“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sarasota in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Judah Philip Benjamin

Judah Philip Benjamin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr., April 9, 2013
1. Judah Philip Benjamin Marker
Front side of the marker.
Inscription. Judah P. Benjamin, later considered "the Brains of the Confederacy," was an American lawyer and statesman. He was born on Saint Croix Island in 1811, grew up in South Carolina, and was educated at Yale College. He practiced law in New Orleans, Louisiana and became prominent in politics, serving first with the Whigs and afterward with the Democrats. He represented Louisiana in the U.S. Senate from 1853 until that state seceded from the Union in 1861. Confederate President Jefferson Davis first appointed Benjamin as Atrorney General. Later in 1861, Davis named him Secretary of War and, four months later, Secretary of State.

With invasion of the Confederate capitol by Union forces imminent, President Davis and his cabinet fled south from Richmond, Virginia on April 2, 1865. When they reached Charlotte, North Carolina, news arrived of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14. In north Georgia, Davis, Benjamin and other cabinet members, parted company.

Sometime in May, Captain Leroy Lesley and Captain James McKay successfully secreted Benjamin first to Lesley's home in Brooksville, Florida, then later to McKay's home in Tampa.

(continued from other side)
Under the cover of a violent storm, Lesley's son and McKay took the disguised Benjamin to the Gamble Mansion in Ellenton. At the mansion
Judah Philip Benjamin Marker (reverse side) image. Click for full size.
By Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr., April 9, 2013
2. Judah Philip Benjamin Marker (reverse side)
was Hiram McLeod who knew local waters as well as the wagon trails in the area.

When a federal landing force suddenly appeared on the approach to the mansion, Benjamin was spirited away to the Manatee River home of Captain Frederick Tresca and his family for about a month. There, Tresca's wife Louise sewed pleats into Benjamin's vest and waistband to conceal gold coins.

After Benjamin, Tresca and others formulated a plan, Ezekial Glazier drove a two-wheeled spring wagon from the Tresca home to the William Whitaker home in Sarasota. Hidden in the wagon under a load of freshly butchered beef covered over with palmetto leaves was the Confederate Secretary of State. In Sarasota, Tresca and Hiram McLeod took Benjamin aboard their sixteen-foot open sloop and quietly slipped out of Whitaker Bayou on June 23, 1865. They deposited Benjamin in Bimini on Monday, July 10. Benjamin eventually reached England where he established a new legal career and lived until his death in 1884.
Erected 1999 by Sarasota County Historical Commission.
Location. 27° 20.519′ N, 82° 32.817′ W. Marker is in Sarasota, Florida, in Sarasota County. Marker is at the intersection of N. Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) and 10th St., on the left when traveling north on N. Tamiami
A view of Yellow Bluffs along Sarasota Bay image. Click for full size.
By Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr., April 9, 2013
3. A view of Yellow Bluffs along Sarasota Bay
Benjamin set out from these waters in June 1865.
Trail. Click for map. The marker is located at a pull off area close to the Sarasota County Visitor Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 701 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota FL 34236, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Judah P. Benjamin Monument (here, next to this marker); Yellow Bluffs (approx. 0.4 miles away); John D. MacDonald 1916-1986/John D. and the Friday Liars (approx. 0.4 miles away); City of Sarasota (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bidwell-Wood House (approx. half a mile away); Mary Wyatt Whitaker (approx. half a mile away); Cedar Point/Sunset Park - Cedar Point/Golden Gate Point (approx. half a mile away); Landing of the Scots (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Sarasota.
Regarding Judah Philip Benjamin. For additional information on Benjamin's escape, as well as Sarasota during the Civil War, see
Also see . . .
1. The Jewish Rebel. This article from the N.Y. Times Disunion blog provides additional information on Benjamin. (Submitted on May 19, 2013, by Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr. of McLean, Virginia.) 

2. Judah Philip Benjamin - Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Judah P. Benjamin image. Click for full size.
By Unknown
4. Judah P. Benjamin
Benjamin served as a Confederate Attorney General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State.
. (Submitted on July 16, 2013, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr. of McLean, Virginia. This page has been viewed 326 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr. of McLean, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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