Sarasota in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Judah Philip Benjamin
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
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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 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′ Touch 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). Touch for a list and map 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 http://dclawyeronthecivilwar.blogspot.com/2013/04/sarasotas-hidden-connections-to-civil.html
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. (Submitted on July 16, 2013, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 19, 2013, by Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr. of McLean, Virginia. This page has been viewed 463 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 19, 2013, by Ronald J. Baumgarten, Jr. of McLean, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.