What is a perfect National Guardsman? In the tradition of the Minuteman or Florida’s own Spanish Milicia, the perfect Guardsman must be a citizen engaged in the pursuits of a normal civilian life. He must also be a soldier, trained, equipped and willing to defend his nation from its enemies.
In 1898, the U.S. government asked Florida to provide one regiment of troops in twelve companies for service in the Spanish-American War. All 20 officially recognized companies of Florida State Troops volunteered.
Florida provided 15 general officers to the Confederate cause during the Civil War. some were, or had been, professional soldiers. Most were not.
The great majority of Florida’s soldiers saw active service in the Confederate cause beyond the state’s northern border. Nearly one half of all Floridians who served beyond the border never returned to their home state, or returned maimed.
Florida provided five companies of militia volunteers for federal service during the war with Mexico, 1846-1848. Included in the list are only those men from Florida companies.
Black Floridians served in militias during periods Spanish, British and American but would not become members of the Florida National Guard until the mid-1960s. Here’s a look at Florida’s Black Militia.
By 1812, the majority of Florida’s residents were Anglos: former British Loyalists, recent British immigrants, or new settlers from the American states to the north. Spanish laws were strict. To have property or any other type of resident rights, one had to serve in the militia.