later entered politics, serving in the Mississippi House of Representatives and befriending Jefferson Davis, a fellow former Mississippi volunteer officer in the U.S. Army. He also found work as a gold prospector. When Davis became Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, he appointed Anderson as U.S. Marshal for the Washington Territory. Ander-son relocated there to Olympia and served as marshal for several years before being selected to represent the territory in the 34th Congress as a Democrat.
After his two-year term, concerned that the Union was collapsing, he moved back to the South to the state of Florida, living as a plantation owner near Monticello; he entitled his estate "Casa Bianca." He was an active participant in the Florida state secession convention.
Just prior to the start of the American Civil War, Anderson was appointed a captain in the Florida Militia on January 11, 1861. Soon after Florida's secession, Anderson was one of three deputies (delegates) from Florida to the Provisional Confederate Congress, beginning February 4, and resigned on May 2. He accepted a commission as the colonel of the 1st Florida Infantry on April 1 and initially served under Braxton Bragg in Pensacola. There he commanded the 2nd Brigade in the Army of Pensacola from October 12 to January 27, 1862.
He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on February 10, 1862, and was assigned to the Western Theater, commanding a brigade in the Battle of Shiloh in April. He fought with the Army of Tennessee during the battles of Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga, before being promoted to major general on February 17, 1864.
After briefly serving as commander of the Confederate District of Florida, Anderson returned to the field in July 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign. He led a division in Leonidas Polk's Corps in the Army of Tennessee at the battles of Ezra Church, Utoy Creek, and in the early stages of the Battle of Jonesboro before suffering a serious jaw wound on the evening of August 31. Temporarily unfit for duty, he was relieved of his command and sent home to Monticello.
He later returned to duty in April 1865 during the Carolinas Campaign, against his physicians' orders, and served with his men for the remainder of the war until their surrender to Union forces at Greensboro, North Carolina, in the spring of 1865. He was paroled on May 1, and would be pardoned by the U.S. Government on December 2, 1866.
Following the war, Anderson resided in Memphis, Tennessee, although he faced difficulty working due to his injuries sustained during the war. He sold insurance for a while and eventually became the editor of a small agricultural newspaper. He was a collector of delinquent state taxes for Shelby County.
Anderson eventually died in relative poverty at his home in Memphis at the age of 50, due primarily to the lingering effects of his old war wound. He was buried there in the city's Elmwood Cemetery, in Memphis, Tennessee.
New York Daily Herald. New York. New York. Saturday, September 21, 1872. Page Ten.
OBITUARY - JAMES PATTON ANDERSON.
General in the late Confederate Army, died at his residence near Memphis, Tennessee, yesterday morning. He was carried off by an attack of pneumonia. He served in the war against the Union, behaving with great ability. A Confederate dispatch, speaking of him in these terms. Major General Patton Anderson, one of the bravest, coolest and most skillful of our young officers, has been assigned to the command of the Florida District, whither he has proceeded. He graduated at West Point from the state of Tennessee and separated from the Union Army, in which his promotion was satisfactory. On the declaration of the War of Secession, General Anderson attained the rank of chief of Hindman's division, Hood's Army, in August 1864. He was severely wounded in the head at the Battle of Jonesboro and arrived in Americus, Georgia some short time subsequently. At a later date, General Anderson was relieved of his command in Florida and went to Tennessee. A Union officer writing at Jacksonville, Florida, on the 7th of April 1864 spoke of the general's actions in the following words: - “Major General Patton Anderson, commanding the Confederate forces in East Florida, sent yesterday to our lines a flag of truce covering a most courteous letter to Brigadier General Hatch. Accompanying the letter, he sent a complete list of our wounded in his hands so prepared as to show the character of their wounds, etc. He also expressed the hope that such a list might be the means of allaying anxiety on the part of the friends and families of the wounded prisoners. Most glad am I to chronicle an act so courteous and humane as this, albeit a rebel general, is its author. He maintained his character for dash, generosity, and love of his fellow man to the last.”
The Ocala Banner Ocala, Florida Friday, February 23, 1917 Page Seven.
PROMINENT MEMBER OF UDC DIES IN PALATKA.
The death of Mrs. Patton Anderson Monday in Palatka is deeply deplored by the entire com-munity, as there was no one in Palatka more highly respected or sincerely esteemed than the deceased. Residing here for upwards of thirty years, she was known far and near for her beautiful Christian life. In truth, it may be said that none knew her but to love her. None named her, but to praise. Mrs. Anderson had been in failing health for some time, but it was not thought that the end was so near. The cause of death was paralysis. She was ever active in social, religious and benevolent work and was the founder of a local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, which bears her name.
Mrs. Patton Anderson was born in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, on June 3rd, 1834 (83 years ago), in 1853, she married Patton Anderson, who took such a prominent part in the Civil War and was during that time, made a general of the Confederate Army. In 1856, together with her husband, she came to Florida, where they lived for ten years except for the war period. And she, on many occasions accompanied her husband. - Palatka Cor. to Times Union. Mrs. Anderson was well known and beloved by the Daughters of the Confederacy and Ocala and all over Florida and the South.
by Margaret Anderson Uhler
Two generations of a Southern family leave their mark on Florida, their adopted home. Ellen Adair, daughter of Kentucky governor John Adair, is a vivacious beauty who weds Joseph White, a lawyer and friend of her father. Marrying about the time Florida is ceded to the United States, Ellen leaves Kentucky to trek with Joseph into the half-civilized land of north Florida in the 1820s. Florida's second elected delegate to Congress, Joseph is nationally known as an authority on dealing with old Spanish land grants. His expertise leads to trips abroad and involvement in diplomatic circles. The Whites move into a glittering world of celebrated literary and political figures of the 1830s, and Ellen is acclaimed for her wit and beauty.
Ellen's nephew, James Patton Anderson, a Southern hero in the most romantic tradition, marries his cousin, Henrietta Etta Adair. When he is appointed the first United States Marshal of Washington Territory, he and Etta leave for the Northwest and brave the wilderness. As hostilities between the North and the South loom, they return to Florida. The Civil War comes, and Patton sees distinguished service in some of the fiercest campaigns. In a day when loyalty and honor are strong, none pursue these virtues more passionately than Patton Anderson.
About the Author
When Margaret Anderson Uhler, a native Floridian, inherited personal letters and memoirs of her ancestors, she visualized heroic and romantic characters in a novel. Mrs. Uhler lives in Milledgeville, Georgia. Her articles have appeared in several historical publications
Major General James Patton Anderson: An Autobiography
Author(s): Margaret Uhler and James Patton Anderson.
Source. The Florida Historical Quarterly, Jan. 1967, Vol. 63, No. 3 (Jan. 1987), pp. 335 356.
Published by: Florida Historical Society.
Major James Patton Anderson and Autobiography
by Margaret. Uhler
James Patton Anderson has received relatively little historical recognition. The contributions he made to Florida's civil war effort are worthy of historical study.
Many incidents of Anderson's life are revealed in the letters of his wife, Etta. In fact, were confined permanently to complement each other to form a compelling narrative of romance, adventure, and devotion. (1) In response to a letter from Mr. Earle requesting biographical information, Etta on April 11th, 1889. “I do not believe it possible for any pen to do justice to his private character for brilliant, pure, and good as his public life was. His private life excelled in every respect. We were married 19 years in April - he died the following September. At that time as a son, husband, father, and master, I never saw him do or say anything I did not admire and approve of. It seemed to me every day I saw something new to admire and love. Every member of his household idolized him. He never spoke out of patience to his children or his servants. He required obedience - but he ruled with quiet firmness. His plantation was conducted with the same system that his command was in the army. He had no trouble to control. He seemed on entering home to leave his business “outside the gate” - and to enter fully into the amusement of his children, sympathizing with them in their joy and their childish sorrows, directing, guiding, and instructing at the same time. Every little occurrence of the day was “kept to tell Father when he came”. Don't you see how utterly impossible it would be for me to write a sketch that would do to publish? I knew him too well, and since I have lost him and have been thrown around in the world for more perfect, he seems and the farther I come from, me and being any like him. (2)
Even though her inability to be objective caused some hesitancy in complying with the letter writer's request, Etta, nevertheless, provided several significant incidents absent in Anderson's own rather modest account. During Anderson's tenure as United States Marshal of Washington Territory from 1853 to 1856 an event took place that Etta asked Mr. Earle to keep confidential: Genls. McClelan (sic), (a great favorite with us), Grant, Augur, and many other officers were our friends there; and let me tell you a little thing that for General Grant's children's sake will be kept between us. While my husband was taking the census way up near the Dalles on the Columbia River. General Grant, then a lieutenant paymaster with the rank of Capt., was suffering from mania ____ (delirium tremens). Got away from his soldiers. They were all camping on the bank of the river. My husband had Indians with him. The soldiers woke him and told him of Grant's condition and that he had gone. He woke his Indians, made them understand, and put them on the trail. They tracked him by the pieces of his outside woolen shirt on the bushes; found him crouched down under some bushes, ready to plunge into the river, hundreds of feet below. One false step and both would go down to certain death. The banks were solid rock, hundreds of feet high, and the water so cold that they could not live in it a moment without cramp. General A. was strong and active. He climbed carefully until he was between Grant and the river - gave one spring against his breast- forced him back to the ground and caught through the bushes near and held him fast until the soldiers came and helped to secure him and take him into camp. Patton rarely spoke of it. About the time of the fall of Vicksburg. It got out through some officer writing to one of his staff, and his staff insisted on knowing the particulars and were much amused. (3)
Devotion to duty governed Anderson's life and quieted the Confederate commander and durability. He was imbued with an equally strong sense of personal loyalty, and added gratitude, Mr. Earle continues with another revealing incident:
“He (James Patton Anderson) never recovered from his wound and died from the effects of it on September 20th, 1872, at Memphis, the anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga. He always remembered it and would add how we whipped them that day - poor Lytle. (4). He and General A. were warm personal friends. The last time they met before the war in the Charleston Convention, talking of the prospects of war with both believed they would have - as they parted, they agreed if it came - and either was in the hand of the other. The more fortunate ones would do all they could to consistently with their duty as officers, to alleviate the suffering of the other. Once General A’s (Anderson's) mother was left in the federal lines. General L. (Lytle) was very kind and attentive and finally accompanied her through the lines with a flag of truce. During the Battle of Chickamauga, a soldier reported to my husband that a federal officer had been killed. He rode back and was shocked to find it was General Lytle, and that his own brigade had killed him. He secured some articles from his pockets, a lock of his hair, his ring, and pistol, placed a guard over the body, and said his spurs were gone. (The history of which General A. knew in some way). A wounded Yankee man said, “A rebel took them, and has gone up the lines.” My husband rode on, overtaking one of his own couriers, and asked if he had seen anyone with them. He said, “I took them myself, General, and have just buckled them on Major Thompson's heels. He is just ahead of you.” My husband rode on, for his duties called him to that part of the field. He found a Major but he too was dead, his body stripped and the spurs gone. He tried often during the war and after, but could never hear of them. He asked as a personal favor of General Bragg that he might make the effort and send General Lytle’s body to his friends (I think his sisters) with the articles mentioned. The request was readily granted and his body was exchanged for General Adams of La., who was behind mortally wounded.”(5)
General Anderson won distinction on the battlefield on Corinth Shiloh Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. In March 1864, he assumed command of the District of Florida and with a small army of 12,000 men, managed to hold the superior Federal forces beleaguered in Jacksonville in July 1864. Anderson was ordered to report to Lieutenant General John Bell Hood in Atlanta. On August 31, during the Battle of Jonesborough, where he commanded a temporary corps of two divisions, he was seriously wounded. Etta described the scene to Mr. Earle. “Riding close to the federal line to reconnoiter, he was honored by a regimental salute by the enemy when a halt was ordered, and while riding to rejoin his command under a hailstorm of bullets, he was shot through the jaw, nearly cutting off the tongue. (6)
Not expected at first to survive his wounds, General Anderson, surprisingly made a partial recovery and returned to his plantation, Casa Bianca, near Monticello, Florida. During his convalescence, he wrote his autobiography in a plantation ledger book, now in the James Patton Anderson Papers. P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, For his children. Although not fully recovered from his injury and against the advice of his physicians, Anderson rejoined the Army in March 1865 and was assigned to a new command from Charleston, South Carolina. After the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, Anderson, along with General Edward Carey Walthall and Winfield Scott Featherston, both from Mississippi, was still unwilling to surrender. Aware of their sentiments, their superiors signed the terms of surrender before they could be present at the caucus. (7) Anderson was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 2, 1865,(8) borrowing a wagon and four mules from Union General John M. Schofield, he was able to return to Monticello.(9)
In 1856. Anderson bought Casa Banca, a 6,000-acre plantation from his aunt, Ellen Adair White Beatty, widow of Joseph M. White, one of the most influential men in Florida during the territorial period (10). White had represented Florida and Congress from 1825 to 1837. In 1860. Anderson sold Casa Bianca to Robert W. Williams, a prominent Leon County planter. However, when Anderson returned to Monticello after the war, he arranged to rent Casa Banca. He lived there until his health forced him to seek a more congenial climate. In 1868, with his wife and five children, Anderson moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he lived until his death. Anderson refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and unable to resume his legal practice, died in poverty unrecon-structed to the end. To have signed the oath, he felt, would have implied a regret for what he had done and he had none. And if his life was to go over, he would do just as he had unless, if possible, he would be more devoted to the cause.
Anderson's death left Etta with no means of supporting herself and her children. Consequently, she lived the next ten years with her brother, Cromwell Adair in Morganfield, Kentucky. In 1883, she and her children, William Preston, Theophilus Beaty, James Patton Jr, Elizabeth Cromwell, and Margaret Bybee, returned to Florida and settled in Palatka. Etta organized the Patton Anderson chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Palatka and served as its president until her death in 1917.
General Anderson's autobiography was published in Volume XXXVIII of the Southern Historical Society Papers, a compilation of essays, autobiographies, and paroles published by the Southern Historical Society between 1876 and 1959. The volume containing General Anderson s autobio-graphy was published by the Virginia State Library, Richmond, and edited by Robert Alonzo Brock. No changes have been made from the original autobiography in spelling or punctuation; para-graphing, however, has been modified for ease of reading.
Major General James Patton Anderson
I was born in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee, on the 16th day of February 1822. My father, William Preston Anderson, was a native of Botetourt County, Virginia, and was born about the year 1775 (sic). During the second term of General Washington's administration. He received from the President a commission of Lieutenant in the United States Army about this time. Soon after, he removed to Tennessee and at one time was United States District Attorney for that judicial district and was subsequently Surveyor General of the District of Tennessee. In the War of 1812, he was Colonel of the 24th United States Infantry and was accidentally with Colonel Croghan in his defense of Fort Harrison. (13) During this war. he married my mother, Margaret L. Adair, who was the fifth daughter of Major General John Adair of Mercer County, Kentucky. (14) He had previously been married to Miss Nancy Belle, by whom he had three children, Musadora, Rufus King, and Caroline. In the second marriage, they were Nancy Belle. Catherine Adair. John Adair, (who died in infancy), James Patton, John Adair, (who died in 1858), Thomas Scott, and Butler Preston. When I was an infant, my father was removed from the town of Winchester to his farm, Craggy Hope, about six miles distant, where he resided until his death in April 1831.
When about eight years old, I was sent for a short time, to a country school near home where I learned the alphabet and began to spell and read. Soon after my father's death, my mother returned with her six children to her father in Mercer County, Kentucky. My brother John Adair and myself were soon after sent to the house of Charles Buford, (who had married my mother's youngest sister) in Scott County, Kentucky, and remained there about a year, attending a country school taught by a Mr. Phillips. This was in 1831-2. In 1833, I returned to my grandfather and went to school with a young man named Van Dyke, who taught in the neighborhood. Afterward to Mr. Tyler and still later on to Mr. Boswell who were successively principals of Cone Burr Academy in Mercer County.
I was then sent to the house of Judge Thomas B. Monroe in Frankfort. Mrs. Monroe was also a sister of my mother. (15) I remained for about a year, perhaps more. attending a select school taught by B. B Sayer. About this time, my mother was married to Dr. J. N Bybee of Harrodsburg, Ky. I was taken to his house and went to school in the village to a Mr. Rice. And afterward to a Mr. Smith. In October 1836, I was sent to Jefferson College in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. I remained there a year when pecuniary misfortune compelled my stepfather to withdraw me. In the winter of 1838, I kept up my studies with a young man named Ferry, then teaching in Harrodsburg. During this winter, I boarded at the house of my uncle, John Adair, three miles in the country.
In the spring of 1838, I was sent up to the Three Forks of Kentucky River in Estill County, where my stepfather had established a saw mill and had opened a coal mine. During this year, too, I made a trip with my mother to Winchester, Tennessee, on horseback, where she went to close up some of the unsettled business of my father's estate. In the fall of 1838, my stepfather determined to remove to North Mississippi, then being rapidly settled, the Indians having been removed west of the Mississippi River. I accompanied him from Harrodsburg, Ky, to Hernando in DeSoto County, Mississippi. I remained here during the winter of 1838-9, assisting in building cabins, clearing land, etc, for the comfort of the family. In April 1839, I was sent back to Jefferson College. I entered the junior class and graduated in October 1840. I returned to DeSoto County, Mississippi, and began the study of law in the office of Buckner and Delafield and was admitted to the bar by Judge Howry in 1843. In the summer of 1844 and 1845, I spent three months of each year at the law school of Judge Thomas B. Monroe at Montrose over near Frankfort, Ky. I have always regarded these months as more profitably spent than any others of my life.
Having no money with which to support myself and the bar being crowded with the best talent of Tennessee, Alabama and other states which had been attracted to this new country by its great prosperity and promise. I accepted the position of Deputy Sheriff of DeSoto County under my brother-in-law, Col. James H. Murray, who had been elected to that office in 1843. I held this position from which a comfortable support was derived till 1846 when the prospects seemed favorable to commence the practice of law. In 1847, I formed a partnership with R.B. Mayes, a young lawyer of the state about my own age. During the time that I was discharged, the functions of Deputy Sheriff, I also practiced law in partnership with my former preceptor - E.F. Buckner - whenever I could do so consistently with the duties of the office.
