Camp Milton, C.S.A.
The overgrown earthworks at
Camp Milton were designed
by Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard.
Boardwalk at Camp Milton
A boardwalk leads to the
surviving earthworks of Camp
Milton. Interpretive panels
help visitors visualize the site.
Camp Milton Historic Preserve - Jacksonville, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Camp Milton Historic Preserve, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Camp Milton Historic Preserve, Florida
Camp Milton Historic Preserve
Once the site of important Confederate camps and
siege works, the preserve is a beautiful historic
preservation effort in Jacksonville, Florida.
Siege works from the Civil War
Camp Milton Historic Preserve, located on
the western edge of
Jacksonville, preserves
what remains of one of the most important
Civil War sites in Florida.

In 1864, following the
Battle of Olustee, the
Confederate army pushed forward to McGirt's
Creek and laid siege to the defeated Union
army. General P.G.T. Beauregard arrived on
the scene and planned a system of earthen
fortifications that stretched for nearly three
miles along the west side of the creek.

Named for Governor John Milton, the works
were occupied by 7,500 Confederates and
were armed with 430 pieces of light artillery.
Camp Milton was without doubt the strongest
field fortification built in Florida during the
Civil War.

The name Camp Milton first appears in
Confederate reports on March 7, 1862, when
General Beauregard indicated he was at
"Camp Milton, near McGirt's Creek, Fla." in a
dispatch to Richmond. He reached that point
on March 2nd, just a few days after the major
Confederate victory at Olustee, but was
disappointed to find that the retreating Union
army had not been pursued aggressively and
had been given time to reorganize.

Beauregard, an outstanding engineer,
decided to position his army across the
primary rail line leading west from the city of
Jacksonville where he could block any further
advances by the enemy. The fortifications he
designed were described with wonder by a
Union officer sometime later:

The breastworks were made of huge logs
firmly fastened and covered with earth. The
log part was 6 wide at the bottom and 3 at the
top. They were proof against field artillery.
The stockades were composed of timber
from 12 to 16 inches thick, with loop-holes 2
feet apart. Their base was protected by earth
thrown up from a ditch which ran along the
whole line of works. There was a salient or re-
entering angle at about every 150 yards. Two
batteries in the rear completely commanded
the railroad, and in addition to being very
strong were most elaborately finished, having
a sharpness of outline almost equal to
masonry.

After another great battle did not develop, the
Confederates soon reduced the strength of
their forces at Camp Milton to return men
who had been hurried to Florida back to their
previous positions in Georgia and South
Carolina. By June 1, 1864, the fortifications
were held only by a token force of Southern
cavalry that fell back quickly when Union
forces finally moved to capture the line.
The Federal troops did what they could to
destroy the massive fortifications by setting
fire to the log stockades and doing as much
damage as possible to the earthworks.

Time ultimately completed what armies
could not. Residential development and
commercial growth gradually erased most of
the three-mile long line until all that remained
was a section just a few hundred feet long.

A beautiful park area, the Camp Milton
Historic Preserve features a boardwalk that
helps visitors explore the surviving
earthworks of Beauregard's line, numerous
interpretive panels, avenues of trees
obtained from key Civil War battlefields,
interpretive facilities, a reconstructed bridge
and a preserved 19th century house.

The park is located just off Interstate 10 on
Exit 351.
Please click here to visit the
preserve's website for directions and more
information. There is no charge to visit Camp
Milton.
Confederate Earthworks
The earthworks at Camp
Milton are all that survive of a
three mile long siege line.
19th Century Florida House
The preserve also protects a
19th century home built on the
Camp Milton site in later
years.
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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