The 2nd Florida was organized near Jacksonville, Florida on July 13, 1861 and mustered into Confederate service for a twelve-month term of enlistment. The regiment was sent to the Eastern Theater of the war and placed in the Confederacy's main army in Virginia. The regiment first saw combat the following year during the Peninsula Campaign at the Battles of Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Gaines Mill, and Malvern Hill.
Following the Peninsula Campaign, the 2nd Florida was assigned to the newly formed Florida Brigade alongside the 5th and 8th Florida. The 2nd Florida's colonel, Edward A. Perry, was promoted to brigadier general and given command of the brigade. Perry's Brigade served under Anderson’s Division of Longstreet’s First Corps, of the Army of Northern Virginia.
As a component of Perry's Brigade, the 2nd Florida continued to serve through the Army of Northern Virginia's campaigns. Through the remainder of 1862, the regiment participated in the Battles of Second Manassas in August, Sharpsburg in September, and Fredericksburg in December. In May 1863, the 2nd Florida fought in the Battle of Chancellorsville. As the Army of Northern Virginia began preparations for its invasion of Pennsylvania, Brig. Gen. Perry fell ill with typhoid and command of the Florida Brigade devolved to Colonel David Lang of the 8th. The Florida Brigade was engaged at the Battle of Gettysburg and participated in Pickett's Charge on the battle's third and final day.
After the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania in 1864, the Brigade was joined by the victors of the Battle of Olustee, the 9th, 10th, and 11th Regiments. Brigadier General Joseph Finegan, the commander of Florida forces at Olustee, took command of the Florida Brigade.
The remainder of 1864 saw the 2nd Florida fight at the Battle of Cold Harbor in June and settle into static defenses at the Siege of Petersburg. Following the fall of Petersburg and Richmond the following spring, the Florida Brigade retreated with the Army of Northern Virginia and surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. By the time of surrender, the regiments of the brigade were dramatically understrength. The 2nd, 5th, and 8th surrendered 68, 53, and 32 men respectively. The 9th, 10th, and 11th surrendered 124, 162, and 23. Most of the 11th had been cut off in the Army’s retreat and had previously surrendered.
The Steam Sloop of War USS Pawnee, was placed into service in 1860 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It quickly responded to the commencement of hostilities by steaming to Washington D.C. to help protect the capital which had virtually no defense at the start of the war. The Marines from the Pawnee formed a guard unit that manned a large gun, and served as landing party. They participated in the battle of Port Royal, going ashore to capture a fort on St Helena Island.They performed raids around James Island in the campaign to blockade Charleston SC. They participated in landings as far south as North Florida. The unit started at 30 men with a Lt in charge and later dropped to just over 20 with an Orderly Sgt in command.