In October 1847, I received an earnest appeal from Governor. G. Brown of Mississippi to organize a company in response to a call from the President of the United States for service in Mexico. (I had previously made several efforts to enter the military service during the war with Mexico, but all the organizations from DeSoto County had failed to be received by the Governor - their distance from the capital making them too late in reporting. In a few days), I organized a company of volunteers from the Regiment of Militia in the county of which I was then a Colonel. I was elected Captain of the company without opposition. H. Carr Forrest was elected 1st Lieutenant. My brother John Adair was elected 2nd Lieutenant and my brother Thomas Scott. Orderly Sergeant. The company repaired hurriedly to Vicksburg, the place of rendezvous. Two other companies had already reached the encampment. After waiting a fortnight or more for the other two companies of the battalion called for by the president to report, the five companies were sent to New Orleans for equipment and organization. Having received arms, clothing, etcetera, they embarked about 2nd January 1848 for Tampico, Mexico. On the 22nd of February 1848, I was elected at Tampico, Lieutenant Colonel, to command the battalion. I remained at Tampico till the close of the war when I was mustered out of the service, along with the battalion at Vicksburg, Miss., and reached my home at Hernando on the 4th of July, 1848.
I resumed the practice of law in partnership with R.B. Mayes. Our prospects were flattering as the business of the firm was gradually increasing. In the fall of 1849, I was elected one of the members of the legislature from DeSoto County. After a very heated and close Week contest canvass in January 1850, I took my seat in the legislature. General John H. Quitman was at the same time inaugurated Governor of the State. The celebrated compromise measures were then pending in the Congress of the United States and the country. Much excited on the topics then being discussed. (6) Jefferson Davis and H. S. Foote were then the United States senators from Mississippi. I took the same view of the question with Davis and Quitman - voted for a resolution in the House of Representatives of Mississippi requesting Senator Foote to resign his seat in as much as he did not reflect the will of the State in voting for the Compromise Bill. I sustained cordially and sincerely all the prominent measures of Governor Quitman's administration and believed great injustice and wrong was done to the South in the passage of the compromise bill by the Congress of the United States.
In 1851. I was renominated by the Democratic Party for a seat in the Legislature. My health (from my service in Mexico) at this time was very bad, which precluded me from making a thorough canvass of the county. The contest was an exceedingly warm one, and in many portions of the state was even bitter. It has passed into history. Mr. Davis was defeated for governor by General Foote. The whole Democratic Party was left in a minority. With the rest. I was defeated by over a hundred majority in an aggregate vote of about 1,800. Resumed practice of law. Succeeded as well as could be hoped. Health still bad from fever and ague.
In 1853, Jefferson Davis was tendered the position of Secretary of War in Mr. Pierce's Cabinet. in answer to a letter of mine in February of this year. He advised me to proceed to Washington City, where he would use his influence to procure me a commission in the new Rifle Regiment then about to be raised by Congress for Frontier Defense. My health by this time became so bad from the effects of sedentary habits and the agues engendered in a miasmatic climate that friends and physicians advised me to remove from Mississippi to a colder and drier climate. I accepted Mr. Davis's proposition and repaired to Washington City, where I arrived on the night of the fourth of March 1853. In time to learn that the bill to raise a rifle regiment had failed for want of time to receive President Fillmore’s signature. I remained, however, a fortnight without making any effort or application to receive any other position. The bill to organize the territory of Washington had become a law on the 3rd of March. My uncle John Adair, who had removed to Astoria, Oregon, in 1848, was now in Washington City and extremely anxious for me to move to that distant region where my brothers John and Butler had gone in 1850. Through his instrumentality and the kindness of Mr. Davis, now Secretary of War, I was appointed as United States Marshal for the territory of Washington. I accepted it and set out making preparations for the journey. Two difficulties were in the way. 1st, the want of money.
return trip, had sprung a leak and was compelled to go on down the coast to Panama for repairs and that she would probably not return for a month. This was a great disappointment to the 800 passengers at Virgin Bay who were eager to reach the Goldfields of California.
But to me, it was a matter of rejoicing. Since a few week's rest in Nicaragua would probably restore my wife to health before undertaking another long sea voyage. We remained at Virgin Bay nearly a month. My wife recovered. We embarked at San Juan Del Sud the first week of June, reached San Francisco in 14 days where we had to stay near a fortnight and waiting for a steamer which was to take us to the Columbia River. At the expiration of this time, we set sail on the steamer “Columbia” bound for Astoria, Oregon. Among the passengers were my uncle, John Adair(17) and his eldest daughter, Captain George B. McClellan, Major Larned, USA and several other officers of the Army, besides two companies of the (4th) Infantry. After passing the bar at the mouth of the Columbia, a reckoning was taken between myself and wife of the state of our finances. It was ascertained that the sum total on hand was exactly one (worthless paper) dollar. It would not pay for landing our trunks at Astoria, which place was then in sight and was our present destination. I threw the dollar into the raging Columbia and began to whistle to keep my courage up. My health had not improved. An officer came up on deck whom I had not seen at table or elsewhere during the voyage. He inquired if Colonel Anderson was in the crowd. I replied and introduced myself to him. He made himself known as Lieutenant Rufus Saxton, USA and said he had left New York on the steamer that came out a fortnight after I had left New Orleans, and that he had an official communication for me from the Secretary of the Interior. At the same time, handing me a paper in a large official envelope. Taking it in my hand, I began depositing it in my coat pocket without breaking the seal. When he requested that, I would open it and see whether he had brought it and contents safely to hand. On opening it, I found that it contained instructions for me as U.S. Marshall to proceed at once to take a census of the inhabitants of the new territory of Washington, and also a Treasury draft for $1,000 to defray expenses in the work. This was a piece of good fortune in the nick of time for in two minutes more, the steamer dropped her anchor off the City of Astoria and we disembarked.
My wife remained at the house of her, our uncle near Astoria and I started in a few days to Puget Sound to commence the official labors assigned to me. I reached Olympia on the 4th of July and on the fifth started through the Territory to take the census, the only mode of travel then known in the country was by canoe with Indians as watermen or on foot. For two months. I was constantly engaged this way, frequently walking as much as 25 miles per day and carrying my blankets, provisions and papers on my back. My health was already robust and the work was a pleasure.
On completing the census, my wife accompanied me in a canoe up the Cowlitz River to Olympia where the capital of the territory was likely to be established and where I had determined to settle. At first, we rented a little house and then bought one in which we lived very happily and pleasantly during our stay in the territory. In addition to my duties as US Marshall, I practiced law in the territorial courts whenever the two duties did not conflict.
In 1855, I was nominated by the Democratic Party of the Territory for the position of delegate to the U.S. Congress. My competitor was Judge Strong, formerly U.S. District Judge in Oregon. We began a thorough canvass of the whole territory as soon as appointments for public speaking could be distributed among the people. I was successful at the election, which came off in June. Soon thereafter, the report of gold discoveries near Fort Colville on the Upper Columbia reached the settlements on Puget Sound and several persons began preparations for a trip into that region. Not desiring to start for Washington City before October in order to be in Washington City on the first Monday of December, a meeting of the 34th Congress to which I had been elected, I determined to go to Fort Colville to inform myself about the gold deposits of that and other unexplored regions of the territory, the better to be able to lay its wants and resources before Congress and the people of these states. I started with seven other citizens of Olympia the latter part of June on horseback, with pack animals to carry our provisions. Our route lay over the Cascade Mountains through what was then called the Na-chess Pass across the Yakima River and valley, striking the Columbia River at the Priest's Rapids, where we crossed it and taking the Grand Coulee to the mouth of the Spokan (sic) River thence up the left Bank of the Columbia by Fort Colville to the mouth of Clark’s Fork, where gold was reported to have been found, which we proved by experiment to be true. The trip from Olympia to the mouth of Clark's Fork, as thus described, occupied us about 24 days. Other parties followed us soon after. The Indians on the route became alarmed, lest their country would be overrun with whites in search of gold and commenced hostilities by killing a man named Mattis, who was on his way to the mines in Olympia. A general Indian war was threatened. I had not been at the mines a week till Angus McDonald of Fort Colville sent an express to inform me of the condition of affairs between me and home. We were unarmed, except with two guns and one or two pistols in the party. Ur provisions were being exhausted and the appointed time for my return had arrived. So the miners concluded to return with me, To avoid the most hostile tribe led by the Chief Owhe, we made a detour to the east and returning, crossed the Spokan about forty miles above its mouth, past the old Whitman Mission, crossed the Snake River about ten or twenty miles above its mouth, took down the Pelouse to Walla Walla, thence across the Umatilla near the Mission and “Billy McKey's,” crossing the Deo Shuttes at its mouth and down to the Dalles, the Cascades, Fort Van Couver, and up the Cowlitz back to Olympia, which we reached in safety about 1st October.
During that month, my wife and I took the steamer to San Francisco, thence to Panama. Aspinwall and on to New York. We reached Washington City a few days before the meeting of Congress. This (34th) Congress will be long remembered as the one which gave rise to such a protracted and heated contest for Speaker to which position Mr. N. P. Banks of Massachusetts was finally elected. This was the first triumph of importance of that fanatical party (now called Republicans), which led to the disruption of the Union four years later. Before this struggle for speaker had been decided and during the Christmas holidays, my wife and I repaired to Casa Bianca, Florida, by invitation of our aunt, Mrs. E, A. Beatty. While there, I entered into an agreement with her for the conduct of her plantation under my supervision, etc. My wife remained at Casa Bianca and I returned to my duties at Washington City, only coming out to Florida during the vacation.
My term of service in Congress expired the 4th of March 1857. The same day Mr. Buchanan was inaugurated President for four years. He appointed me Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs of Washington Territory but I did not accept wishing to take my wife's advice on the subject. On consultation with her, I determined not to return to Washington Territory,
believing firmly that the days of the Union were numbered and not wishing to be absent from the land of my birth when her hour of trial came, I resigned the position tendered me by Mr. Buchanan and devoted myself exclusively to planting at Casa Bianca.
In 1861, it became certain that Mr. Lincoln was elected President of the United States. The people of Florida feeling alarmed for the safety of their rights and institutions began to hold primary meetings through a general convention of the state. In December 1860, I was elected a delegate from Jefferson County to a general convention of that state, which assembled at Tallahassee for the 1st of January 1861 and passed the Ordinance of Secession on the 10th day of the same month - which received my hearty approval. While the convention was yet in session, the Governor deemed it prudent to seize such forts and ordnance stores as he could belonging to the United States within the limits of the State. (18) For this purpose, a force was sent to Pensacola, besieged the Navy Yard, Forts Barrancas, McRee and Pickens. A volunteer company of young men of Jefferson County, of which I was captain, came through Tallahassee in route to Pensacola to assist in taking Fort Pickens to which all the US troops seen at Pensacola had now retired. At the request of the Company signified to me in Tallahassee, while they were awaiting transportation to St. Mark’s, I agreed to command them in this expedition.
Another company under Captain Amaker from Tallahassee was going on the same errand. (19) We failed at ST. Mark's to get steamboat transportation, returned to Tallahassee and started overland by Quincy Chattahoochee, etc. Captain Amaker’s commission as Captain with older than mine (by one day) but at his urgent request and that of Governor Perry, I consented to assume command of the two companies having marched to Chattahoochee Arsenal. We were stopped by a dispatch from Governor Perry directing us to remain there till further orders. In about a week it was decided by the officer in command of the Florida troops at Pensacola not to attack Fort Pickens and he accordingly dispatched Governor Perry to disband my detachment.
In the meantime, the Convention of Florida had determined to send delegates to a convention of such Southern states as had seceded, which was to meet in February in Montgomery, Alabama. These delegates from Florida were to be appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Convention. Governor Perry dispatched me at Chattahoochee Arsenal that he had appointed me one of the three delegates to this general convention and directed me to return to Tallahassee with my two companies where they could be disbanded, which was done.
In February. I repaired to Montgomery and took part in the proceedings of the Convention, which formed a provisional government for the seceded states. All the principal measures of that body passed or proposed during its session and while I was a member, met my support. I was on the committee of Military Affairs and favored the raising of troops, etc. I also proposed to have the cooks, nurses, teamsters and pioneers of our army to consist of slaves. After having adopted a provisional constitution and inaugurated a provisional president, the Convention or Congress, adjourned about the 1st of March.
On the 26th of March, while at my home in Monticello, the Governor wrote me that he wished to send a regiment of infantry to Pensacola for Confederate service. My old company was immediately reorganized and on the 28th of March started for Chattahoochee Arsenal, the place appointed for all the companies to rendezvous and elect officers.
On the 5th of April. I was elected Colonel of the 1st Florida Regiment Infantry without opposition, and that night started with the regiment to report to General Braxton Bragg at Pensacola. We reached Pensacola on the 11th or 12th of April, went into camp and commenced drilling and exercising the troops. On the nights of the 7th and 8th of October, I commanded one of the detachments, which made a descent upon the Camp of Billy Wilson's Zouaves under the guns of Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa Island. The expedition consisted of about 1,000 men divided into three detachments, respectively, under Colonel J. R. Jackson, 5th Georgia Regiment, Colonel James R. Chalmers, 9th Mississippi Regiment and myself. Chalmers had the right. Jackson the center and I the left; the whole under the command of Brigadier General R H. Anderson, South Carolina. My command consisted of 100 men from the 1st Alabama and other commands. My loss in this fight was 11 killed, 24 wounded, and 12 captured. (I speak from memory).
On the 10th of February 1862, I was appointed a Brigadier General in the provisional army of the Confederate States and in March was ordered to report to General Bragg then at Jackson in West Tennessee. Soon after reporting, I was assigned to the command of Brigadier General Ruggles then at Corinth, Mississippi. This brigade consisted principally of Louisiana troops, to which the 1st Florida and 9th Texas regiments were soon after added. I was immediately ordered to the front of Corinth and directed to Monterrey and Pittsburg Landing. At the Battle of Shiloh, my brigade consisted of the 17th, 19th and 20th Louisiana regiments the 9th Texas, 1st Florida and Clack's Louisiana Battalion with the 5th Company of Washington Artillery from New Orleans.
Soon after the Battle of Shiloh, Hindman was assigned to the command of Ruggles Division, but only exercised it a few days when he was ordered to Arkansas and the command devolved upon me as senior brigadier. I commanded the division in the retreat from Corinth till we reached Clear Creek near Baldwin, where I was taken ill with fever and Major General Sam Jones was assigned to the division. I rejoined the division at Tupelo, Mississippi, where the army was reorganized and commanded a brigade in Sam Jones division till we reached Chattanooga, Tennessee, in August. Of that year, preparatory to the Kentucky campaign. In August 1862, while in camp near Chattanooga, the division was reorganized and was composed of Walker's, Adams, Anderson's and Richard's Brigades. About the middle of August, Major General Sam Jones was assigned to the command of the Department of East Tennessee and the command of the division devolved on me. On the 1st of September, I crossed Walden's Ridge with my division following Buckner's division. The two comprised Hardee's Corps, Army of Tennessee, throughout this campaign. I continued in command of the division having Brigadier-General Preston Smith's Brigade of Cheatham's Division added to it in the afternoon of the day of the Battle of Perryville. We returned from Kentucky through Cumberland Gap, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Bridgeport to Alisonia in Franklin County, Tenn., where my division was halted for a fortnight. During this time, I visited for the first time in many years the grave of my father at Craggy Hope - the old farm. From Ansonia, the army proceeded to Shelbyville, where we halted ten days and thence to Eagleville, where in December my division was broken up and I was assigned to the command of a Brigade in Wither’s division of Polk's Corps. This brigade was the one formerly commanded by Brigadier General Frank Gardner. I was only in command of it a few days when Rosecrans advanced upon Murfreesboro, where General Bragg determined to give him battle. And for this purpose took his line of battle on the 27th of December, about a mile and a half from Murfreesboro on the Nashville and Wilkinson Pikes.
The morning of the day on which the line was taken up, I was transferred to the command temporarily of Walpole's Brigade of Mississippians. This was in consequence of Walthall's sickness, and because the brigade was composed entirely of troops (Mississippians) who had been under my command, either at brigade or division commanders since March 1862. This brigade won many laurels in the battle of the 31st of December and on the 2nd of January, 1863, was sent to reinforce Breckinridge on the right, who had been roughly handled that afternoon by superior numbers. We reached the scene of conflict about sundown, and after the heaviest fighting was over – in time, however, to have several officers and men of our skirmish line severely wounded; and by interposing a fresh line between the victorious enemy and Breckinridge’s shattered columns, gave time for the latter to rally and resume a line they had held in the morning.
This affair gave rise to much bitter feeling between General Bragg and Major-General Breckinridge. Bragg in his official report having animadverted very seriously upon Breckinridge’s conduct and having attributed (I think), more to my brigade than it was entitled to. On the other hand, Breckinridge hardly did us justice, or rather his friends who discussed the matter in the public prints did not give me due credit for our conduct or operations on that occasion. They rather contended that I reached the ground after the fight was over, and although we came with good intentions and doubtless would have rendered efficient service if it had been necessary, yet there was nothing to be done after arriving, etc. The facts are, however, as I have stated then here and as I stated in my official report on that occasion, a copy of which I sent to General Breckenridge, whereupon he wrote me a very complimentary note characterizing the report as one that was “truthful and manly”. I think General Bragg found his report upon exaggerated statements of some partial friends of mine and hence attributed to me more than I deserve. I allude to it here because both Bragg's and Breckinridge's statements may become matters of controversy and dispute hereafter (20).
After the Battle of Murfreesboro. During the illness and absence of Major General Withers. I was in command of the division for over a month. In the meantime, Brigadier General Chalmers, who commanded a brigade of Mississippians in the division, was transferred to the cavalry service in Mississippi and upon Wither’s resuming command of the division, I was assigned permanently to the command of Chalmers’ Brigade, which I exercised without interruption while the army was at Shelbyville, Tenn., and during the retreat from that place to Chattanooga in June - July 1863.
