By the Noble Daring of Her Sons is a tale of ordinary Florida citizens who, during extraordinary times, were called to battle against their fellow countrymen.
Over the past twenty years, historians have worked diligently to explore Florida’s role in the Civil War. Works describing the state’s women and its wartime economy have contributed to this effort, yet until recently the story of Florida’s soldiers in the Confederate armies has been little studied.
This volume explores the story of schoolmates going to war and of families left behind, of a people fighting to maintain a society built on slavery and of a state torn by political and regional strife. Florida in 1860 was very much divided between radical democrats and conservatives.
Before the war the state’s inhabitants engaged in bitter political rivalries, and Sheppard argues that prior to secession Florida citizens maintained regional loyalties rather than considering themselves “Floridians.” He shows that service in Confederate armies helped to ease tensions between various political factions and worked to reduce the state’s regional divisions.
Sheppard also addresses the practices of prisoner parole and exchange, unit consolidation and its effects on morale and unit identity, politics within the Army of Tennessee, and conscription and desertion in the Southern armies. These issues come together to demonstrate the connection between the front lines and the home front.
"By the Noble Daring of Her Sons breaks new ground in Civil War historiography. Sheppard’s vignettes of the soldiers and commanders allow the general reader to develop a rapport with (or “rooting interest” in) his subjects. Sheppard’s writing likewise demonstrates a thorough knowledge of past and current research on the army of the Confederate heartland.” —Zack C. Waters, coauthor of A Small But Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia