The Free State Of Suwannee?


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Joshism

Sergeant Major
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Apr 30, 2012
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Jupiter, FL
"This Suwannee country has always borne a hard name. . . . During the [Civil] war it was a favorite retreat for Confederate deserters. Its inhabitants defied the conscription. They virtually seceded from the Confederacy, and ravaged adjacent territory with impunity. They had repeated raids into Madison county, Georgia [sic]*, murdering and plundering the inhabitants without mercy. So outrageous was their depredations that the rebel government was compelled to send an expedition to punish them. It was commanded by Col. Canfield, a brave South Carolina soldier. He swept the district with fire and sword. Drumhead courts-martial met almost hourly. Over a score of the most notorious desperadoes were hanged, and the country was restored to law and order. Canfield's name, however, became a terror to the inhabitants, and to this day they curse him as bitterly as the Irish curse Cromwell."
-Amos Jay Cummings aka Ziska in the New York Sun on June 4, 1874 (reprinted in Frolicking Bears, Wet Vultures, and Other Oddities pgs 184-185).

* Madison County, Georgia is next to Athens, far from Florida. Cummings surely means Madison County, Florida which borders the Suwanee River on its east side and Lafayette County on part of its south side.

The accompanying annotation (Frolicking Bears pg 264):
"In a newspaper article apparently from the Mayo Free Press [Mayo is the seat of Lafayette County] entitled 'Lafayette County History, Seven of a Series' author Holmes M. Melton Jr., quoting from the diary of a soldier living in the Suwanee country, writes that the raiders were led by Major Campfield from Alabama." Melton's articles were subsequently published in 1974 as Lafayette County: History and Heritage (a short booklet).

Can anyone shed further light on anti-Confederate resistance in Lafayette County and/or the Suwannee River valley of Florida? Cummings' second- or third-hand stories tend to be of dubious reliability so I'm not sure how much fire is behind the smoke here.
 
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leftyhunter

Colonel
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May 27, 2011
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los angeles ca
"This Suwannee country has always borne a hard name. . . . During the [Civil] war it was a favorite retreat for Confederate deserters. Its inhabitants defied the conscription. They virtually seceded from the Confederacy, and ravaged adjacent territory with impunity. They had repeated raids into Madison county, Georgia [sic]*, murdering and plundering the inhabitants without mercy. So outrageous was their depredations that the rebel government was compelled to send an expedition to punish them. It was commanded by Col. Canfield, a brave South Carolina soldier. He swept the district with fire and sword. Drumhead courts-martial met almost hourly. Over a score of the most notorious desperadoes were hanged, and the country was restored to law and order. Canfield's name, however, became a terror to the inhabitants, and to this day they curse him as bitterly as the Irish curse Cromwell."
-Amos Jay Cummings aka Ziska in the New York Sun on June 4, 1874 (reprinted in Frolicking Bears, Wet Vultures, and Other Oddities pgs 184-185).

* Madison County, Georgia is next to Athens, far from Florida. Cummings surely means Madison County, Florida which borders the Suwanee River on its east side and Lafayette County on part of its south side.

The accompanying annotation (Frolicking Bears pg 264):
"In a newspaper article apparently from the Mayo Free Press [Mayo is the seat of Lafayette County] entitled 'Lafayette County History, Seven of a Series' author Holmes M. Melton Jr., quoting from the diary of a soldier living in the Suwanee country, writes that the raiders were led by Major Campfield from Alabama." Melton's articles were subsequently published in 1974 as Lafayette County: History and Heritage (a short booklet).

Can anyone shed further light on anti-Confederate resistance in Lafayette County and/or the Suwannee River valley of Florida? Cummings' second- or third-hand stories tend to be of dubious reliability so I'm not sure how much fire is behind the smoke here.
Daniel Sutherland a noted author and professor on the Civil War noted that the St.John river area of Florida had the highest amount of Unionist guerrilla activity. If there was a way to reach out to Sutherland he would know.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Colonel
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
16,820
Location
los angeles ca
"This Suwannee country has always borne a hard name. . . . During the [Civil] war it was a favorite retreat for Confederate deserters. Its inhabitants defied the conscription. They virtually seceded from the Confederacy, and ravaged adjacent territory with impunity. They had repeated raids into Madison county, Georgia [sic]*, murdering and plundering the inhabitants without mercy. So outrageous was their depredations that the rebel government was compelled to send an expedition to punish them. It was commanded by Col. Canfield, a brave South Carolina soldier. He swept the district with fire and sword. Drumhead courts-martial met almost hourly. Over a score of the most notorious desperadoes were hanged, and the country was restored to law and order. Canfield's name, however, became a terror to the inhabitants, and to this day they curse him as bitterly as the Irish curse Cromwell."
-Amos Jay Cummings aka Ziska in the New York Sun on June 4, 1874 (reprinted in Frolicking Bears, Wet Vultures, and Other Oddities pgs 184-185).

* Madison County, Georgia is next to Athens, far from Florida. Cummings surely means Madison County, Florida which borders the Suwanee River on its east side and Lafayette County on part of its south side.

The accompanying annotation (Frolicking Bears pg 264):
"In a newspaper article apparently from the Mayo Free Press [Mayo is the seat of Lafayette County] entitled 'Lafayette County History, Seven of a Series' author Holmes M. Melton Jr., quoting from the diary of a soldier living in the Suwanee country, writes that the raiders were led by Major Campfield from Alabama." Melton's articles were subsequently published in 1974 as Lafayette County: History and Heritage (a short booklet).

Can anyone shed further light on anti-Confederate resistance in Lafayette County and/or the Suwannee River valley of Florida? Cummings' second- or third-hand stories tend to be of dubious reliability so I'm not sure how much fire is behind the smoke here.
If you goggle Daniel Sutherland civil war professor there is a ling to him at the University of Arkansas with his email. I am not at home now and have some problems with my server. Anyway Sutherland might answer a few brief questions about the Swannee area or at least refer you to sources. It's worth a try.
Leftyhunter
 

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