In July 1863, I was sent with my brigade to hold the Tennessee River at Bridgeport and vicinity while the balance of the army was at Chattanooga and above there on the river. This duty was performed to the entire satisfaction of General Bragg. In August, Withers was transferred to duty in Alabama, and Hindman was assigned to the command of the division. Shortly before evacuating Chattanooga, my brigade was withdrawn from Bridgeport by order of General Bragg and rejoined the division in the neighborhood of Chattanooga.
I commanded the division in the Macklemore's Cove expedition in September - for which Hindman, who commanded the whole expedition, has received much censure. He certainly missed capturing eight or ten thousand of the enemy, which would have left the balance of Rosecrans Army at Bragg's mercy. Soon after this, or rather while in Macklemore's Cove, Hindman was taken sick and the command of the division again devolved upon me.
On the night of the 19th of September, after the division had crossed the Chickamauga Creek, and while it was getting in position for the next day's fight, Hindman resumed command and continued in command of the division until the close of the battle after dark on the night of the 20th, so I commanded my brigade in the Battle of Chickamauga.
In the advance to Missionary Ridge, begun on the 21st, I was in command of the division. Soon after reaching Missionary Ridge, Hindman was placed in arrest by General Bragg, and the command of the division devolved upon me. I commanded it at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, but on that morning protested against the disposition which had been made of the troops, (See my official report), which was the worst I have ever seen. The line was in two ranks. The front rank at the foot of the hill and the rear rank at the top! And the men were over three feet apart in line! Thus, the front rank was not strong enough to hold its position, nor could it retire to the top of the ridge so as to be of any service there. The consequence was that the troops made no fight at all, but broke and ran as soon as the enemy's overwhelming column advanced. About the 1st of December. Hindman was released from arrest and assumed command of the Corps as senior Major General and remained in command of the Division.
In February, 1864, Major General Breckenridge, having been transferred to a command in southwestern Virginia, I was on the 9th day of February, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate a Major General in the Provisional Army and assigned to the command of Breckinridge’s Division in the Army of Tennessee. Before receiving these orders, however, I received a dispatch from the President ordering me to Florida to assume command of that district. The Army of Tennessee was at this time at Dalton, Georgia, under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston.
I reached Florida on the 1st of March 1864, ten days after the Battle of Olustee and assumed command of the district with headquarters in the field in front of Jacksonville. Remained there operating against the enemy at Jacksonville and on the St Johns River all summer or until I was ordered back to the Army of Tennessee. We were able to confine the enemy closely to their entrenchments around Jacksonville, and by blowing up to their armed transports above Jacksonville and one below put a complete stop to the navigation of the river above the city and caused them to evacuate Palatka, and to use the river below Jacksonville with the greatest caution.
On the night of the 25th of July, 1864, I received a telegram from General Bragg at Columbus, Georgia, directing me to report to General Hood in Atlanta without delay for duty in the field. I started to Atlanta on the morning of the 26th of July and reached there on the night of the 28th. On the 29th, I was assigned to, and on the 30th assumed command of my old division composed of Deas’, Brantley’s, Sharp’s, and Manigault’s brigades. I remain in command of these brigades until the evening of the 31st of August when I was seriously wounded in the battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, which compelled me to leave the field and has resulted in my absence from the army up to the present time.
There are many incidents connected by experience which would be interesting to my children if I had time to record them, but I have not. I have hurriedly written some of the prominent facts for their edification hereafter.
This is a dark day in the history of the present war, but I believe a brighter day will soon dawn upon us if dissension and faction does not distract us, we will certainly achieve our independence. The course of some prominent men in Georgia just at this time, is much calculated to grieve the spirit of all true Southerners.(21) It is to be hoped that they will desist from their factious teachings and practices and soon unite with the patriots of the land to prosecute with unanimity and vigor the war which our enemies are determined to wage against us.
Patton Anderson Monticello, Florida, February 28th, 1865
*Margaret Uhler is an instructor of English, at Georgia College. She is the great-granddaughter of Major General James Patton Anderson.
1. James Patton Anderson Papers including his autobiography Boxes Number 64 and 64. A K a branch Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville. Margaret Anderson Older Civil War Letters of Major General James Patton Anderson, Florida. Historical Quarterly, 56th October 1977 one 5085. 2. Etta Anderson to Mr. Earle, Palatka, Florida. April 11, 1889, James Patton Anderson Papers. 3. Ibid 4. Ibid.; Brigadier General William Haines Lytle of Cincinnati, Ohio, 10th Ohio Infantry Reginald C. McGrane in Dictionary of American Biography 21 vols. (New York, 1933) XI, 538 5. Anderson to Earle. Palatka, Florida April 11, 1889, James Patton Anderson Papers. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Anderson’s parole in possession of author. 9. Gerald Shofner History of Jefferson County (Tallahassee 1976) 269 10. Margaret Uhler, “ Florida White, Southern Belle” Florida Historical Quarterly 55, (January 1977) 209- 309. 11. Agreement between Ellen A, Beatty, and James Patton Anderson. January 7, 1856, and Ellen Beatty to James Patton Anderson, January 12, 1856. Agreement of Sale, Ellen A. Beatty, and Robert W. Williams, January 10, 1860. And Agreement between James Patton Anderson and A. G. A. Godwin, February 28, 1860. James Patton Anderson Papers; Clifton Paisley, From Cotton to Quail an Agricultural Chronicle of Leon County, Florida 1860 1967. (Tallahassee 1968) 20 12. Etta. Anderson to Earle, Palatka, Florida. April 11, 1889. James Anderson Papers. 13. Possibly Colonel George Croghan Fort Harrison on the Wabash River, was attacked by the Indian leader, Tecumseh. Though the attack was repulsed, the Indians burned a large part of the fort. Reginald Horseman War of 1812. (New York 1869) 82 14. John Adair was the Governor of Kentucky. 1820-1824. James Barnett. Adair, Adair History and Genealogy (Los Angeles 19 24) 68. 15. Eliza Adair was the third daughter of Governor Adair. 16. The compromise of 1850 provided that California would come into the Union as a free state. That the remainder of the Mexican cession would be organized as territories without restrictions by Congress allowing popular sovereignty to rule; that the slave trade would be abolished in Washington, D.C., and that a more effective fugitive slave law would be passed. 17. John Adair, son of Governor Adair, was customs Inspector for Astoria, Oregon, 1848-1860 18. Governor Madison Starke. Perry, 19. Captain A. P. Amaker, First Regiment Rifles U.S. War Department. War of the Rebellion, A compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 53 vols. (Washington, D.C. 1890 1901) Series I, XIV, 512. 20. Mrs. Anderson, added a note in the handwritten copy of the autobiography. “I was up at the Army when this discussion was going on…. The note General refers to - I was in the room when General Breckinridge returned in my husband's report with this note. General A. threw it into my lap saying “You will value that” - and I did. But it was burned two years after the war with most of his official correspondence in his private desk at St. Mark's, Fla. in a warehouse…. General Breckinridge would not send in his report until he had seen General A’s. They were intimate friends and distant relations. There is no use talking - General Breckinridge was drunk at the battle and General Bragg would not stand drinking in any of his officers.” 21. Mrs. Anderson added another comment in her copy of the autobiography: “Toombs and Governor Brown…. I would have been glad to have known they were hung” Governor Joseph Brown and Robert Toombs of Georgia were leaders of opposition to the Confederate policy of President Jefferson Davis. Frequently referred to as “anarchists,” Brown, Toombs, and other prominent Georgians opposed such policies as military conscription and exemptions, the appointment of general officers and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and food impressment. See also, James C. Bonner, The Georgia Story (Oklahoma City, 1950) 302.
And 2nd, I was engaged to be married to my cousin Henrietta Buford Adair, and I doubted the policy of taking her into such a wild and new country with no other help or dependence for a support than my own exertions. I returned to Memphis, where she was, consulted her, and we agreed to try our fortune on this unknown sea. Her father gave her $800, and by borrowing $600 from Stephen D. Johnston of DeSoto County, I raised the same amount. We were married in Memphis on the 30th of April, 1853, and in an hour afterward were on our way to the Pacific coast aboard a steamer bound for New Orleans. We embarked at New Orleans on the 7th of May, on board a steamer bound for Greytown in Nicaragua. The first day at sea, my wife was taken very ill of fever for several days. Her life seemed to besuspended by a thread. Those were the most anxious days of my life. Happily, she was better by the time we reached Greytown taking a small river steamer. There we commenced the ascent of the San Juan River. After several days of toil, we reached Virgin Bay, only to learn that the steamer from San Francisco, on which we had expected to reach that city on her
“WHEREVER THE FIGHT IS THICKEST”; GENERAL JAMES PATTON ANDERSON OF FLORIDA by Larry Rayburn
Larry Rayburn is a graduate of the University of Florida. This article is a revision of his senior thesis in Southern history
On the night of October 8, 1861, in the harbor of Pensacola Bay, long columns of gray-clad soldiers marched slowly aboard steamers moored by the dock. Officers whispered orders and enlisted men spoke in hushed tones. Aside from their voices, only the rattle of canteens and the lapping of water against the steamers broke the silence of the autumn darkness.
General Braxton Bragg, Confederate commander at Pensacola, had dispatched this expedition in response to increased Union activity in the area. His orders to the commander of this expedition, General R H. Anderson, were to destroy the enemy encampment on Santa Rosa Island. Anderson, a former West Pointer, divided his force of slightly more than 1,000 men into three battalions. (1) Although none of his battalion commanders were professional soldiers, they were about to participate in their first military engagement. However, one of these men, Colonel James Patton Anderson, had come into service with a variety of experiences that had prepared him for the leadership role he was about to assume.
Born on February 16th, 1822, in Winchester, Tennessee, James Patton Anderson was one of the seven children of Colonel William Preston Anderson, a veteran of the War of 1812. He spent his early years on the family farm and when his father died in 1831, he moved with his mother to his grandfather's place in Kentucky. He attended a private school in Frankfort, and then in 1836, his stepfather, Dr. Joseph Bybee, a local physician, sent him to Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, before he finished his education, family financial problems forced him to withdraw from school. (2)
Returning home, Anderson worked for his stepfather at a variety of jobs, including driving him on his medical rounds. Anderson learned something about the medical profession himself, and this probably contributed to the belief that he was a physician. (3)
Dr. Bybee decided to move his family to Hernando, Mississippi, in 1839, and there his financial situation improved enough to allow him to send his stepson back to Jefferson College. After graduation, Anderson returned home to study law in a local attorney's office. At the age of 21. He was admitted to the bar. Anderson began his career in public service by serving as deputy sheriff of DeSoto County, Mississippi, and by serving as a colonel in the county's militia regiment. (4) When the Mexican war broke out, Anderson expected to be called into service, but the state's military quotas were filled rapidly and he had to wait until late 1847 when his state issued a call for more troops. Anderson was authorized to raise a company, but he never saw combat, spending the remainder of the war in camp at Tampico. (5) Suffering from malaria. Anderson was mustered out and discharged in July 1848.
He resumed his law practice and entered politics as an advocate of States rights. He would soon become an ardent secessionist. (6) He was elected to the Mississippi legislature in 1850 but was defeated in the next election. (7) Anderson's health continued to deteriorate and his doctors urged him to seek a colder, drier climate. With the help of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. Anderson received an appointment as United States marshal to the Washington territory.
Before leaving on his assignment. Anderson married his first cousin, Henrietta Buford Adair of Memphis on April 30th, 1853. (8)
Upon their arrival in the West, Anderson set up rough housekeeping and Anderson began his official duties, which included the taking of a territorial census. He traveled throughout the territory on foot and by canoe, usually in the company of Indian guides. This outdoor activity quickly restored Anderson’s health much to the relief of Etta, who accompanied him on many of his journeys. The young couple loved the open prairie in the territory and made a successful adjustment to rugged frontier conditions. (9)
After two years in Washington, Anderson was elected territorial delegate to Congress. While he served in the Capitol, Ada lived with her aunt, Mrs. Ellen Adair White Beatty who owned a large plantation near Monticello, Florida. (10)
In Washington, Anderson became caught up in the throes of heated political controversy that were rising between the North and the South. He was alarmed by the growing strength of the abolitionist Republican Party and was fearful of what might happen if it came to power in 1860. Anderson had decided he had to return to the South in 1857. He turned down an invitation to become territorial governor of Washington and entered into an agreement with Mrs. Beatty to manage her Florida plantation. Anderson prospered as a sugar and cotton planter. The family also increased, and by 1861, there were three sons, William Preston, Theophilus Beatty, and James Patton Jr. (11)
As the war clouds which Anderson had so feared, began to gather following the presidential election of 1860, Florida Governor Madison Starke Perry called a convention to meet in Tallahassee in January 1861 to consider seceding from the Union. Although Anderson was a newcomer to Florida, he had already become an influential person in the state by virtue of his political experience and economic position. Consequently, he was elected convention delegate from Jefferson County as an avowed supporter of secession. While the convention was still in session in Tallahassee, the governor ordered the seizure of all federal forts and arsenals within the state and the formation of two volunteer companies, including one from Jefferson County. Anderson was named Captain of his company, but his orders to proceed to Pensacola were countermanded when the governor appointed him one of three delegates to represent Florida at the General Convention in Mont-gomery to create a new Confederate government. (13) Anderson immediately made his presence felt there as one of the most active members. He served on the Committee on Military Affairs, recommending the raising of troops and the use of slaves to serve as cooks and teamsters. This, he reasoned, would free more white men for military service. (14)
When the work of the convention was complete, Anderson returned to Monticello, where he found orders from Governor Perry, directing him to reassemble his company for duty in Pensacola. So anxious was Anderson for military service that he declined to serve in the Confederate Congress. (15)
The various state military companies rendezvoused at the Chattahoochee Arsenal and on April 5, 1861, they were mustered into Confederate service as the First Florida Infantry. Anderson was unanimously elected colonel. The troops boarded river boats and were traveling via Columbus, Georgia, to Pensacola as the opening shots of the war were being fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. (16) General Braxton Bragg, department commander, ordered the new troops into camps of instruction.
Both Confederate and Federals at Pensacola received reinforcements, but there was no significant action until late summer. On September 2, a federal raiding party burned the dry docks anchored near the Navy Yard. Twelve days later, a larger force made another assault on the yard. The party boarded and burned the Confederate steamer Judah and escaped with small losses. (17) Bragg responded to this increased federal activity by organizing an assault on Santa Rosa Island, and this brought Colonel Anderson and his men into action for the first time.
Shortly after midnight on October 9, 1861, the Confederates landed on Santa Rosa at a point about four miles east of Fort Pickens. The Southern Force was divided into three columns, and Anderson was ordered to move his forces along the beach south toward the enemy camps. The March through the Palmettos and sand was not easy, but the Confederates were ready to launch their assault around 3 a.m. Overrunning Colonel Billy Wilson’s Zouaves, the Confederates drove back a force of regular infantry that had moved up as reinforcements. Despite the successes, the Southerners lacked organization, and shortly before dawn, they were ordered to withdraw. (18) Both sides claimed a victory, but the chief advantage was probably the battlefield experience gained by all the participants.
After this action, the opposing forces settled down again to the rather mundane routine of drill, parade, and strengthening defenses. On the morning of November 22, Fort Pickens opened fire on the Confederate position. The Southern troops replied, but the Union fire caused serious damage to Fort Barrancas and McRee. The Union bombardment continued the following day and many private buildings were set afire. (19) In January 1862, the Union forces bombarded the Confederate positions again and the Southerners returned fire, but only briefly in an effort to conserve their ammunition. (20) On February 12, 1862, James Patton Anderson was promoted to Brigadier General and Bragg placed him in command of R. H. Anderson's brigade. (21)
In early March 1862, Bragg and his 10,000 man army joined General Albert Sidney Johnston in northern Mississippi. Anderson's brigade remained in Bragg’s camp as part of General Daniel Ruggles Division. The Confederates, over 40,000 strong, left Corinth, Mississippi on April 30, but rain mired the roads and the march became both miserable and difficult. The attack on General Ulysses Grant's forces, originally planned for April 5th, was postponed until the following day. Anderson reached his assigned position as a reserve brigade late on the afternoon of April 5. The rain had stopped, and according to Anderson, “the night was clear. The air cool and bracing.”(22) The Confederate Forward movement began at 5:30 a.m. when General William J. Hardee led the first wave against the Union. right. Bragg’s Corps was deployed about 1,000 yards to the rear of Hardee. Anderson slowly moved his men forward over the rough terrain toward the enemy position. He closed to within 300 yards of Hardee's line but halted until the proper interval could be regained. Fierce rifle fire reverberated through the woods and Bragg ordered the advance to resume. Despite Anderson's efforts and those of the other commanders, the Southern movements were uneven and uncoordinated. Rough ground separated the men, and there were wide gaps between the brigades. Anderson led his force against the first Union camp without support and was forced to halt his men temporarily when he realized this dilemma. When two other brigades appeared, he swept forward again. A swamp lay between Anderson and the Union force; surrounding the swamp were dense thickets which made it difficult to maintain formation. Ignoring these obstacles, Anderson pushed into the swamp with Russell's brigade supporting his right in the deep, nearly impassable swamp. Many men lost their way and Anderson’s command emerged badly scattered. Before the order could be restored, a Union battery opened fire and Anderson was driven back. (23) Reforming his men, Anderson renewed his advance now with reinforcements on his right. The federals slowly moved back and Anderson and his men pushed through the enemy's camp. (24)
Anderson continued to assault the Union's, right. Troops to his right wavered as if they might fall back. but realizing the danger, Anderson began waving his hat so his troops would easily see him as he rode across the front line. “This gesture seemed well understood.” He said, and the command ‘Forward’ which it implied was most gallantly executed.”(23) The Confederate surged ahead, and Anderson's force overwhelmed the battery. He then reeled his brigade to the right and captured another portion of the Union line in flank. (24)
Anderson withdrew from the front around noon as the fire around him slackened and the Union right retreated toward Pittsburg landing. He wanted to rest his men and replenish his ammunition, but as he was withdrawing, he received orders from Bragg to “go wherever the fight is thickest.” Anderson. accordingly marched his force to the right, where Union soldiers held out against a succession of Confederate assaults in what became known as the “Hornet's nest.”
