Florida State Capitol Obelisk

Florida's old and new capitol buildings with the Confederate Monument in the right foreground - Tallahassee, Florida.
Confederate Memorial at the Florida Historic Capitol
Close-up View of Confederate Monument at the Old Capitol in Tallahassee.

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Florida State Capitol Obelisk


Florida-Leon County-Old State Capitol-Tallahassee-Obelisk-Confederate Soldiers


On November 6, 1860 Governor Madison Starke Perry appealed for Florida to prepare to secede the United States of America and Join the southern states in creating and organizing a confederacy. On December 22, 1860 a statewide election was held to select delegates for a convention, called the “Convention of the People of Florida,” to make a decision. On January 10, 1861, sixty-nine delegates voted. The Ordinance of Secession was passed with sixty-two voting yes and seven no. Six months later Florida joined the Confederate States of America.

Florida is often forgotten as the third state to secede. The state became integral to the Confederacy as a provider of beef and salt. In 1864 the Confederacy lost control of the Mississippi River and Florida supplied the Confederate Army with cattle.

Floridian troops began to fight in the war in April 1861. In 1864 the war reached Jacksonville docks when Union troops hoped to gain east Florida. Several battles in different parts of Florida ensued. The last battle in the state was in March 1865. Confederate soldiers defeated union troops at the Battle of Natural Bridge. Days before General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, Florida Governor John Milton committed suicide.

Much of the history of the obelisk remains unknown. The obelisk was commissioned by “Women of Leon County” and was dedicated in 1882. One one side of the monument is the dedication inscription which reads “TO RESCUE FROM OBLIVION AND PERPETUATE IN THE MEMORY OF SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS THE HEROIC PATRIOTISM OF THE MEN OF LEON COUNTY WHO PERISHED IN THE CIVIL WAR OF 1861-1885. THIS MONUMENT IS RAISED BY THEIR COUNTRY WOMEN.” The other lists the Civil War battles in which the Confederate Soldiers of Leon County participated. It was originally placed at the west end and later moved to its current location in 1923 by Governor Augustus Hardee and the Florida cabinet.

In 2017 Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor, called for the removal of the monument. Department Management Services of the state reported that the governor has no authority to make such decisions. Since the monument is part of a permanent exhibition at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum only the Florida Legislature has the authority to decide on any actions against the obelisk.




Exterior and Grounds. Florida Historic Capitol Museum. https://www.flhistoriccapitol.gov/Pages/ExhibitsAndCollections/ExteriorGrounds.aspx#:~:text=Exterior%204%20Confederate%20Monument,its%20present%20location%20in%201923.

“Timeline.” Florida in the Civil War Documents. Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. https://www.floridamemory.com/learn/classroom/learning-units/civil-war/timeline/

“Ordinance of Secession, 1861.” Florida in the Civil War Documents. Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. https://www.floridamemory.com/learn/classroom/learning-units/civil-war/documents/secession/#:~:text=We%2C%20the%20people%20of%20the,States%3A%20and%20that%20all%20political

Rosica, Jim. “Andrew Gillum: Get rid of Capitol’s Confederate memorial.” Florida Politics. August 17, 2017. https://floridapolitics.com/archives/243148-andrew-gillum-confederate-memorial/


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Marbella Valeriano Garcia


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Confederate Memory in the Sunshine State


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HIST 401A Fall 2023


State Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida