Return to Dr. Bronson's St. Augustine History
Union Aims In Florida
by Gil Wilson
The following circular seeks to state the aims of the United States government
in regards to Florida and its statehood in a very early section of the war. Note
in particular the belief that there were many Unionists that wanted reunion with
the United States and that this was caused "by the traitorous acts of a few
ambitious and unprincipled men."

Jacksonville, Fla.,
March 20, 1862.

To the People of East Florida: The troops of the United States have come
amongst you to protect loyal citizens and their property from further
molestation by the creatures of a rebel and usurped authority, and to enable
you to resuscitate a Government which they have ruthlessly endeavored to

All loyal people who return to or remain at their homes in the quiet pursuit of
their lawful avocations shall be protected in all their rights within the meaning
and spirit of the Constitution of the United States. The sole desire and
intention of the Government is to maintain the integrity of the Constitution and
the laws and reclaim States which have revolted from their national allegiance
to their former prosperous and happy condition.

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
deathly grasp of the wily savage at a frightful cost of life and treasure, and
who atterwards elevated you from the condition of territorial dependence to
that of a proud and independent State.

I earnestly recommend that in every city, town, and precinct you  assemble in
your primary and sovereign capacity; that you there throw off that sham
government which has been forced upon you; swear true fidelity and
allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and organize your
government and elect your officers in the good old way of the past. When this
is done, then will you see the return of prosperous and happy days, in the
enjoyment of that trade and industry to which your extensive coast is so well
adapted, and in the immunity from that want and suffering to which you have
been so wickedly subjected by the traitorous acts of a few ambitious and
unprincipled men; then will you enjoy the fruits of your honest labor, the
sweets of happy homes, and the consolation of living under those wise and
salutary laws that are due only to an industrious and law-abiding people.

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier- General, Commanding.
General T. W. Sherman