Throughout the long afternoon, Anderson participated in a series of bloody assaults on this position. After an unsuccessful brigade assault around 3:30, he called for military support. General Ruggles was already massing eleven batteries to blast the Union position. The guns thundered and infantry assaults followed. The Federals crumbled under this pressure and the exhausted but triumphant Southerners rounded up prisoners and guns. The first day's fighting ended with the Union Army huddled around Pittsburg landing and the badly disorganized Confederates, now led by General Beauregard, Johnston, having been killed earlier in the day, in command of the field.
Anderson made a bivouac near Bragg’s headquarters and spent most of the rainy night rounding up stragglers and reorganizing his brigade. He ate with his men and slept under an apple tree with his saddle for a pillow and a blanket over his head. (28) During the night, thousands of Union reinforcements arrived and Grant decided to attack in the morning. Soon after dawn, Anderson and the other brigadiers moved their commands to the front to meet the Federal counterattack. The Confederates stubbornly contested their hard-won ground, and the Union advance was cautious. As the Confederate right weakened, Anderson was sent to strengthen it. There he observed that Federal artillery was playing havoc with the exposed to Southern infantry. He wanted to charge the battery and silence it but could get no support from nearby troops. Angrily, he withdrew his own men over a small hill to protect them somewhat from the destructive fire. While thus sheltered, he rallied scattered fragments from other commands to meet the impending Union advance. When the Federals cleared the crest of the hill over which he had withdrawn, Anderson's men inflicted heavy casualties and the Union advance was temporarily checked. (29) As the afternoon wore on, the Federals continued to push the weary Southerners back. The tide of battle turned against the Confederates, and Anderson noted that large numbers of stragglers could now be seen in all directions, making their way to the rear.”30) The men were exhausted, disorganized, and nearly out of ammunition. About 5:30 p.m., Beauregard ordered a withdrawal. Anderson's men joined the march down the muddy road to Corinth. The route was crowded by long lines of wagons filled with wounded soldiers and as the army marched, a torrential rain added to and misery of the men.
Anderson restored his brigade as quickly as he could to fighting trim. Although he had displayed rashness at times, he had distinguished himself by his performance at Shiloh. He emerged, along with several other officers, as a promising brigadier. The Federals, having been reinforced, soon advanced on Corinth. The Confederates were outnumbered and remained on the defensive, waiting for an opportunity to strike exposed enemy columns. Two such opportunities arose near the village of Farmington, and Anderson participated in both engagements. Each time he advanced and drove the enemy in his front but on both occasions, General Van Dorn failed to support these attacks and the Confederates were unable to exploit their advantage. (32)
Faced with a large sick list and the prospect of a formal siege, Beauregard abandoned Corinth and marched to Tupelo. During these operations, Anderson commanded the Ruggles Division until Major General Sam Jones was formally named division commander. (33) Anderson resumed brigade command, but this was the first of several times he would be called upon to serve as a temporary division commander. At Tupelo. Bragg replaced Beauregard as army commander and made preparations for a new campaign.
During the summer months of 1862, Anderson's wife and children came from Florida to visit. They lived in camp with him, and they spent many pleasant days together. Etta shared news from home and her husband and the boys enjoyed the excitement, which naturally accompanied life in an army camp. (34) This peaceful interlude ended when Bragg ordered the army to Chattanooga in response to a Federal advance, which threatened that vital communications center. Anderson bid farewell to Etta and the boys and departed with the army.
The Confederates reached Chattanooga near the end of July 1862, and Bragg decided to join forces with Kirby Smith and invade Kentucky. When the Army moved out, Bragg left Sam Jones in command at Chattanooga, and Anderson once again commanded the division. His troops along with the division of Simon Buckner, comprised of Hardee's corps. The Confederates met with great initial success in the Kentucky campaign, defeating Federal forces at Richmond and Munfordville and seizing the state capital of Frankfort. Louisville lay open to capture, but with scattered Confederates allowed the Federals to sidestep them into that city. After receiving reinforcements, Union General Buell marched from Louisville on October 1st, anxious to give battle in the vicinity of Bardstown.
At this time, a crisis in the Confederate High Command occurred, which directly involved Patton Anderson. Bragg was at Frankfort preparing to inaugurate a Confederate governor. Buell sent one of his columns toward that point as a feint to draw attention from his primary thrust against Bardstown. Polk held that town with a portion of the Confederate army. Bragg, expecting an imminent attack, ordered Polk to march on Frankfort and to attack Buell in flank. Polk felt himself too closely pressed to comply with the order, and he called a Council of War to discuss the situation. He wanted to disregard Bragg's order, but Anderson was reluctant to do so. Anderson later wrote that the “order just read did not seem to admit any of any course other than that of weak compliance.” He argued that failure to comply with Bragg could be disastrous since it would upset his plan. Anderson also noted that the council did not know how serious Bragg's situation was. Nevertheless, Polk eventually decided to disobey the order and he finally convinced Anderson to go along with the majority view. (35)
Bragg confused as to Buell's intentions, kept his army badly scattered, and on October 7, Hardee's Corps reached Perryville, closely pursued by the vanguard of Buell's army. Bragg ordered reinforcements to Perryville, and on the morning of October 8, after heavy skirmishing began, he arrived on the scene. General Benjamin Cheatham was ordered to assail the Union left while Hardee, with Buckner and two of Anderson's brigades, attacked the center. Anderson protected the Army's left with the remainder of his division. In the early afternoon, the attack began as the Confederates smashed into the Union left and Center. Anderson conducted himself as an aggressive flank guard by advancing and occupying the Federals in his front for the balance of the afternoon. Near sundown, the Union troops massed on Anderson's front, outflanked his brigades, and forced him to withdraw to Perryville. There, with the aid of reinforcements, Anderson secured the army's flank. (37) Despite the tactical advantage gained at Perryville, the Confederates retired to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and on October 13, Bragg ordered a withdrawal from the state.
The march back to Tennessee, proved uneventful for Anderson until he reached Franklin County. There, he visited the grave of his father at Craggy Hope, the old family farm. After spending a pleasant few days near his birthplace, Anderson marched into camp near Eagleville, where his division was broken up to strengthen other units. He took command of one of General Jones Withers's brigades. (38)
The Confederates now positioned northwest of Murfreesboro, watched the Federal forces in Nashville and remained in this position during November and December 1862. The day after Christmas, General William Rosecrans moved out of Nashville in the direction of Murfreesboro. Bragg covered the roads northwest of town and prepared for battle. The terrain was not too well suited to infantry movements. The ground was rough and uneven and strewn with large boulders, while dense Cedar glades presented difficult obstacles. (39)
Anderson moved his brigade to its assigned position, but on December 27, he received orders to take command of General E. C. Walthall’s brigade, that officer having fallen sick. The men of this brigade, many of whom had served under Anderson at Shiloh, had petitioned their superiors requesting that Anderson take over. (40) His new brigade was in line next to his old one near the Wilkinson Turnpike. Heavy skirmishing began as the Union Army approached, even though the weather was cold, rainy, and miserable. Bragg ordered an attack for the early morning of December 31.
The fighting began shortly before dawn. Anderson heard the rising volume of fire on the left, and around 9 a.m., he received orders to advance. Riding to the front of his brigade, he led his men forward along with the rest of Wither’s division. The Union line was well-posted and amply supported by artillery. Anderson was instructed to take the batteries in his front. Withers later wrote: “ No brigade occupied a more critical position, nor were the movements of any invested with more consequence. (41)
The brigade had to cross an old cotton field in order to reach the Union position. This advance across open ground proved very costly and the Union troops threw back Anderson's men time and time again. He called for support from an additional brigade and renewed the assault. The two brigades pushed vigorously forward and this time swept over the Union batteries and drove off their supporting infantry.
After this initial success, Anderson, still supported by A.P. Stewart's brigade, pursued the retiring Federals and struck their second line. This line also gave way and the Federals moved through a Cedar grove with the Confederates hard on their heels. The Southerner’s lines were now almost at right angles to the original lines of battle. Anderson pursued the enemy cautiously through the trees as his brigade had suffered heavy casualties and he was almost out of ammunition. Worried at the prospect of continuing battle with such a battered command, Anderson requested permission to withdraw from the line. In the late afternoon, he was permitted to retire with his men. (42) At the end of that winter day the Confederates appear to have won a complete victory. Bragg expected Rosecrans to retire during the night, but he did not. No significant fighting occurred on New Year's Day, however, and Anderson was not engaged.
On January 2, 1863, Bragg ordered General J. C. Breckinridge to attack an elevated Union position that threatened Polk's right flank. When Breckinridge advanced his division unsupported across open ground, the result was a complete repulse. At about 4:00 p.m., Anderson received orders to cross Stones River and support Breckinridge. After crossing the river, he pushed his men forward and found Breckinridge's Brigade retreating as he reached the field. He threw forward a line of skirmishers to halt any Federal advance and maintained his position throughout the night. He reported to Bragg that the lines on his side of the river were too thin and were fronted by the enemy. Despite this situation, the Federals did not attack. The Southerners' position remained perilous, though, and after meeting with his corps, commander, Bragg decided that the army was too weakened to continue fighting. (43) After remaining in position throughout the bleak, rainy day of January 3, Anderson received orders to withdraw in the direction of Shelbyville.
When the troops were safely encamped, Anderson telegraphed Ada to tell her he was safe. He followed this with a letter some days later telling her that he was very pleased with the achievements of his brigade. “They behaved most gallantly, as Mississippians have always done in this war.” He told her that the results of Murfreesboro were being squandered by their withdrawal and that as a result, Bragg was even more unpopular than before. The general deplored his separation from his family. “I don't know when I can get home….. I do want to see you and the boys so badly. Kiss them all a thousand times for me. “(44)
In the aftermath of Murfreesboro, Bragg praised the Florida brigadier for the manner in which he had interposed his men between the Federals and Breckinridge. On January 2, Bragg and other friends credited Anderson with saving the army from disaster. But he replied, saying “General Bragg founded his report upon some exaggerated statements of impartial friends of mine and has attributed to me more than I deserve.”(45)
The Army settled into winter quarters around Shelbyville and Wartrace and remained there for six months. Anderson assumed command of Withers’s division when the latter left on a month-long sick leave. Bragg indicated that the position would be permanent, but Anderson expressed doubt of this in a letter to Etta, pointing out that there were already enough Major Generals in the Army. (47) Nonetheless, he spent much time drilling with his division and boasted to Etta that he had the best division in the army. When Withers returned to the army in March 1863, Anderson received and accepted for a second time a request from rank-and-file soldiers that he command them. (48) This request came from the men of Chalmers Brigade following the transfer of that officer to another department.
During this extended encampment, Bragg quarreled with Polk, Hardee, Breckinridge, and many of the lesser generals and army over the outcome of the Kentucky and Murfreesboro campaigns. These personal recommendations placed men like Patton Anderson in a ticklish position. Bragg was not only his commander but his friend at the same time. Anderson felt a professional loyalty to his corps commander Polk. When reflection of Polk's disobedience in Kentucky arose, Anderson reminded Bragg that he had been opposed to the disobedience, but admitted that the council had agreed to disregard the order. He sent copies of his correspondence with Bragg to Polk and met with the Bishop general to compare recollections of the council. Anderson's only other activity during these command controversies was to sit as a member of the court-martial, which convicted General John McCown of misconduct at Murfreesboro.
While engaged in these various activities, Anderson made arrangements for Etta and the boys to come up from Florida to join him in camp. They left Monticello by train and traveled to Savannah and from there by buggy to Tennessee. Once again, the family lived in tents with the general. They saw many of the other officer’s wives and children and attended the parties and reviews staged by the various army corps. The boys, often dressed in Confederate uniforms that had been cut down to their size, and their father instructed them in the manual of arms outside their tent. Anderson remained hopeful that a peace agreement could be reached, but he continued steadfast in his belief in the Southern cause. (50)
This peaceful interlude ended in June 1863, when General Rosecrans moved out of Murfreesboro and advanced on the Army of Tennessee. The Confederates were flanked out of their positions, and they fell back to Chattanooga, where they prepared to resist an attack. None was forthcoming, and the summer passed without a major engagement. When General D.H. Hill wondered at the long intervals between battles in the west, Anderson airily replied, “Oh, we out here have to go for a while before we use our spurs.”(51)
Vicksburg fell while the Confederates huddled around Chattanooga, and some of Anderson’s staff recalled an incident dating back to his service in Washington territory. Once when Anderson was in the field taking a census, he met some soldiers who told him that their commander, Captain Ulysses Grant, had disappeared during the night. Anderson And his Indian guides joined in the search and they soon located the captain who was suffering from delirium tremens and had stumbled to the edge of a steep cliff. Anderson climbed down to the edge of the precipice and rescued Grant from certain death. Anderson received much jesting from his staff, who delighted in telling the story in camp. (52)
At this stage of the campaign, Anderson was ordered to guard the river crossing near Bridgeport, Alabama. He discharged these duties to Bragg's satisfaction, but the Confederates failed adequately to cover all the western approaches. When Rosecrans divided his army and undertook a wide sweep through Georgia, he completely turned Bragg's left flank and forced the evacuation of Chattanooga. Bragg concentrated his forces in the rough wooded terrain between Dalton and Chattanooga as reinforcement arrived from other departments.
As these new troops arrived, Bragg sought to strike the divided Federal army, he ordered General Thomas Hindman, now commanding Wither’s division, to attack in the vicinity of McClemore's Cove. Hindman was strengthened by other units and Anderson took command of the division. Bragg ordered a daylight attack with D.H. Hill joining in to ensure success. Both Hindman and Hill procrastinated and never actually advanced against the enemy during two days of frustrating inactivity. The Union troops in the cove discovered their peril and hastily withdrew as Anderson advanced in a fruitless attempt to cut off the retreating Federals. Bragg was furious at these failures, and Anderson admitted later that a great opportunity had been lost. (54)
After several more days of maneuvering in which Anderson again commanded Hindman's division due to the latter's illness, Bragg decided to attack Rosecrans, now united army, along the banks of the Chickamauga Creek. Knowing the battle was imminent, Anderson ordered his family to leave the army and arranged for them to stay in Marietta. The action began on the morning of September 19 and the action surged back and forth through the damp creek bottom thickets around Chickamauga Creek. Neither side was able to gain a decisive advantage. Anderson led the division, but was not engaged. That night, Hindman returned to the field and the division moved to the west bank of the creek, where it joined the rest of the army's left wing.
Late on the morning of September 20, the attack continued and General James Longstreet threw his left wing divisions into action shortly after Polk became heavily engaged. The assaults through the dense thicket proved devastating as Longstreet's men smashed through a gap in the Union right and swept all before them. Anderson's brigade played a decisive role in this advance. He burst through the thicket with his men and drove the Federals from their breastworks. (57) As Anderson led his men across the shell-torn field, he spotted the body of a Union general. Upon inquiry, he discovered that it was General William H. Lytle, an old friend whom he had associated before the war at the Democratic Convention of 1860. More recently, he had palayed with Lytle while on Picket near Bridgeport. Deeply saddened, Anderson ordered the body removed from the field. Later, he tried unsuccessfully to secure some of Lytle's personal effects for his family. (58)
Putting this incident aside. Anderson led his men onward. Only Union General Thomas, on the left, remained in position. Anderson wheeled his brigade to the right and joined in the assault on Thomas. Scattered over the field to the front and rear of Anderson were the shattered remnants of two Federal divisions. Anderson had captured two batteries, several stands of colors and scores of prisoners.
The Confederates spent the remainder of that bloody afternoon trying to drive Thomas from his position on Snodgrass Hill, but their assaults were repulsed until nightfall. During the night, Hindman, who had been wounded again, turned the division over to Anderson. The door lay open for the recapture of Chattanooga, but Bragg delayed his pursuit and the army settled down to a formal siege. While the adversaries glared at one another over the entrenchments, Bragg relieved Polk for failing to attack promptly on September 20 and Hindman for his reluctance to move forward at McCcklemore's coves. Anderson, as before, was placed in a peculiar position. He revealed his attitude in a letter to Etta, saying that he would not assign any guilt to Hindman beforehand and that he was content to await the development of the trial. As to Polk's predicament; in his case, too, we must wait for the truth. I like General P. personally very much - and am inclined to think that Lt. Gen. Hill is the true party to blame for the delay…..”(59) In the aftermath of this quarrel, Bragg replaced Polk with Hardee and Buckner and Hill were transferred. Hindman remained under arrest, and Anderson continued to lead the division. He informed Etta that he was hopeful that there would be no fight at Chattanooga; He confidently declared “that the troops were never in better fighting trim - spirits. Excellent.”(60) He hoped he might be able to see his family again before they left Georgia to return to Florida. He was particularly anxious about their welfare as was pregnant with their fourth child. Despite Anderson's hope for no fighting, the Union army received significant reinforcements and prepared to attack. From his position on Missionary Ridge, Anderson watched the Union troops with concern.
Though battle threatened daily., he arranged for his family to visit him the night before they left for Florida. He took them for a ride along Missionary Ridge, pointing out the lines of battle. Later, he found a place where the boys could play safely while he and Etta talked. Mother and children spent the night in camp with the general, and the next day he escorted them to the railroad. Just as they were preparing to leave, firing began on the front and Anderson hastily bid them goodbye and hurried to join his men. (61)
That day, the Union Army seized Orchard Knob, a strong point in Anderson's front. The following day, the Federals stormed Lookout Mountain and Anderson was concerned over the disposition of his troops in the face of several successes. In addition to advanced rifle pits. Bragg had divided the troops on Missionary Ridge into two lines to correspond with the levels of the ridge, one near the base and another near the crest. The men were spaced more than three feet apart and neither line was, alone, strong enough to resist a vigorous assault. On November 25th, Anderson protested these dispositions, calling them “The worst I have ever seen.”62 Nonetheless, the Confederates remained in position.
The Federals soon opened their final assault on the Confederate right flank and at 3:30 p.m., the Union center advanced against Missionary Ridge. The Confederate artillery took a heavy toll, but the Federals could not be stopped and Anderson's worst fears were confirmed. The thin Confederate line snapped and by the time the Federals reached the crest, Anderson's division was badly broken. He fought to stem the rout, but nothing could halt the soldier’s headlong flight. Soon, the entire Confederate center was routed and they were driven from the ridge in great disorder. This marked the low point in Anderson's military career. He managed, however, to rally his men and put them in motion for Dalton, Georgia, which they reached on November 28. On that cold and rainy autumn day. Bragg resigned his command and left the army.
