Chad Germany will be working in the archive at St. Augustine Historical Society’s Research Library on “Digitizing St. Augustine’s Civil War Years.” The project is an effort to transcribe and encode primary documents pertaining to the era using TEI–XML, towards the creation of a digital archive available within the SAHS online catalogue. Period photographs taken by Sam A. Cooley will buttress the documents with views of Forth Marion, the USS George C. Collins, St. Francis Barracks and other structures related to the war effort.
Using letters, journals, transcripts, and pension forms, this project will put together a social picture, posing the question: “What was day–to–day life like in Civil War St. Augustine?” Written during his stay, Union Captain Blaky Mason’s 8–page “Report on St. Augustine” describes the town as a “curious looking old dilapidated thing” in between descriptions of barrack conditions, Fort Marion and the recently constructed sea wall. Valuable is his street level view of the town’s diverse population during occupation: “Next the streets will be thronged with Priests – Sisters of Charity – Spaniards – Minorcans – Soldiers and blacks,” comparing the scene to nothing he’d experienced in his home of Kingston, N.H.
Dr. Charles Closmann is associate professor of History, chair of the History Department, and a member of the UNF Environmental Center Board. He earned his PhD in History at the University of Houston in 2002. He specializes in the history of modern Europe, the environmental history of Germany, and the environmental history of the United States. He is the editor of War and the Environment: Military Destruction in the Modern Age, published by Texas A&M University Press in 2009, and is the author of several other articles and chapters.
Actions against citizen dissent will be presented with Union arrest transcripts. St. Augustine resident Miss Christina Sanchez was detained for treason after a small Confederate flag was found attached to a birdcage in her house. The charges were later acquitted as the canary was found to be treasonous and not her.
Sources: Mason, B. (1863, April 24). A Report on St. Augustine [Letter to “Friend Frank”]. St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, St. Augustine, Florida.
Chad Germany is a senior at UNF majoring in History and minoring in sociology. His historical interests are in First Period Spanish Colonial St. Augustine, Flagler’s St. Augustine, and the European Enlightenment. He has contributed to the DHI project Editing the Eartha M.M. White Archives, works as a docent at the Lightner Museum and has volunteered at the SAHS research library in preparation for his Spring 2017 internship and digitizing project. Post–graduation, Chad plans to attend Florida State University for a master’s in library science, with a focus on archives.