The Jackson County War offers original conclusions explaining why Jackson County became the bloodiest region in Reconstruction Florida and is the first book-length treatment of the subject.
From early 1869 through the end of 1871, citizens of Jackson County, Florida, slaughtered their neighbors by the score. The nearly threeyear frenzy of bloodshed became known as the Jackson County War. The killings, close to one hundred and by some estimates twice that number, brought Jackson County the notoriety of being the most violent county in Florida during the Reconstruction era. Daniel R. Weinfeld has made a thorough investigation of contemporary accounts. He adds an assessment of recently discovered information, and presents a critical evaluation of the standard secondary sources.
The Jackson County War focuses on the role of the Freedmen’s Bureau, the emergence of white “Regulators,” and the development of African American political consciousness and leadership. It follows the community’s descent after the Civil War into disorder punctuated by furious outbursts of violence until the county settled into uneasy stability seven years later. The Jackson County War emerges as an emblem of all that could and did go wrong in the uneasy years after Appomattox and that left a residue of hatred and fear that endured for generations.
“Weinfeld’s work adds to our understanding of the period because it is the first book-length examination of Floridians’ use of terror to restrict the freedom enjoyed by African Americans. Moreover, the work illustrates the forces the reader to confront the extreme lengths many white Jackson County residents went to ensure the continuance of their privileged status after the South’s defeat in the Civil War.” --Learotha Williams, Jr., Tennessee State Univ., Civil War History
" Weinfeld demonstrates the relevance of this history through his scholarship and writings, while reintroducing the Jackson County war to a new generation of students, lay and professional historians. Those interested in Florida politics, Reconstruction, race relations, racial violence, Southern history and the Civil War will enjoy this work." --Will Guzman, Florida A&M Univ., Florida Historical Quarterly
"… The Jackson County War represents the best in local history, providing students as well as scholars with a meaningful examination of violence during the turbulent post-Civil War era. This book is a must-read for everyone who is interested in learning more about grassroots Reconstruction in Florida. "--Kenneth W. Howell , Prairie A&M Univ. Journal of Southern History
".... Weinfeld skillfully and colorfully tells the dramatic story of a place that plunged into a nightmare of terrorism and bloodshed." --Paul Searles, Lyndon State Univ. Vermont History winter/spring 2013
As exciting as combat was during the war, the postwar Reconstruction era in the panhandle of Florida was a hard struggle for both races with the occasional murder of a freedman keeping blacks and white suspicious of each other. And then the Klan came along…. This book is a finely detailed account of everyday life under Reconstruction….The Jackson County War does not dwell on the politics of Reconstruction, but it is rich in the daily details of what life was like for several years after the war. White planters did not like the growing independence of their former slaves, and the former slaves were often unable to leave those same plantations because they had nowhere to go. Still, they wanted to make a better, more independent life for themselves. This is a sad but informative tale of Reconstruction at the grassroots level.- Civil War News
“Daniel Weinfeld’s The Jackson County War is a superbly written account of the violence that rocked this county in the Florida panhandle between early 1869 and the end of 1871, as neighbors murdered neighbors in a killing spree that took between 100 and 200 lives. Weinberg traces the events and looks at why Reconstruction violence was so much worse in this one county than in the rest of Florida. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War--indeed, in a very real sense, the continuation of the war--including the activities of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the abortive struggle of the former slaves and their white allies to maintain the gains they had made.”—North & South magazine
“Researched in-depth and written in an articulate, straightforward manner, The Jackson County War by far represents the single best available source for information on crucial events of Florida’s Reconstruction experience as well as a provocative analysis of the realities of southern post–Civil War violence and the dynamics of partisan expression as an underlying factor in molding southern historiography.”—Canter Brown Jr., author of Florida’s Black Public Officials, 1867-1924