The Army of Tennessee settled down to winter quarters and the officers worked to rebuild the army. Anderson was mortified by the conduct of his troops at Missionary Ridge, but no one attached any blame for the disaster to him. He and the rest of the forces took heart from the news that General Joseph Johnston had been given command of the army. Johnston improved the army's morale and the ranks increased their strength. Anderson looked forward to the time when he could avenge the defeat of Missionary Ridge.
It was during this encampment that General Patrick R. Cleburne proposed that blacks be enlisted in the army to fight and be freed at the war's end as a reward for service. Some of his brother officers were surprised, but most made little response. Anderson, however, was outraged. He termed the proposal a startling project, which was revolting to Southern honor, and he predicted that if the troops became aware of the plan, the “total disintegration of the army would follow within a fortnight.”(65) He believed strongly in the institution of slavery and could not understand why some people thought that blacks would be better off in anything but their servile condition. Cleburne’s proposal was quietly shelved, but the incident gives a revealing insight into Anderson's support for slavery.
In February 1864, Anderson finally received his promotion to Major General and was formally assigned to Breckenridge's old division. (66) He looked forward to leading that command to further glory, but events in Florida, his adopted state, soon changed his plans. The Federals invaded Florida in February 1864, hoping, among other things, to establish a loyal government. General Beauregard rushed troops to the state and the Confederates defeated the Union troops at the Battle of Olustee on February 20. Governor John Milton of Florida urged that some “competent officer rank…..” be sent to command in Florida.” Three days after Olustee, Anderson received orders to take command of the district of Florida. (67) He quickly departed to take up his new assignment.
Anderson inherited a complex military situation upon his arrival in Lake City on March 1. Florida had been stripped of troops very early in 1862 to aid other departments, and the Federals had seized control of many of the coastal areas. They also occupied most of the territory between the St. John's River and the Atlantic Ocean. Federal ships could land troops almost anywhere along the coastline with impunity. In addition, roving bands of deserters from both armies roamed the countryside, robbing the defenseless inhabitants.
When Anderson arrived at Camp Milton between Baldwin and Jacksonville on March 30, he met General Beauregard, who informed him that the Federals still held Jacksonville. Beauregard ordered him to give battle to the enemy only if they advanced. When Anderson formerly assumed command, Beauregard returned to Charleston. (68) The Confederate forces numbered approx-imately 8,000 men, divided into three infantry brigades, one Cavalry Brigade, and four artillery batteries.
Anderson immediately began completing fortifications along McGirt's Creek about twelve miles from Jacksonville. He ordered the impressment of 700 slaves to assist in constructing these works. Baldwin, a rail center located eight miles west of McGirt’s Creek, also was fortified. On March 10, the federals occupied Palatka and Anderson dispatched Company H. 2nd Florida Cavalry to that point to observe enemy movements. Company H was led by Captain J.J. Dickison, a skilled fighter who had built up a reputation in Florida as a guerrilla leader. Dickison skirmished frequently with the Union troops and reported their activities. (70)
Although he expected a removal of the Federal advance from Jacksonville any time, Anderson made plans to take the offensive. First, he cut off river traffic between Jacksonville and Palatka by placing a large number of torpedoes in the channel of the St. Johns River. (71) On April 1, a federal trans-port struck a torpedo and sank, and the following day Anderson set a portion of his force in motion for Palatka. But poor roads and inadequate rail transport delayed the advance and when scouts reported increased Federal activity around Jacksonville, he quickly recalled the expedition. (72)
On April 12th, the Federals abandoned Palatka and also began withdrawing troops from Jacksonville. They departed in a steady stream throughout April and May 1864. Consequently, Anderson received orders to send most of his troops back to General Beauregard. These developments left Anderson's Florida forces too small to contest any sizable Federal invasion from any point. Accordingly, he was ordered to defend only the interior areas of the state if they were threatened by enemy thrusts. (73) Places such as Tampa Bay and Apalachicola were left to fend for themselves despite the protests of Governor Milton.
Despite the reduction in forces, skirmishing, and other activities continue with the Confederates scoring a number of successes. On April 16h and again on May 9, two more Union transports struck torpedoes and sank. Pursuant to Anderson's orders to strike the enemy wherever possible, Captain Dickison captured Federal garrisons at Welaka and Saunders. This forced the dispatch of a relief expedition from Jacksonville to Volusia on May 21. The following day. Dickison’s men attacked and captured the gunboat Columbine.(74) Near Jacksonville, light skirmishing continued.
Union troops were not Anderson's sole worry during this period of department command. By 1864, whole sections of Florida, notably Taylor and Lafayette Counties, were virtually controlled by Confederate deserters and Union sympathizers. The Federal government supplied many of these bands as they raided plantations, carried off slaves, and generally terrorized the local population. Confederate sympathizers appealed to Anderson for protection from these outrages. Accordingly, he undertook a systematic and often merciless campaign against the deserter bands. Led by Colonel Henry Capers, the Confederates used bloodhounds and tracked deserters through dense swamps. Camps and homes were destroyed and at times a few prisoners were taken. The soldiers drove deserter’s families into Federal lines or sent them to refugee camps. (75)
The deserters in southwest Florida threatened the vital Confederate cattle herds, and Anderson sent Colonel Theodore Washington Brevard to Fort Meade to stamp out these deserters and to protect the cattle. Brevard was unable to fight the deserters in the open, and the expedition failed. (76) To make anti-guerrilla operations more effective, Anderson ordered the construction of shallow draft boats that could be used along the coastline to raid the deserter’s rendezvous points.
This vigorous activity against the brigands resulted in a clash between the military authorities. When Governor Milton learned that Colonel Capers had imprisoned several deserter’s families, he protested to Anderson, saying: “I cannot approve of a warfare on women and children.” None-theless, these people were held until shortly before Anderson's departure from Florida in July 1864. (77)
Another conflict arose over the seizure of property belonging to the Florida Railroad. The Confederate War Department ordered the impressment of railroad iron, spikes, and bolts to complete rail connections in North Florida. As a military necessity, Anderson issued a permit to Lieutenant J. M Fairbanks of the Confederate Engineers to tear up private tracks. The railroad owners and their political allies, including former United States Senator David Levy Yulee, who was president of the Cross State line, sought injunctive relief in state court. The court granted their request and ordered Fairbanks to cease his activity. Anderson then supplied Fairbanks with a military guard and pressed a locomotive for his use, and Fairbanks ignored the injunction. The Confederate military also ignored a subsequent summons for contempt and continued tearing up tracks despite a growing popular sympathy for the railroad, Anderson's support prevented the court from enforcing its decree and in June 1864, the case was dropped. (78)
Although Anderson was close to his Monticello home during this time, these months were not pleasant. Financial difficulties forced him to sell Casa Bianca and he was unable to purchase another home. His children were often ill and he worried about their health. (79) In May, he had assured Etta,” I have never applied to be sent away from Florida….. You know, my doctrine is not to apply for anything. (80) but in the summer, he solicited command of his own division. And on July 25, he was ordered to Georgia to replace the ailing General Hindman. (81)
Arriving in Atlanta on July 28th, he joined his troops near the battlefield at Ezra Church. His division was part of Stephen Lee’s Corps and held the position as the left flank of the army. From the time of Anderson's arrival and throughout the month of August, siege operations continued without letup.
In late August, Sherman moved to sever Atlanta’s southern rail connection at Jonesboro, and General John B. Hood, now commanding the Army of Tennessee, ordered Hardee to that point with his own and Lee's corps. The Federals arrived first and entrenched themselves. Hardee arrived later in the morning of August 31 and was hesitant to attack the strong Union position. Hood was adamant, however, and Hardee reluctantly deployed his troops. Anderson's division, now reduced to 2,000 men, formed the first line of Lee’s Corps.
Shortly after 2 p.m., heavy skirmishing began on Cleburne’s front, and Lee, mistaking this fire for the signal to attack, ordered an advance. His divisions were not supported, however, and they soon came under a galling fire. Anderson later moved to within pistol range of the Union breastworks, but the forward units wavered and he ordered up his reserve brigade. As the advance stalled and losses mounted, he rode along the division front, trying to inspire the men by personal example. The Federal troops passed and saluted him. Despite these efforts, the division's right began falling back and Anderson tried to rally these men. A bullet passed through his jaw, nearly severing his tongue, and he fell from his horse. (84) Seeing this happen, the soldiers retreated in disorder. The general was carried to the rear in dangerous conditions. He lost so much blood, the surgeons thought he was mortally wounded. Etta received news of her husband's plight by telegram and quickly traveled by buggy to Thomasville, Georgia, and from there by train to the front. (85) Anderson’s wounds proved serious but they were not fatal, and he and Etta were able to move around the Union army’s positions by going to Marietta. The general continued to improve a bit, And in late fall, he and Etta returned to Monticello. (86)
Anderson slowly recovered his strength, and he busied himself writing his battle reports, as well as a brief autobiographical sketch. He was growing restless, however, and he talked about the possibility of returning to active duty. Etta and the doctors urged him to remain at Monticello, but he declared himself fit for duty, Still weak and subsisting mainly off liquids, he left Monticello on in March 1865 and joined the remnants of the Army of Tennessee near Bentonville, North Carolina.
The Confederate forces under Johnston proved too weak to arrest the Union advance. They fell back to the vicinity of Greensboro, North Carolina, where they learned of Lee's surrender. Johnston asked for terms. Anderson remained defiant to the last, and his brother officers concealed the surrender from and until it was an accomplished fact. (87) After the surrender, the men began the long journey home.
Anderson returned to Florida with almost no money and in frail health. He had never invested the proceeds from the sale of Casa Bianca and his Confederate currency was now worthless. None-theless, he made arrangements to leave Florida when his doctor told him he needed a more bracing climate, and he moved with his family first to Mississippi and then to Memphis. While in Mississippi. Anderson tried to raise cotton with some relatives, but this proved an unsuccessful venture. (88) Because he had refused to sign his presidential pardon, he could not practice law or hold public office. No amount of urging from Etta, his mother, or friends could induce him to change his mind about this matter. He said to sign it implied a regret for what he had done and he had none. Ultimately, he became an insurance agent and edited an agricultural magazine. His wound caused him to lisp slightly, but this did not adversely affect his work. (89) He was able to devote much time to his family, especially his youngest daughter, Margaret, born in 1866. He also remained close to his old acquaintances like General Nathan B. Forrest and E. C. Walthall.
Anderson’s postwar sentiment was brief. In 1872, he began to suffer severely from his old war wounds, and in September, his condition deteriorated seriously. With his family and a few friends at his bedside, he died on September 20th. It was the anniversary of the great victory at Chickamauga.(90) following a large funeral of which General Forrest served as a pallbearer, Anderson was buried in the cemetery far away from his adopted state of Florida. (91) Many old comrades sent expressions of sympathy to the family, but none described Patton Anderson’s career any better than Braxton Bragg when he wrote Etta, “Your fine boy need no richer inheritance than to bear their father’s name.”(92)
1. U.S. War Department, The War of Rebellion, A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 70 volumes. (Washington, 1901) VI, pt. I, 458- 60. 2. General Anderson's Autobiography. James Patton Anderson Papers. Boxes 64, 64A, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History. University of Florida, Gainesville. (herein is cited as JPAP). 3. Interviews of Margaret Anderson Uhler, Milledgeville, Georgia. August 1978. 4. Autobiography. JPAP, 5 5. Ibid. 6. Etta Anderson to. Mr. Earle, April 11, 1889. Palatka, Florida. JPAP 7. Autobiography. JPAP 4. 8. Interviews with Margaret Anderson Uhler. 9. Ibid. Autobiography. JPAP 5. 10. Margaret Anderson Uhler ed., “Civil War Letters of James Patton Anderson,” Florida Historical Quarterly LVi, (October 1977) 151. Ellen Beatty was aunt both to James Patton and Etta Anderson. Her plantation, Casa Bianca built in 1828, was one of the largest in Florida. Reports Conflict. However, concerning the exact acreage and number of slaves that she owned. Jerrell H. Shofner in his History of Jefferson County, (Tallahassee, 1976), 117-18, states that Casa Bianca had 3,000 acres, of which 700 were under cultivation. When Anderson became manager in 1856, a letter listing 118 slaves at Casa Bianca as of December 31st, 1855, is in the Anderson Papers Box 64. Another list dated January 7, 1856, shows 121 slaves leased from Ellen Beatty. Probably many of the same slaves were on both lists. In 1860, Anderson and Mrs. Beatty sold the plantation to Robert W. Williams of Tallahassee for $18,000. Mrs. Bailey sold her slaves to Anderson for $20,000, and he continued to manage the property with the assistance of an overseer. A. G. A. Godwin. Since Williams lived in Tallahassee, Anderson likely was working the land for him. A check of the slave schedule for Jefferson County compiled as part of the 1860 census, yields the following information. Mrs. JP Anderson owned 7 males (page 71). Mrs. JP Anderson owned 40 slaves, (Page 72). Mr. JP Anderson owned a total of 30 slaves, Mrs.E. A. Beatty owns ten, and Mrs. E B. Anderson (probably Etta Beatty Anderson’s wife owns six slaves. Page 80.) Assuming that the entries refer to Mr. and Mrs. James Patton Anderson and their aunt, the total number of slaves held at 93. This is less than the 350 mentioned, in other words. It is, of course, possible that Robert Williams purchased slaves as well as land. And if so, these would be listed with his other slaves in the 1860 Leon County Slave schedule.
11. Autobiography. JPAP. 9. 12 Interviews; Margaret Anderson Uhler. 13. Autobiography. JP. JP. Ten. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. William Watson. Davis. The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida. (New York. 1913, Fascimile ed. Gainesville 1964). 93. 17. Ibid. 125-27. 18. Ibid. 129-132. 19. Ibid. 134-137. 20. Ibid 158. 21. Anderson's Commission in possession of Margaret Anderson. 22. Official records. X, I, 495. 23. Ibid. 497. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Ibid. 27. Ibid. 28. Ibid. 499. 29. Ibid. 501. 30. Ibid. 31. Ibid 32. Stanley F. Horn, The Army of Tennessee, A Military History (Philadelphia, New York, 1941, reprint edition, Norman, Oklahoma 1952), 147-48. 33. Autobiography, 12 34. Uhler, “Civil War Letters”. 159. 35. Grady McWhiney, Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat, (New York, 1959), I, 102. 36. Horn, Army of Tennessee, 180. 37. Ibid 184, Nathaniel C. Hughs, Jr., General William J. Hardee. Old Reliable. (Baton Rouge 1965), 130-31 38. Autobiography. JPAP, 12. 39. Horn, Army of Tennessee, 197- 98. 40. Autobiography. JPAP, 13. 41. Official Records. X. X. I, 755. 42. Ibid. 765. 43. Thomas L Connelly, Autumn of Glory, The Army of Tennessee 1862 1865. (Baton Rouge 1971), 67. 44. Anderson to Etta Anderson, Winchester, Tennessee, January 8, 1862. JPAP, 45. Official Records XX, 1, 670. 46. Autobiography, JPAP, 13. 47. Anderson to Etta Anderson, Shelbyville, Tennessee, January 11, 1862 JPAP. 48. Uhler, “Civil War Letters.” 163-64. The Men of Walthall's Brigade had made a similar request on the eve of the Battle of Murfreesboro. 49. Conelly, Autumn of Glory, 81, 89. 50. Interviews. Margaret Anderson Uhler. 51 R. U. Johnson and C.C. Buell eds., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, 4 vols. (New York 1887-1888), III 646. 52. Etta Anderson to Mr. Earle, April 11, 1889 JPAP. 53. Autobiography, JPAP p 14. 54. Ibid. 55. Uhler, “Civil War Letters,” 165. 56. Official Records, XXX, I, 137. 57. Glen Tucker, Chickamauga: Bloody Battle in the West, (New York, 1961), 288-89. 58. “An Incident,” JPAP. 59. Uhler, “Civil War letters,” 166. 60. Ibid. 61. Ibid. 169. 62. Autobiography, JPAP, 15. 63. Connelly, Autumn of Glory, 275-76. 64. Uhler, “Civil War Letters,” 170. 65. Steve Davis, “That Extraordinary Document.” Civil War Times Illustrated, XVI, (December 1977), 16. 66. Commission in possession of Margaret Anderson Uhler. 67. Official Records XXXV, I, 619. 68. Alfred Roman, The Military Operations of General Beauregard in the War Between the States, 1861-1865, 2 vols. (New York 1883-1884), I, 190-91. 69. John E Johns, Florida During the Civil War, (Gainesville, 1963), 151. 70. Davis, Civil War and Reconstruction, 299. 71. Ibid. 300. 72. Official Records XXXV, I 369-74. 73. Johns, Florida During the Civil War, 202. 74. Davis, Civil War and Reconstruction, 302. 75. Ibid 259-62. 76. Johns, Florida During the Civil War, 163. 77. Ibid. 167. 78. Davis, Civil War and Reconstruction, 194-96. 79. Uhler, “Civil War Letters,” 171. 80. Ibid, 174. 81. Ibid., fn 72. 82. Horn, Army of Tennessee, 365. 83. Official Records, XXXVIII, 3, 773-75. 84. Etta Anderson to Mr. Earle, April 11, 1889 JAAp.
