192 HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY VETERANS TO BE HONORED ON CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY
The honored Veterans comprise many local Hillsborough County men who served in Florida units or provided material aide, but the ranks swell with Veterans from 11 other States who came to Florida after the War. All 192 Veterans will have their names called in the Roll of Honor, followed by rifle salute and trumpet “tattoo”.
The three youngest Veterans to be honored are: Paul Boutan LaLane, Thomas K. Spencer, and Darwin Branch Givens. Darwin Branch Givens, as a 6 year old boy, ran through Tampa in 1864, alerting Tampa of an imminent invasion with the cry “The (Yankee) Devils are Coming” in advance of the ’64 invasion. LaLane, 13 at the time, fired cannons on Ft. Sumter, South Carolina on April 12th and 13th. His older brother was a Citadel Cadet and was a member of the Palmetto Guards. Spencer, 15, of Tampa, enlisted as a drummer boy, served for about a year, was discovered as being too young and was discharged. Anxious to contribute he volunteered on a blockade runner, but was captured and languished in a POW camp for 7 months before being released. He then served as a messenger in Florida, and was the last Confederate to surrender.
The oldest veteran, Joseph P. Robles, Sr., Pvt. Commissary Dept., namesake of Robles Park, Robles Elementary, etc. will also be honored, who single handedly captured a Federal raiding party bent on destroying the salt works, critical to food supply.
6 Tampa Mayors will be included in the Roll Call of Honor: J. Alfonso Delaunay, Pvt. 7th FL, Inf., Co, K (3rd Mayor) James McKay, Sr. (6th), who served as Commissary Agent and blockade runner; John B. Jackson (9th), Pvt. 7th FL Inf., Co. K; Josiah Ferris, Pvt. Capt. Dykes Light Art’y (11th) John T. Lesley, Capt. Maj., 4th FL Inf. Co. K ; (Sunny South Guards) (12th); John P. Wall, Pvt. 9th FL Inf., Co. A (16th).
Other notables include: Henry Laurens Mitchell, Capt., 4th FL Inf., Co. K (“Sunny South Guards”) who would become 16th Governor of Florida; Rev. Leroy Lesley, Capt. Munnerlyn’s Btt’n, Co. C (Cow Cavalry), who established the first church in Tampa. Gustav Adolphus Hanson, Capt., & QM, Forrest’s Cav., Hillsborough County Probate Judge; James Gettis, and Hillsborough Co. Judge, Capt., 7th FL inf. Co. B. Givens would become Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court.
The Veteran’s locations of origin hail from as far away as Pennsylvania, Ireland, Germany and Spain, showing the diversity of the men who pledged their life and fate to defend their family against the armed invasion of their States. Ranks range from privates and seamen to Color Sergeants up the ranks to Ships Captains, Surgeons and Colonels.
After the War, these Veterans would be integral threads in the fabric of the growth and prosperity of Hillsborough County. Spencer would become Sherriff, the first to appoint a Black deputy, Levin Armwood; James McKay, Jr. would be the 34th mayor of Tampa, and would continue his father’s shipping business that exists today.
5 unknown Veterans as well as unknown slaves associated with the various Tampa households, whose names are known only to God, will be honored as well. The veterans represent all areas of service: navy, artillery, infantry, cavalry and Civil Service and material aide (include blockade running).