|Mouth of the St. Johns River|
|Hon. William Marvin|
U.S. District Judge
...A meeting was called there last night by the citizens and the strongest Union resolutions passed, expressing the determination of the people of Florida to be a part of the Union and condemning the Confederate States Government as never having been approved by the people of Florida. - Flag Officer S.F. Du Pont, U.S. Navy, March 21, 1862.
Photo courtesy of Brian Mabelitini
...There is great satisfaction in the fact, now become patent to all, that a large portion of you still cling, in your hearts, to that mother who first liberated you from the thraldom of a despotic government; who next rescued you from the deadly grasp of the wiley savage, at a frightful cost of life and treasure; and who afterwards elevated you from the condition of territorial dependence to that of a proud and independent State. - Gen. T.W. Sherman, U.S. Army, March 20, 1862.
|Gen. T.W. Sherman, U.S.A.|
Library of Congress
The author of the circular was Brigader General T.W. Sherman, who should not be confused for the better known General William Tecumseh Sherman. He went on to recommend that the citizens "assemble in your primary and sovereign capacity; that you throw off that sham government which has been forced upon you; swear true fidelity and allegience to the Constitution of the United States."
Sherman's circular is a fascinating document in that it recognizes in an official way that Florida was a "proud and independent State." If, as General Sherman proclaimed in an official document, Florida was an "independent State" and its citizens capable of acting in a "primary and sovereign capacity," the was he recognizing that the Sunshine State was indeed an independent entity? And if it was an independent entity, could it not legally secede from the Union?
The circular issued from Jacksonville raises serious questions about whether the U.S. Army, through General T.W. Sherman, officially recognized the legal sovereignty of Florida on March 20, 1862.