85. Interviews, Margaret Anderson Uhler.
87. Autobiography of JPAP, 15.
89. Interviews, Margaret Anderson Uhler.
90. Etta Anderson to Mr. Earle, April 11th, 1889 JPAP.
91. Funeral notices, undated newspaper clippings, JPAP.
92. Braxton Bragg to Etta Anderson, June 15, 1878. JPAP.
“FLORIDA WHITE,” SOUTHERN BELLE
by Marjorie Anderson Uhler. *
The Life of Ellen Adair White Beatty reads Like a romantic novel. Born Eleanor Katherine Adair, June 5, 1801, near Harrodsburg, Kentucky, she was one of eleven children of General John Adair, a veteran of the Revolution and the War of 1812 and eighth governor of Kentucky. During Florida's early years as an American territory, Ellen became one of her most fascinating figures. A keen mind and sparkling personality, together with a Madonna-like beauty, combined to make her the idol of intellectual and fashionable circles in Europe as well as in America. (1)
Ellen married Joseph M. White of Franklin, Kentucky, a lawyer twenty years her senior on June 7, 1820. When Florida was purchased by the United States from Spain, President Monroe appointed White one of the thirteen members of the Legislative Council of the newly-created Territory of Florida. In June 1822, the Whites arrived in Pensacola, where Colonel White practiced law and became adjutant general of militia and district attorney for Pensacola. He also became an expert in international law, particularly as it applied to the transfer of Spanish deeds to American titles. In addition, he pursued a successful political career. (2) Since his election as the territorial representative to Congress necessitated having a permanent residence in the territory he purchased 6,000 acres of land with 250 slaves and began construction of the palatial plantation home called Casa Bianca in Jefferson County. (3)
Because there were two Whites in the United States Congress at that time, Ellen became known as “Florida White” to distinguish her from the other Mrs. White, Mrs. Barton White, whose husband was a representative from New York. She was a great social success in Washington. Her intelligence and wit provided a perfect foil for her husband's legal brilliance. As she had accompanied her father to Washington frequently when he was the senator from Kentucky, she was acquainted with the duties required of the wife of a prominent politician. (4)
Colonel White's career took the couple several times to Europe, where they were received in the most eminent circles. On one occasion, they were invited to a ball given by a member of the Bonaparte family. (5) When the hostess suggested that Ellen wear a Native American costume, she arrived at the ball dressed as an Indian girl. “Gay with beads and feathers with a quiver at her back and a bow in her hand. She was afterward known as ‘La Belle Sauvage.’” (6)
On another occasion, Colonel White was sent to Spain in connection with some legal deals of the Florida Purchase. When Ellen hesitated to accompany him because of her health, he arranged for her to visit Rome and to stay with Commodore Biddle and his family. (7) Cardinal Mezzofonti, the Pope's grand chamberlain, was a frequent visitor at the Biddle household, and Ellen expressed a desire to meet His Holiness. The cardinal made the necessary arrangements and instructed Ellen to wait at the Sistine Chapel the next day until the Pope came along and she would be introduced to him. The following day, however, she received a more interesting invitation and failed to keep her appointment with the Pope. That evening, the cardinal called to point out that she had so offended the Pope that she should leave Rome immediately. Her failure to honor the appointment was more serious than she had realized. Ellen apologized for her mistake but informed the Cardinal that she was interested in a private interview, not a public one. Mezzafonti amazed at her effrontery, explained that the Pope never admitted any woman to private audiences except wives, daughters, or sisters of Sovereigns. Ellen retorted that she was the daughter of a sovereign: in her country, the people were sovereign and she was a daughter of the people. The Cardinal appreciating her wit, relayed the message to the Pope, who, also amused, granted her a private audience as a “daughter of a sovereign.” The following extract from a letter is Ellen’s personal recollection of the incident: “On that day, we went, as directed, in carriages to the Vatican, where we found the great gate of the Vatican had been opened during the day, that being opened only on days when the Pope was receiving some royal personage, and a very large crowd had gathered in the streets…. to see what royalty was visiting the Pope that day….. When we entered the hall, we found the servant had laid a large scarlet carpet….. in the center of the hall and placed three chairs upon it; and as we entered at one door, the Pope entered from a door at the other end….. I found the old gentleman very much interested in the gossip of the courts where I had been spending time (in Paris, Madrid, and Naples)., and we had quite a pleasant conversation….. (after the interview)…... His Holiness then arose with great dignity and remarked to me ‘From this time on, as long as you remain in Rome, all my officials will treat you as a royal personage’….. A few evenings later, I went with some friends to Sistine Chapel to hear the music….. which was given every afternoon at four o’clock. As I entered Saint Peter's, a high officer of the Pope walked up and saluted me as if I were royal stock, and invited me and my suite into the gallery of the Sistine Chapel, which was reserved only for those of royal family….. When I came down, an officer walked to the door with me and called for the carriage of “Her Royal Highness” and my carriage came up….. And from that time forward, during my stay, there, whenever I met an officer of the Pope, I was saluted as if I were a royal stock. (8)
Before Ellen left Rome, the Pope sent her a parting gift of a bronze casket containing an item that was later erroneously reported. An article in the New York Fashion Bazar (sic), by Mary E. Brian, which appeared sometime after Ellen’s death, described it as a valuable diamond cross centered with an exquisitely carved image of Christ in amethyst. (9) Ellen’s niece, Etta Adair, (Mrs. Patton) Anderson, who lived with her aunt for some years, stated that the casket contained a coral rosary that was not intrinsically valuable, though it was greatly cherished. (10) Brian was also incorrect when she wrote that Ellen sold this ”diamond cross” to help build the Southern Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.(11) The account of Ellen's actual gift to the church came to the author through a great-niece of Ellen and daughter of Etta. It, therefore, has the ring of authenticity. Ellen had purchased a dart-shaped diamond hair ornament to wear to Queen Victoria's coronation. It was this item that she donated to the Southern Presbyterian Church, but it was returned when the diamonds were discovered to be paste and the piece of jewelry worthless. As Ellen had paid for diamonds, she was chagrined to learn that she had been victimized. Nonetheless, she felt a gift was still in order, and she sent a silver service which the church accepted. (12)
Ellen was considerably more fortunate in her gifts than she was in her purchases. In 1834, Colonel White was retained by Prince Achille Murat, his neighbor in Jefferson County, to represent him in his claim to money and property that had been confiscated by the French government. Marat's mother, Princess Caroline, was Napoleon's sister. Colonel White was not successful in restoring Murat’s fortunes, but his endeavor led him to France, where he and Ellen were entertained by Princess Caroline. (13) Wishing to present her guest with a souvenir, Princess Caroline asked Ellen what she could give her as a token of her regard. Ellen looked at the graceful hand of the aged princess and answered, “Your hand.” When the Whites returned to America, Ellen received an affectionate letter and an ebony and pearl casket enclosing a bronze cast of Princess Caroline's hand. (14)
Colonel White was devoted to his beautiful wife and determined that she should have all the advantages attended upon wealth and prestige. He was justly proud of her accomplishments and made it possible for her to meet people of social and literary prominence in Europe and America. On one occasion, before sailing for Europe, the couple received letters of introduction from several influential Americans, including one from Washington Irving, which opened the doors of England’s literati to them. Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton honored Ellen with a poem inscribed to “Florida White – our truant member.”
You have gone from us, lady, to shine In the throng of the day and the fair,
If you’re happy, we will not repine,
But say, can you think of us there?
Circled round by glittering crowd
Who flatter, gaze, sigh and adore,
I would ask if I were not too proud,
Has your heart room for one image more? Forgive us, sweet lady, ah, do,
We’ll blot out these words from our song,
Though absent we know you are true,
though jealous, we feel we are wrong,
Some millions of insects might pass
In your rays and those of the sun,
Then is not folly to ask.
Your glances should beam here alone. (15)
Extravagant praise followed Ellen wherever she went. John Quincy Adams declared her the Tenth Muse, and he added a whimsical note to an album she had received as a birthday gift. Ellen dedi-cated the volume to “Folly” and painted the initial page with the symbolic cap and bells. Adams responded in light vein:
Come, bring the cup and bring the bells,
And banish sudden melancholy, For who shall seek for wisdom cells When Ellen summons him to folly? And if ‘tis folly to be wise,
As bards of Mighty Fame have chanted
whoever looked in Ellen’s eyes
and then for sages, treasures panted!
Oh! take the cap and bells away:
The very thought my soul confuses
Like Jack between two stacks of hay, of Garrick's choice between the Muses. (16)
Colonel White died in 1839, leaving Ellen a sizable fortune. Five years later, she married Dr. Theophilus Beatty, a member of the English nobility. During their marriage, which ended with his death in 1847, they lived in New Orleans but continued to spend half of each year at Casa Bianca. Ellen was singularly blessed in having two happy marriages, though both of them were childless. (17)
Ellen was still a relatively young woman when she became a widow for the second time as she had no children, she turned her affections to her niece, Etta, the daughter of her brother, Dr. William Adair, and sent her to school, took her on trips, and she began to think of her as a daughter. In fact, she wanted to adopt Etta, but her brother would not agree to give up one of his children. He was happy, however, for Etta had the advantages of education and travel that Ellen offered. Since Etta had spent her childhood on her father's farm and had been taught almost entirely by her mother, she was grateful for the opportunity to achieve a finished education. She later paid dearly for Ellen's generosity. (18)
In the fall of 1849, Ellen took Etta to New York, where she enrolled her in a fashionable private school. Etta was to remain there while Ellen traveled in Europe. Then, on the day of her departure, Ellen announced, “My daughter, I cannot cross the Atlantic alone; I have never intended to. I am lonely and need you. I knew if I asked your father, he would never consent for you to go so far, and I could never take you against his positive commands. After it is done, it will be all right with him and your dear mother.” On arriving in Liverpool,(19) Ellen wrote her brother, “and it was just as she said,”(20) This trip was Etta’s initiation into the sophisticated life of European society.
The tour lasted a year. After several months of traveling on the continent, Ellen decided to go to Palestine, leaving Etta behind in school in Paris. At the last minute, however, she impulsively changed her plans again. Etta recalled the incident many years later. “She had once decided that travel would do me more good than school; She might not be living when my school days were over (as far as I knew, she was in perfect health) and I was young enough to travel and go to school after.” (22)
Just as they were leaving for the Middle East, Ellen received word that some of Colonel White's relatives were trying for the second time to break his will. This necessitated her immediate return to America. On arriving in New York, Ellen again deposited Etta in the same school she had attended the year before. After several months, Ellen again without notice, announced that they were going to New Orleans, where Etta would study French and music. Arriving at Casa Bianca in route to New Orleans, Etta learned that her mother had died and she returned to her home in Kentucky. (22)
The closeness of the relationship continued, and was further strengthened when Etta married her first cousin, Patton Anderson, the son of Ellen’s sister, Margaret. Etta and Patton spent the first few years of their marriage in the Washington Territory where Patton was United States marshal and later Territorial Representative to Congress. In 1856, however, they accepted Ellen's invitation to Live with her in Florida as she needed Peyton to manage Casa Bianca for her since her health had become frail. (23)
By this time, Ellen's fortunes had diminished, but not her extravagant habits. The White relatives had not been successful in their attempts to break Colonel White's will, but Ellen's talents did not include managing her finances wisely. Shortly after Etta and Patton arrived, Ellen borrowed $20,000 from him. She did not repay the debt, but promised Etta that she was going to give all the slaves to her. Then in 1860, without consulting Etta or Patton. She sold all of them except for one family she intended to free. Patton, outraged at the cruelty of breaking up the slave families, brought back as many of them as he could. “He worked himself sick nearly trying to keep mothers from being separated from young children, etc.” (24)
When Etta and Patton went to live with her, Ellen wrote a will leaving her entire estate to Etta. Within a short time, however, she needed money again and sold Casa Bianca to Patton. He paid her in gold, which she deposited in New York. During the Civil War, while she was unable to obtain her funds, she was supported completely by Patton. After the war, she again had access to this deposit, but it was all that remained of a once impressive estate. (25)
Before Patton went into the Army in 1861, he sold Casa Bianca and was paid in Confederate money. When the war was over, his fortune was gone and his health broken from the result of a serious wound he had received at the Battle of Jonesborough. When he died in 1872, Etta and her five children were destitute. Ellen died in 1884 and left Etta nothing, although she was well aware of Etta’s need. Ellen did not make a new will or suggest that her intentions concerning Etta’s legacy had changed. Nonetheless, her actual beneficiaries claimed that before her death, she had given them all her valuable personal items and the small residue of her capital. (26) There was therefore nothing in Ellen's estate for Etta to inherit. Though this treatment of Etta might well have been accidental on Ellen’s part, she failed to exert any serious effort at making restitution to Etta during her life or after her death. (27)
It should also be pointed out that when Ellen herself became homeless through her own foolhardy extravagance, she did not lack for care and concern from her family. Etta’s brother Cromwell. Adair, a prominent lawyer, banker, and farmer in the small town of Morganfield, Kentucky, and already the entire support of Etta and her children, offered to take care of Ellen for the rest of her life and even to build her a cottage close to his house. In this way, she would be free from the distractions of the children. Yet, at the same time, under the constant attention of Etta. Ellen declined his invitation, for “she could not live where she was not (constantly) going and where she was not admired and flattered. (28) Instead, she spent her final years paying visits of several months duration to different relatives. It was on one of these visits to Oxford, Mississippi, that she died, and there is where she is buried. (29)
Although mention of Florida White appeared in books, newspapers, and magazines, the only article that is presently available is the sketch by Mary F. Bryan, a newspaper woman who had a brief personal acquaintance with Ellen shortly before her death. While this article has some value, it contains a number of inaccuracies. Etta retained the original undated section from the New York Fashion Bazar. She also added enlightening marginal notes, both in support and in denial of Bryan's statements. Besides a paragraph mentioning Ellen’s single-hearted love for her husband (Colonel White) who always seemed to her the ‘grandest man in any assembly”,’” Etta wrote an emphatic “True!”(30)
The following paragraph, on the other hand, did not rate the same approval: “How firmly she adhered to the restrictions of her church - the old fashioned Presbyterian - can be seen from the fact that she refused to dance, though princes sought her hand, and she was inside a theater but once, although she was a Shakespeare worshiper and possessed extraordinary histrionic talent.” The margin bears the cryptic reproof “Stuff!”(31) Etta’s description of her first trip under the chaperonage of her aunt further negates that myth: “In Louisville, I attended my first theater….. I found my father's family (as I had known) was prominent in society and politics. Of course, Aunt was dined and supped, etc., and I, though a child was taken with her. Here I attended my first grand dining and was instructed by my aunt that I must take one if invited to do so. (32) Nor was there any objection to dancing, a popular diversion for the entire family. Ellen was devout, not fanatic.
Another accolade to prompt an acerbic objection from Etta was the following: “She built a chapel for the slaves on the plantation. She assembled them in it every Sunday, and she herself superin-tended the Sunday school, prayed and sung with them, and explained the portions of the Bible she read to them in her rich, cultured voice….. For two of them - special favorites - she purchased a neat little home in Monticello. (33) The marginal annotation. “All Stuff!” is treated more fully in a letter from Etta to a niece. “There is so much in this sketch that is a positive falsehood that I hate to have you read it without I was there to tell you. She did build the church before we went there. Your Uncle Patton employed a Mr. Clisby to teach the Negroes - gave him a regular salary (sic) beside his board. (34) Etta further added that Ellen's favorite slave, her maid, Rebecca, bought her “neat little house” with her own money; It was not a gift. It was true, however, that a few years before Ellen's death, Rebecca paid her former mistress a heartwarming tribute in a letter addressed to “My Dear Mistress.” “We hear you now have no home and we write to beg you to come and live in ours. We will move into the kitchen. It is plenty good and you can have the house and we will wait on you and be so glad to do something to show you how we remember your goodness to us. Them old days at Casa Bianca was the happiest we had ever seen.”(35)
Etta’s conclusion about the Bryan article suggests a justified integration. “There is so much in this that is true. Her talents and beauty and attractiveness could not be exaggerated. Then why not let that go and not tell so many horrid falsehoods? The devotion of both husbands and their admiration, especially Uncle White’s, had certainly made her very, very selfish. I lived with her for years, and this was as I saw and knew her, as I grew older and less devoted to her. (36)
*Ms. Uhler is a descendant of Florida White. She is a graduate of Georgia College in Milledgeville and a part time English instructor at Georgia Military College and Georgia College.
1. An undated unidentified newspaper clipping in a scrapbook of Etta Adair Anderson, located in the General James Patton Anderson Papers. P.K. Yonge, Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville, hereinafter referred to as Anderson Scrapbook. 2. Tallahassee Democrat, June 28, 1954. See also Dorothy F. Hill, “Joseph M. White, Florida's Territorial Delegate, 1825-1837. (M.A. Thesis, University of Florida, 1950.
3. Monticello News February 28, 1969.
4. Obituary of Ellen Adair White Beatty, Anderson scrapbook.
5. Possibly Princess Caroline, the sister of Napoleon.
6. “A scrap of History,” undated clipping in Anderson's scrapbook.
7. The delicacy of Ellen's health is mentioned occasionally, but the nature of it is never identified or accurately established.
8. This anecdote was the subject of a letter from Alex A. Hansell, Thomasville, Georgia, April 27, 1904 to Mrs. Korfoot. Mr. Hansell related a verbal account as he remembered it as it was told to him by Ellen in 1867. Hence the quote in first person. The letter was given to the author by the late Edwin C Pugsley of New Haven, Connecticut, May 19th, 1975.
9. James Barnett Adair, Adair History and Genealogy, (Los Angeles In 1924) 85. The bronze casket is presently in possession of the family of Mr. Pugsley. His mother purchased it from a former Casa Bianca slave who had used it as a tobacco tin. The Rosary has never been located.
10. Conversations with the late Miss Margaret Bybee Anderson. Palatka, Florida. Between 1940 and 1960. 11. Monticello News February 28th, 1969.
12. Conversations with Margaret Bybee Anderson.
13. A. J. Hanna, “A Prince in Their Midst, The Adventurous Life of Achille Murat on the American Frontier”. (Norman, 1946) 216-20. 14. Monticello News February 28th, 1959.
16. Adair, Adair History and Genealogy. 81.
17 Ibid. 76
18. Etta Anderson to E. S. Meany. Palatka, Florida. July 23, 1902. In possession of author.
24. Portion of an undated letter from Etta Adair Anderson to an unidentified niece, in possession of the author. 25 Ibid.
26 Ibid. These personal items included a bronze cast of Princess Caroline's hand. Her portrait by an Italian artist from which the photograph at the beginning of this article was made. And a Carrara marble bust of Ellen sculpted by Horation (sic) Greenough in Italy around 1830. The bust is presently in the Mary Buie Museum in Oxford, Mississippi. Brochure of the Mary Buie Museum and conversations with Margaret Bybee Anderson. 27. Letter from Etta Adair Anderson to a niece.
