Camp Milton, named after Florida's Governor John Milton, was among the most significant fortifications built in Florida by Confederate authorities during the Civil War. Located west of McGirts Creek, Camp Milton became the eastern Florida military headquarters for the Confederate States of America (CSA), housing 6,000 infantry; 1,500 calvary; and 430 field pieces.
The goal of these fortification was to block Union advances along Old Plank Road and the Florida, Atlantic & Gulf Central Railroad (FA&GC) toward Baldwin, Florida, which served as an important Confederate supply center and railhead. Following the Federal defeat at the Battle of Olustee, Camp Milton briefly protected North Florida's primary transportation networks and an agricultural region critical to the Confederate war effort.
The significance of Camp Milton's fortifications have been acknowledged by organizations such as the Bureau of Historic Preservation, the Florida Department of Archives and Historic Resource Management. In 1992, an archeological investigation of the fortification concluded that “ Camp Milton may be one of the most significant sites associated with the Civil War in Florida and state-wide, if not national, significance.” Camp Milton's fortifications were the largest fortifications erected in the state during the Civil War.
Camp Milton has been recognized as the “last remaining unrecognized and unprotected Civil War battle site in the state of Florida.” In fact, the fortification line that lies in the eastern portion of the Rails to Trails Park north of Old Plank Road is one of the very few Civil War era fortifications that has not succumbed to modern development.
Designed and built in 1864 under the supervision of military engineer, Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard, Camp Milton was constructed of earth and wood in the course of several weeks rather than constructed of coquina or brick structures that required years to build. Beauregard's strategy for North Florida was for Camp Milton to draw the Federal troops out of Jacksonville and then force them from the state entirely following a pitched battle with his troops.
Though casualties were considerably light during skirmishes at Camp Milton, more prolonged military action occurred there than at any other Civil War site in Florida.