30. Original article from the New York Fashion Bazar is in the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History. 31. Ibid.
32. Etta Adair Anderson to Meany, July 23rd, 1902.
33. New York Fashion Bazar.
34. Etta Adair Anderson to niece.
35. New York Fashion Bazar.
36. Etta Adair Anderson to niece.
37. Adair History and Genealogy. 75-77.
The Bryan article also appears in the Adair History and Genealogy by Dr. James B. Adair, published in 1924. Every passage which inspired Etta’s comment “Stuff!” was omitted. Etta died in 1917 before the author had contacted various members of the Adair family for data to be included in the book; Therefore, she could not have been responsible for the editing. The article was submitted to Dr. Adair by Annetta Scott Fox, who as a child, had been acquainted with her great-aunt Ellen and Monticello. Her introduction to the article carried no mention of the deletions or discrete omissions supplying ample reinforcement for Etta’s views.
Ellen Adair White Beatty was clearly a woman of many contradictions. The epitome of graciousness, beauty and charm. She inspired the unreserved adulation of ad-mirers on two continents. She dispensed largesse with profligate impetuosity and nonchalance and took back the gifts she had given. She abused the affection of those who loved her and made promises she never
intended to keep. She was magnanimous and petty, democratic and haughty, ingenuous and artful. But no one who entered the orbit of this captivating personality ever forgot her.
Near Monticello, Jefferson County, Florida
Built about 1825, burned down, about 1905 - lightning strike
MONTICELLO, JEFFERSON COUNTY, FLORIDA
Casa Bianca, located about three miles south of Monticello
CASA BIANCA, MONTICELLO, JEFFERSON COUNTY, FLORIDA
Florida bound Casa Bianca Plantation's Enslaved People.
By Randy W Burnett.
Randy W. Burnett is a historical collection and reference librarian in Charlottesville, Virginia. Barnett thanks Martin Violette for his support and early readings of this essay and Sarah Bon-Harper and Nancy Stetz of James Monroe's Highland for their encouragement.
A hundred yards down a sandy road, erected before a Spanish-moss-covered live oak tree is a bronze plaque that recounts a brief story of Joseph M. White and his political career and emphasizes his importance in the early history of the Florida territory as a delegate to Congress. Briefly mentioned is the reason the plaque appears at this location - “(White) became the owner of this site as part of a 3,000-acre plantation, naming his cotton and sugar cane producing estate, Casa Bianca.” The plantation, about three miles southwest of the town of Monticello in Jefferson County, had a “fine old mansion of lordly portions” with a lawn of fifteen acres surrounding the house.” This “handsome home of the Old South” had large rooms which “carried out the South’s idea of comfort and luxury.” Interspersed among the romantic views that mythicize antebellum plantations are overstated and contradicting numbers representing those enslaved at Casa Bianca between its establishment in 1828 and its sale in 1850. At the upper end of the numeric spectrum is the claim by Ernest Dibble, Joseph White's biographer, who asserted that three hundred and fifty enslaved people lived at Casa Bianca on the eve of the Civil War. Another source stated that the plantation “was worked by three hundred Negroes,”. Margaret Anderson Uhler, a descendant of White’s nephew, said two hundred and fifty slaves worked the Casa Bianca fields. The most realistic account of the number of enslaved people at the estate comes from an 1847 advertisement that circulated when White's widow put the plantation up for sale. Its quarters were “capable of accommodating one hundred Negroes.” Census and county tax records, along with the 1847 advertisement, refute the large numerical claims of other authors, as a few years after its establishment, sixty enslaved people called Casa Bianca home, their numbers growing to one hundred and twenty-six individuals in the years before their emancipation.
These statistics, however, fail to provide an accurate portrayal of the enslaved people who built Casa Bianca, maintained its extensive grounds, and farmed the land - In fact, the statistics disguise a community formed by the complex political, social, and financial interactions of national slavery that Joseph M. White and his business partner, Richard H. Wilde used to pull together at least three different cultural groups to one plantation. The first of these groups included mothers and their children acquired in New Orleans, whose origins are difficult to discern due to the extent and volume of the New Orleans slave trade. The second consisted of a large group of American slave families who hailed from the Virginia grain belt plantation of President James Monroe, a part of a tightly knit community formed with neighboring plantations during the decades of living in central Virginia. The African captives from the Antelope slave ship comprised a third group of enslaved people, brought to Casa Bianca. Enslaved by a U.S. court system, they had been in Georgia for less than eight years, laboring on plantations with a completely different agricultural purpose, the cultivation of rice. This article examines the varied origins of the three largest groups of enslaved people at Casa Bianca and explores their experience during enslavement and after emancipation. Seeking to add African-American voices to local history.
Joseph White and Richard Wilde’s friendship began when both men served in Congress, at times even sharing a boarding house during the Congressional session in Washington, D.C. The rapport between them included extended summer visits by Wilde and his sons to General John Adair and his wife, Ellen White's parents in Kentucky, with Wilde's sons calling the Adairs “Grand Pa and Grand Ma”. White and Wilde, both lawyers, practiced law together, including arguing Florida land grant cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Visiting the Whites in Pensacola in August 1827, White and Wilde finalized their joint Florida business venture, a sugar cane and later cotton plantation in Jefferson County. “My project of establishing a plantation with Col. White, ripening apace.” as Wilde described their progress to his brother John, elaborating that the two business partners planned to split their expenses and rely on White's brother, Everett - whom Wilde described as “a practical, industrious farmer and honest man” - for plantation manager. As both White and Wilde expected to spend much time in Washington, DC as congressmen by the time of this August 1827 visit. White had already purchased nearly 1,125 acres of land from the U.S. government in Jefferson County, Florida.
Before their business negotiations began. White had procured a group of enslaved people traveling by steamer from New Orleans to Pensacola, a journey of a few days. Ten slaves came to labor as domestic servants at White's home on Palafox Street, arriving five months before Wild's August 18th, visit to White. Most of the family groups sold in New Orleans consisted of mothers with their children and shipping manifests documented the family relationships by listing the children below their mother. White's shipping manifest is the first document associated with Casa Bianca that identifies two family groups - Mary with her children, Maria and Wilson, and Harriet with her children, Mary Ann, Martha, Henry, and Ned. Given the slave's ages and genders, White most likely did not intend for them to work in the plantation fields as the labor requirement for producing sugar cane - which included not only the brutal labor of growing the cane but also it's processing - created an adult male bias in slave sales and on sugar plantations. In addition, a court petition identified Maria as a domestic servant to the White family.
Wilde, for his part, planned to purchase roughly twenty slaves. Finding the right opportunity to make this acquisition in his client’s court case: US v. The Antelope. The Antelope was a pirate slave ship attempting to smuggle 281 Africans taken from Portuguese and Spanish ships into the United States. Captured off the coast of Florida and brought to Savannah, Georgia, seven years of litigation followed, ending at the US Supreme Court to determine how many of the captives belonged to the Portuguese and Spanish claimants and how many of them were free. While the courts decided the captive’s fates, they worked on multiple plantations around Savannah. Many of them forming relationships and starting families with enslaved women on the properties. Wilde joined the case in 1845 representing the Portuguese claimants. While his long-time friend and fellow Congressman John M. Berrien represented the Spanish claimants. In 1827, the US Supreme Court confirmed a lower court judgment that awarded the Spanish claimant thirty-nine of the Africans, requiring a $400 per captive bond if they were not removed from the U.S. within six months. The Portuguese claimants, unable to prove ownership of any of the Africans, received none, and the remaining captives were put aboard a ship and returned to Liberia. Wilde recognized the opportunity to acquire the thirty-nine Africans for Casa Bianca, all but one of the Africans were young men, placing them in the category of highly sought labor for the backbreaking work needed to clear the Florida wilderness and plant sugar cane at the plantation. Wilde disclosed his intent to his friend Berrien:
My plan then is this I will apply to the government of the U.S. to do one of two things either reimburse me the actual expenses paid by me & take the Africans or pass a law canceling the bonds for exporting them if given or dispensing with such a bond - if not given. In other words, allowing them to remain in place if they adopt the first alternative. I am only just where I was, at liberty with my money to buy negroes, which I do not want at all events until next winter. If the second I have the slaves I want for my Florida project with this advantage.
When the Spanish claimant’s agent Cuesta Manzanal Y. Hermano arrived in Savannah, Wilde purchased the Spanish interest, claiming to be “struck with the cruelty of separating them from their wives and children to send them into slavery in a Spanish colony” and desiring to keep the captive “” in the bosom of their family.” But the issue of a $400 bond and the African removal from the country remained, and Wilde capitalized on his political connections and position in Congress to petition Congress to cancel the bonds. Enlisting the aid of his Antelope case colleague and friend John Berrien, who presented Wilde's petition before the Senate as soon as his private bill passed Congress and was signed by President John Quincy Adams. Wilde disregarded his previous sentiment about separating the Africans from their families, selling a few of them, and sending the rest “about thirty in number” to Casa Bianca, where they composed nearly half of the enslaved workforce at the plantation.
In the meantime, Joseph White employed his social and political connections with President James Monroe to acquire more enslaved workers for the plantations. Monroe's 1828 sale of enslaved families to White was not merely a business transaction between a buyer and seller - It culminated in the decade-long social and political acquaintance between the two men. Born in Kentucky, White lived for a brief period in Albemarle County, Virginia, the home of his mother's family, and the site of Monroe's Highland plantation. White was a member of the Albemarle County Bar, and in 1816 had witnessed the deed between James Monroe's brother, Andrew Monroe, and Andrew's son, Augustine of Limestone Farm, a neighboring property that Monroe had given to Andrew. White traveled back and forth between Kentucky and Virginia and during President Monroe's tour of the southern states in 1819, White was present at the banquet given for Monroe in Frankfort, Kentucky, at the end of which White gave a toast. After White's 1821 relocation from Kentucky to Pensacola, Florida, the relationship between the two men advanced from social acquaintances to political colleagues when Monroe appointed White to the Legislative Council of the Florida Territory, and a year later Monroe named him commissioner for ascertaining claims entitled to land in the Territory of Florida.
In 1828, after Monroe's retirement from the presidency, White bought a portion of Monroe's enslaved workforce from the Highland plantation of Virginia. Monroe had previously contem-plated selling some of his slaves - notably in family groups, as early as 1823, as planters commonly used slaves as cash and as their debts increased sold their slaves to settle loans. Monroe, who owed his creditors $35,000, including an $8,000 note to merchant and real estate mogul John Jacob Astor, had already mortgaged enslaved men, women, and children to various banks. Even after selling all of his land in Albemarle County, Virginia, Monroe remained in debt, and to resolve a part of it, he pursued his intention to sell a group of his enslaved families at Highland. He contracted a friend, Charles Fenton Mercer, who could help:
I wish you, in your promisd (sic) communication respecting the Florida project to add whatever may occur to you, as necessary to be attended to by me, in case I should proceed in the execution of it. Will the person, for example, whom you recommend, as the(y) are, who will take charge of the slaves in Florida, conduct them thither from Albemarle or must I employ a special agent for that purpose?
Monroe’s letter highlights as well the social procedure for procuring enslaved people. Slave buyers reduced their financial risk by purchasing slaves who were either known to them or who were recommended by trusted acquaintances. In this case, White's previous social and political interactions with Monroe facilitated the purchase of enslaved workers for Casa Bianca, with their mutual friend Mercer conducting the specifics of the sale, White was Concerned about the number of children in the proffered group, but negotiations ultimately led to the successful conclusion of a sale, by which, in a three-way deal, Monroe sold enslaved families to White, who would secure a release of Monroe's debt to John Jacob Astor.
Just as the African captives of the Antelope experienced separation from their wives and children in Savannah, the enslaved Families from Virginia lost the extended kinship network that existed in the more densely populated area of Albemarle County. One case involved the enslaved child, Mary Baker, who was forcibly separated from her mother. The Bakers were an enslaved family-owned by James Monroe's son-in-law, Judge George Hay. In 1826, Sally Baker, along with her two children, Jeffrey and Mary, sued Charles Hay - George Hay’s son from his first marriage - for their freedom. The court dismissed her petition, but the involved parties reached an agreement. Judge Hay agreed to pay the court costs and Sally’s jail fees, if, in exchange, she consented to surrender herself and her children to Judge Hay and return with him to his Virginia home. As part of this agreement, “(Hay) on his part, promised to forgive what is past and if Sally behaves herself well to treat her with kindness.” Two years later, Monroe included Mary Baker - then around eight years old - in the sale of enslaved families to White, severing the ties that Mary had with her family in Virginia.
A fourth group of enslaved people belonging to Joseph White's brother, Everett, labored at Casa Bianca alongside White and Wilde’s slaves. All but one of them were mothers with their young children, and except for one family, were from Kentucky. This particular family - the enslaved woman, Hope and her children, Bob, Frank, Isham, and William - were brought to Jefferson County from Effingham County, Georgia, by another early settler, William McCardell, who promptly mortgaged them for various debts as payment for outstanding debts. Everett White forcibly seized this enslaved family from McCardell, bringing them to Casa Bianca. Another enslaved family, Fannie, and her children. Amanda, Delia, Henry Clay and Uncus, appear to have a special relationship with Everett. His will freed them. Specifying that they were to be sent back to Kentucky from whence they were brought. Unfortunately, that never occurred when Everett died as the result of a wound suffered in a duel in 1835, he left an indebted estate, prompting the sale of thirteen of his slaves to the highest bidder on the Jefferson County Courthouse steps, after which Joseph White purchased them from the auction winner to settle another portion of Everette’s debts. Fanny's daughter, Amanda, was sold by court order to another farmer living in the southern part of the county, while Fanny and her remaining three children, Henry Clay, Oliver and Aggie - born after Everett White's death - were purchased a decade later by Ellen White's second husband, Theophilus Beatty.
The three primary groups of enslaved people from New Orleans, Virginia, and Africa, along with Everett White and enslaved holdings, constituted the largest part of the enslaved workforce at Casa Bianca Plantation. White And Wilde by using their social, political, and financial influence to accrue enslaved laborers, contributed to the expansion of American slavery on the Florida frontier and their business venture underscores with economic forces behind settlement in Florida. For the diverse enslaved people at Casa Bianca, victims of domestic and international slave trades, their experiences varied depending on their relationship to the Whites. For those who labored as field hands, their names are found exclusively on plantation lists, permitting, at most the disposition of their ordeals while enslaved in general terms, such as the type of labor they performed or crops they grew, whereas those who labored as domestic servants, and thus were in closer contact with the White family, were mentioned in family letters and legal documents allowing the extraction of their personal stories.
Arriving at Casa Bianca by the fall of 1828, Everett White put the Antelope Africans and Virginia slave families to work clearing acres of land, backbreaking labor that included removing thick brush, felling large trees and grubbing the stumps, since the large planters such as White and Wilde wanted their fields completely cleared so that a plow could be used in planting crops. In the first growing season, the enslaved people at Casa Bianca cleared at least 201 acres, planting 150 acres in corn, 31 acres in sugar cane, and 20 acres in cotton. White, along with other middle Florida settlers, anticipated sugar cane to be the primary cash crop. And White made a bold prediction about it. “I have no hesitation in saying that Middle Florida and the adjacent counties of Georgia at no distant day to furnish a most important item (sugar) to our domestic trade.” Sugar cane requires a lengthy growing season, which the middle Florida climate does not provide. And after several cane crop failures due to early frost, most planters had shifted to cotton as their cash crop by the 1840s. Casa Bianca became primarily a cotton plantation, with the enslaved workers planting and harvesting 178 bales during one season.
Besides producing cotton Casa Bianca also had a flock of over 100 sheep, allowing the production of clothing for the enslaved at the plantation. Sheared in the spring, the wool was then washed, carded, and spun on the plantation’s two spinning wheels, then woven with cotton into cloth on the loom, making a rough material that enslaved seamstresses sewed for garments. Older enslaved women unable to perform strenuous field work typically carried out the tasks of spinning, weaving, and sewing on plantations, and at Casa Bianca, this work may have been done by Mary (born circa 1782) or Betsy (circa 1794), who were the oldest enslaved women there.
In addition to clearing land, planting crops and making cloth, the new arrivals had to build their own cabins using the trees they felled from the property, cabins clustered like a pretty village around the White’s “big house,” also built by the enslaved workers. In these quarters the enslaved people continue to grow and the next generation intermarried. Dudley and Eve, who came from Virginia with two children, expanded their family to six known children before Dudley's death, sometime before 1848. Dudley and his daughter Hannah married Isham, who as a boy had been forcibly taken by Everett White, Toby and Betsy’s, daughter Kittie, born in the Casa Bianca slave quarters, a few years after her parents arrived in Florida, married Frank, a brother of Isham. And it appears that Toby, that Toby and Betsy’s, daughter, Peachy married George, one of the Antelope captives. Ellen White and her second husband, Theophilus Beatty acknowledged the enslaved families’ relationships and marriages, enumerating the family groups in deed and inventories and noting on the inventories the spouses among the families, writing. For example, “Toby and wife Betsy,” “Alfred and wife Elizabeth,” and “Davy and wife Hannah.” Ellen White also acknowledged the “abroad” marriages that occurred - marriages of enslaved individuals held by different masters and living on other plantations - by recording that Alice’s and Caroline’s husbands were “not here,” or that Ellen’s husband was “not mine.”
Life in the Casa Bianca slave quarters included religious instruction from a Presbyterian minister, A. Warren Clisby, hired by Ellen White Beatty in the 1850s. Ellen had a chapel built at the plantation and a short biography written after her death claim that she gathered the slaves there every Sunday, teaching them and praying with them, even teaching them to read and write, though Ellen's niece, Etta Anderson, who lived at Casa Bianca during this time, discounted this story, drawing a line through a paragraph and writing “All stuff” in the margin. When Ellen appointed her nephew, James Patton Anderson, manager of Casa Bianca, she cited her desire for Anderson to provide her with the means to promote religious and charitable works, specifically the religious instruction of her slaves. Her religious undertakings with her enslaved laborers constituted only one component of their religious life. Given the large size of Casa Bianca and its numerous enslaved workforce, the “invisible institution,” a separate and secret religious life away from the master or mistress most likely existed there.
Whereas the experience of the majority of those enslaved at Casa Bianca plantation can only be discussed in general terms. More is known about the enslaved domestic servants and skilled artisans who interacted directly with the Whites. Maria White, one of the young women bought and shipped from New Orleans, spent no time at Casa Bianca since the Whites took her with them to Washington, D.C., as a domestic servant in the winter of 1828. While in the nation's capital, Maria married a free man of color and became pregnant, which caused White to leave her in D.C. while he traveled back to Casa Bianca, allowing Maria to hire herself out and keep her wages during White's absence. When White learned about Maria's marriage, he agreed to let her husband purchase Maria for $400, but they could not raise the funds, prompting Maria to sue for her freedom, claiming that her arrival in Washington violated the 1796 Act of Maryland, prohibiting the importation of slaves into the state to sell or reside. Although Maria lost her case, white did not separate her from her husband and force her to return to Casa Bianca. Instead for $1, He manumitted Maria, now known by her husband's name Williams and her son Richard Henry Williams.
Charles and Ann, along with their daughters Rebecca and Alice, were another enslaved family, laboring as domestic servants for the White family. At Casa Bianca, where Rebecca was Ellen's White maid and Alice was the nurse for the children of Ellen's nephew. Rebecca accompanied Ellen on her travels, even riding in the carriage with her mistress when a sudden rainstorm began to drench the travelers. When Ellen turned over management of the plantation to her nephew, James Patton Anderson, she reserved the family, including Charles and his grandson, Peter, for her own use and not under Anderson's control. Ellen's nephew hinted at the intimacy between the family when he asked his wife, Etta, to “remember me to all the servants, especially Charles and Aunt Ann. Rebecca and Alice.” The family was so close to Ellen White Beatty that when Rebecca married Henry Clay, Ellen requested a ceremony to be conducted by Presbyterian Minister Clisby, whom Ellen had hired to give religious instruction to the Casa Bianca slaves. Henry Clay White and Rebecca married on December 3rd, 1854, the only recorded wedding ceremony for a couple enslaved at Casa Bianca. This closeness did not deter Ellen from selling Alice’s son, Thomas, who was about 12 years old. Anderson wrote to his wife. “I will endeavor to buy Alice’s Thomas whenever his master will sell him or exchange some other one for him,” oblivious that his idea of exchanging another enslaved boy for Thomas would have caused a separation of some other enslaved family at Casa Bianca.
Though enslaved domestics lived and worked alongside the White family, and while the Whites may have viewed their domestic slaves as part of the family, the enslaved remained a part of the economic plantation system, which included the opportunity for the slaveholder to hire out laborers to maintain high prices caused by labor shortages on the Florida frontier and earning the plantation even more on their labor. Henry Clay's mother, Fanny, had been hired out to a Monticello attorney at the time of Everett White's death, and she most likely had at least her youngest children, Uncas and Henry Clay with her, as it was usual for hired enslaved women with children, though as a domestic servant, Fanny would have been expected to constantly attend the family she served, leaving little time for her to tend her own children. Fanny was later hired out for a longer period of time, as the man who hired her promised to provide her with a summer and winter suit of clothes, a pair of shoes, and a blanket, and that she would be away from Casa Bianca for the year since customarily the slaveholder was not responsible for providing garments or shoes for slaves hired out for a year or more.
Slaveholders more frequently hired out skilled enslaved laborers such as blacksmiths, bricklayers or carpenters. The enslaved men Lewis and Primus, though their occupations went unrecorded, were hired out in the 1840s, earning Ellen White Batey $200 on their labor which implies that these two men were skilled laborers and the annual rate of hire was less than $100 before the 1850s. Records did not indicate the length of time they would be away from the plantation, but given their rate of hire, they must have been away from Casa Bianca for at least the year. Hiring out did not always require the absence of the enslaved person from the plantation. Casa Bianca had a thriving blacksmith shop manned by the enslaved man Garrett. Here, Garrett worked beside a blazing hearth and bellows even during the humid Florida summers would have made and repaired the tools needed for the plantation - plows, hoes, pots, and chains - a skill demanding his constant attention and labor throughout the year. Not only did Garrett make and repair tools for Casa Bianca, but he also performed the same work for neighbors who did not have a blacksmith shop. On the eve of the Civil War, Garrett earned between six and seven hundred dollars for work done for other local planters.
Garrett’s nephew, Payton served as James Payton Anderson’s enslaved manservant at Casa Banca and accompanied Anderson to battle during the Civil War. When Florida seceded from the union, Anderson represented the state at the Provisional Confederate Congress and served on the Committee on Military Affairs, where he proposed legislation “to have the cooks, nurses, Teamsters and pioneers of our army to consist of slaves.” After serving a few months as Delegate, Anderson accepted the commission of Colonel of the First Florida Infantry and during the war was promoted to Brigadier General (1862) and Major General (1864) In the Confederate army, seeing action in the western theater. As was typical for officers, Anderson took a personal enslaved servant with him - Peyton, who was nearly twenty years old when forced to accompany his master to war. Masters took diligence in choosing who attended them as personal servants, often taking someone who had prior experience in waiting upon them, suggesting that there was a close working relationship and trust between Peyton and Anderson. As a personal servant. Peyton not only took care of Anderson's needs, but performed camp chores as well, perhaps even entertaining the camp, foraging for food, or caring for the wounded, but due to Peyton's financial value as an enslaved man, he would have stayed behind battle lines during any military engagements. In 1863, exactly as Anderson had proposed at the start of the war, Peyton became Anderson's mess cook, and Anderson wrote home, requesting his wife, Etta, to send a second enslaved boy who has not yet been identified as a personal servant. When Anderson, returned to Monticello seriously wounded in 1864, both young men would have accompanied him back to Casa Bianca, where they may have shared their war experience with their families and fellow slaves, perhaps adding commentary on the chances of a Union victory.
The economic interest in slaveholding waned for Ellen White Beatty, who at nearly sixty years old, wanted to ease her financial burdens and responsibilities, and one last event split apart the enslaved families of Casa Bianca. In 1860, Ellen sold 400 acres of Casa Banca known as “The Scrub” and thirty-eight slaves, including Peyton and his uncle Garrett, to her nephew Anderson and the core 3,100 acres of Casa Bianca with the remaining enslaved families to Tallahassee lawyer Robert Williams splitting apart enslaved families, as Garrett’s parents and siblings, even Charles and Ann's grandson Peter, to Williams. On his part. Williams promised “to ensure the lives of said Negroes for and during the voyage from Florida to said Williams Landing on the Mississippi River in Louisiana, implying that the eighty-two individuals he purchased would be taken away from Jefferson County. When emancipation came, several of the enslaved families listed in the deed are found in the 1870 Federal Census for Jefferson County, suggesting that many of them may not have made the voyage from Florida to Louisiana. At least three families did go to Louisiana – Hope, her son, Richard, another son, Frank and his wife Kitty with their children, and William and his wife Bella, and their children, separating three generations of enslaved families.
While those who had labored as field hands had their personal stories obscured behind plantation lists while enslaved, the family groupings on the plantation list allow for identification after emancipation and post-emancipation documents such as census, vital records, and deeds permit more precise exploration of their experience after emancipation. For the first time, records indicate their surnames, and though these surnames appeared as unique, It is possible these were the surnames they had used but were unrecorded during enslavement. Only two surnames had been recorded in Casa Bianca documents - Jim and Calypso Harris and Mary Baker from Virginia - and they continued to use these surnames after emancipation, while others from Casa Bianca adopted unique surnames. Eve, the woman formerly enslaved by President James Monroe, and her children, took the surname McGuire, while the blacksmith Garrett and his siblings, children of Toby and Betsy from Virginia, adopted the surname Sanders. Toby and Betsy's grandson, Peyton, who was Anderson's enslaved manservant, became Peyton Pleasant. Isham and his brother Frank, who had been enslaved by White's brother, Everett took the surname Nelson, whereas many of the Freedmen adopted unique surnames, one Casa Bianca couple, Henry Clay White and his wife, Rebecca kept the surname of their former owner.
The Families from Casa Bianca also reinforced their previous relationships by marriage, acknowledging legally what had been denied to them while enslaved. In January 1866, the Florida Legislature passed an act to establish marriage between freed couples, requiring those living together as husband and wife to be married by someone authorized to perform a marriage ceremony and deemed guilty of fornication and adultery if they failed to marry within nine months of the Act's passage. Of the established couples from Casa Bianca, three. formalized their partnership under the January 1866 Act. Alfred Williams and Elizabeth, Henry Clay and Rebecca, who had the minister submit a letter to the county court attesting that he joined them in marriage in 1854, and David Straws and Hannah. For David and Hannah Straws, no marriage date was recorded due to the overwhelming numbers of couples who flooded the county clerk's office to record their nuptials. After the January 1866 Act's passage, legislators perceived freedmen to be slow to adopt the new moral code imposed upon them, passing a new marriage act, declaring those living together as husband and wife to be lawfully married and dismissing any indictments in the court related to the previous misdemeanor charge of fornication and adultery. Other couples from Casa Bianca such as Ned Washington and his wife Patsy, Isham Nelson and Jane, and Jim Sanders and Lucy did not have an officially recorded marriage record, but appeared together as married couples in later census records, suggesting they allowed their unions to be recognized under the Later marriage act.
Despite the assertion of their liberated position with the official adoption of surnames and legally recognized marriages, marks of their former slave status persisted for those who had been enslaved at Casa Bianca in the form of tenant farming and sharecropping. With no land of their own on which to reside, and planters needing laborers for their crops, many of the families continued to live and work at the same plantations under agreements made with their former masters. For the first few years, the Freedmen's Bureau supervised the contracts between the landowners and tenants, while Monticello merchants executed contracts with freedmen and women as well, advancing provisions and farming tools to the tenants. David Straws, Sr. farmed Casa Bianca land signing a Freedmen's contract with his mark to work six days a week and supply one-third of the cotton, corn, potatoes, fodder, ground peas and sugar cane grown. The property owner agreed to supply Straws with mules, plows, hoes, axes, wagons, and other necessary farming implements. In the case of Anderson, “The Scrub” lands, the Monticello merchants, Denham and Palmer managed Anderson's affairs after he moved with his family to Memphis, Tennessee. Former enslaved men from Casa Bianca made their mark on contracted work as sharecroppers on Anderson's land in March 1867. Peyton Pleasant, Anderson, former manservant, was one of these sharecroppers, along with Absalom and Moses Lemons, who had belonged to Ellen White Beatty’s life estate while Thomas Harris, a son of Jim and Calypso Harris, was designated foreman of the group. Anderson paid the men $9.30 for their labor, lower wages than they had received in previous years due to cotton crop failures caused by caterpillar infestation. That year, the men produced only six bales of cotton on Anderson s land. The cotton crop did not improve the following year with Anderson owing Denham and Palmer $942.77 at the end of the growing season, though the merchants expressed optimism for the next year, particularly “if Tom (Thomas Harris) succeeds in getting hands enough.”
Denham and Palmer’s concerns about Thomas Harris getting enough workers for the land reflects another predicament that occurred in Jefferson County shortly after emancipation. Along with the crop failure, a labor shortage existed, exacerbated by freedmen refusing to enter into labor contracts with planters to work in the fields as they had while enslaved. A situation that made it difficult for the men to support their families and stay out of debt. Many of the freedwomen from Casa Bianca remained at home to care for their families, including Hannah Straws, Lucy Sanders, Patsy Washington, Elizabeth Williams, and Jane Nelson, who were all listed as keeping house on census records. Though these women labored at home for their families, all of their children who were old enough to perform farm labor, worked on local farms.
While economic hardships and agricultural losses hindered the Casa Bianca Freedman's economic mobility during the first few years of emancipation, the Sanders family - Garrett the blacksmith, his brother James and sister Peachy, along with their families - moved to adjacent Taylor County, where they appeared in the 1870 census. They may have been able to move away from Casa Bianca with the assistance of Garrett's earnings as an enslaved blacksmith as his personal property was valued at $800. In that census. The Sanders lived in Taylor County for a few years where Garrett continued to work as a blacksmith and even registered to vote in the very first election in which African-American men could participate in Florida. By 1873, the Sanders family returned to Jefferson County, where James Sanders rented nineteen acres of land from a local planter.
Throughout the 1870s, the Casa Bianca freedmen continued to depend upon the county's former slaveholders for land rental agreements, with agreements even varying for freedmen. renting portions of the same plantation. Ned and Patsy Washington, along with Isham Nelson and his children, agreed to jointly work at Casa Bianca in 1873, receiving one-third of the cotton crop and half of wheat, corn, and fodder grown and one hundred pounds of meat During the year same year, Thomas Harris rented twenty acres of Casa Bianca land for $2.50 per acre, whereas Alfred Williams agreed to turn over one-third of the corn and a quarter of the cotton crop he grew at Casa Bianca. Other Casa Bianca freedmen rented lands from various local landowners. Anthony Harris, son of Jim and Calypso Harris, rented forty acres of land and one mule named Sam from B.W and J.R. Johnson in exchange for one bale of cotton and sixty bushels of corn, paying $40 for the use of the mule. James Sanders rented nineteen acres of land for $55 from the same planter, and James and Anthony served as witnesses in each other’s leasing contracts.
Whereas the majority of freedmen from Casa Bianca did not begin purchasing property until after 1880, Henry Clay White and his wife, Rebecca, enjoyed financial success. Shortly after emancipation, their purchase of a Monticello town lot for $700 less than a year after emancipation is the first documented land purchase by someone who had been enslaved at Casa Bianca and it further suggests that they had a status apart from others enslaved at the plantation. Not only was Henry Clay White originally designated to be freed, but according to Everett White's will, Henry and Rebecca had the only recorded marriage ceremony at Casa Bianca and were later excluded from Ellen White Beatty’s sale of slaves to either her nephew, Anderson, or Robert Williams. Furthermore, in executing the deeds for his property purchase, Henry White signed his name with a clear and legible hand, indicating that he was literate. By 1870, their real and personal estate was valued at $700 and $500 respectively, and a few years later, Henry White, owned, not only the town lot but also eight acres of land, paying the second-highest amount in taxes for property-owning African-Americans in the county. Henry White’s financial prosperity which came so soon after emancipation, suggests that he and Rebecca enjoyed privileges and rights not available to the greater part of those enslaved at Casa Bianca.
For the others who had been enslaved at Casabianca, financial improvements came nearly two decades after emancipation, with property purchases after 1880 and the small size of their land parcels indicating that they established homes there, continuing to engage in farming on other’s farms. Two men who had been enslaved by President James Madison as children, William McGuire and James Sanders, both bought small parcels south of the town of Monticello. Peyton Pleasant’s widow, Mary, bought a town lot on the northern edge of the African- American section of Monticello that became known as Rooster Town for $30 in 1892. Davis Straws Sr. in consid-eration of love and affection, was given an acre of former Casa Bianca plantation land by Theodore Becker, a German immigrant who purchased ten acres of Casa Bianca in 1883.
Finally, those who had been enslaved at Cssa Bianca also left their previous religious affiliation and the white churches they had been forced to attend, creating their own houses of worship as an expression of their new independent status in society. Henry Clay White and his wife Rebecca were the last black members of the Presbyterian Church in Monticello, to which Ellen White Baty had deeded land, who requested to be dismissed from its membership roll and joined the African Baptist Church. Another group established their own African-American church - The Casa Bianca Missionary Baptist Church - in 1872, on one acre of Casa Bianca plantation lands, constructing a log building and using it for both religious and educational functions. William McGuire, Alfred Williams, and Isham Nelson were three of the first trustees of the church, and David Straws served as its first pastor. Throughout the generations, both the Straws and Nelson families continued to be involved in the church. Two of David's sons, David Jr. and Samuel became ministers, as well as Samuel's son, Willie Straws. Descendants of Isham Nelson remained active at the Casa Bianca Missionary Baptist Church to this day. Willie Nelson, a descendant of Isham, served as church deacon when the congregation built a new building there a hundred years later and Isham’s great-granddaughter was the oldest serving member of the church until her death a few years ago. The Casabianca Missionary Baptist Church symbolizes the lasting legacy of those who had been enslaved at the Casa Bianca plantation and who worked together after emancipation to create an institution of their own.
Casa Bianca, one of the largest plantations in Jefferson County, represented a collision of the social, political, and financial interests of the national machine and American slavery surrounding the domestic and international slave trade. Joseph M. White and Richard H. Wilde took advantage of their connections to bring together diverse groups of enslaved people for their business venture, enslaved people whose names and stories have been unexamined in historical sources. Exploring their diverse origins allows a better understanding of the economic and political underpinnings of American society and slavery, particularly at the intersections of American expansionism, where enslaved labor was crucial to the opening and developing of the Florida frontier. For many of the victims of the slave trade, their names are lost in history, but Casa Bianca documents allowed the recognition of the names of enslaved at the plantation, not only restoring their dignity and beginning the process of healing, hearing their voices but also adding to the scholarship of slavery in Jefferson County.
Time erased Joseph M. White’s Casa Bianca plantation from the landscape - Later, owners sold divided portions of the property, and today, interspersed among the largest holdings by plant nurseries, are smaller ones and two-acre lots. Place Names - Casa Bianca Ridge Road and Casa Bianca Road - are the only remnant designating the location of the plantation. The plantation house, built by slave labor in 1828, burned to the ground from a lightning strike around 1903. Occupying the present site is a modern subdivision with a bronze plaque at the entrance memorializing the Whites and Casa Bianca, though no acknowledgment is made concerning the enslaved people who worked the land and supported the White’ elite lifestyle. in contrast, directly across the highway and east a few hundred yards from the bronze marker stands the Casa Bianca Missionary Baptist Church, founded and pastored by those formerly enslaved at Casa Bianca. The church community, in existence nearly a century and a half, more than twice as long as Casa Bianca plantation, continued to stand as a testament to the survival and tenacity of those forced to live and work at Casa Bianca Plantation.