Floyd, John Buchanan

Life Span
Dickinson Connection
John B. Floyd's father was in the class of 1798 and a member of the Union Philosophical Society
    Full name
    John Buchanan Floyd
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    John Floyd (father), Letitia Preston (mother), Sally Buchanan Preston (wife), Dr. Thomas Cooper (father-in-law)
    Other Education
    South Carolina College
    Attorney or Judge
    Farmer or Planter
    Political Parties
    Other Affiliations
    Other Affiliation
    Central Southern Rights Association
    Buchanan Administration (1857-61)
    State legislature
    Confederate Army

    John Buchanan Floyd, Governor (American National Biography)

    In December 1848 Floyd was elected governor by a coalition of Democrats and Whigs, who supported his views on constitutional reform and internal improvements. As governor he advocated white manhood suffrage, a more equitable apportionment of the legislature on the basis of the white population, and an elective judiciary. He also pushed for an extensive program of turnpike, canal, and railroad construction. His administration stabilized the commonwealth's credit through a program of bond sales and oversaw an unprecedented expansion of appropriations for internal improvements. Floyd continued to defend southern rights while governor. He sought to strengthen slavery by aiding the Virginia Colonization Society in the removal of the commonwealth's free black population. He attacked the "never ending aggression" of the northern abolitionists and proposed that the commonwealth tax the incoming goods from those free states that persisted in refusing to return fugitive slaves. Finally, Governor Floyd issued a call for a national convention to oppose "agitation of the slavery question" and aided the formation in Richmond of the Central Southern Rights Association. He warned that, if the South did not resist, the northern fanatics would eventually control Congress and eliminate slavery.
    William G. Shade, "Floyd, John Buchanan,” American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00382.html.

    John Buchanan Floyd, Secretary of War (American National Biography)

    [President James] Buchanan, seeking a Virginian for his cabinet, brought Floyd in as secretary of war when [Henry Alexander] Wise turned down the offer of a position as secretary of state. There Floyd acted with the "directory" of prosouthern advisers, repudiating Robert J. Walker's handling of the situation in Kansas and favoring the acceptance of the proslavery Lecompton constitution. Unfortunately, he became infamous for his slipshod administration of the War Department. Not only did Floyd favor his friends and relatives in awarding government contracts, but he also became increasingly involved in issuing "acceptances" that allowed contractors to borrow money against their promissory notes signed by the secretary of war…Throughout his political career, Floyd had been a states' rights Democrat and an outspoken defender of slavery and southern rights. On 3 December 1860 he asserted that he was "not for secession as long as any honorable effort can be made to preserve the Union…guaranteeing…protection to the negro property of the South." As southern states began to secede and the charges of misconduct mounted against him, Floyd increasingly embraced secession. Once Virginia had seceded, Floyd raised a brigade of volunteers and joined in the attempt to secure western Virginia for the Confederacy. Although he took part in the minor engagements at Cross Lanes and Carnifex Ferry, Floyd spent most of his energies in western Virginia bickering with his fellow officer Wise. His performance was generally inept and his troops were driven back.
    William G. Shade, "Floyd, John Buchanan,” American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00382.html.
    Date Title
    Washington (DC) National Era, "Senator Wilson and the Disunionists," January 29, 1857
    New York Times, "Cabinet Rumors at Washington," February 20, 1857
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “Rumored Breaking Up of the Cabinet,” June 18, 1858
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "More Fighting and More Drains upon the Treasury," July 5, 1858
    New York Times, "Presidential Candidates," July 14, 1858
    New York Times, “Reasons why all Parties should Nominate Southern Candidates for President in 1860,” December 27, 1858
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “Probably Fatal Illness of Secretary Floyd,” July 6, 1859
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “Folly,” July 25, 1859
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “Change in the Cabinet,” August 22, 1859
    New York Times, “The Secretary at War Defended,” September 6, 1860
    New York Times, “When to Secede,” September 28, 1860
    New York Times, “Buchanan vs. Gen Scott,” November 2, 1860
    New York Times, "The Administration and Disunion," November 7, 1860
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer,"U. S. Arsenal," November 26, 1860
    New York Herald, "General Scott Wanted At Washington," November 28, 1860
    Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Organize For Safety,” December 28, 1860
    New York Times, “Flight of a Great Criminal,” December 31, 1860
    New York Herald, “Ex-Secretary Floyd on the Crisis,” January 15, 1861
    "The Floyd Banquet," New York Herald, January 17, 1861
    New York Times, “An Unsatisfactory Defence,” February 15, 1861
    Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Bad For Virginia,” February 20, 1861
    New York Times, “Traitor Officers,” February 26, 1861
    Atchison (KS) Freedom’s Champion, “One of Floyd’s Performances,” June 29, 1861
    Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Resignation of Secretary Cameron,” January 14, 1862
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Auchampaugh, Philip Gerald. “John B. Floyd and James Buchanan.” Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine 4 (April 1923): 381-388. view record
    Auchampaugh, Philip Gerald. James Buchanan and His Cabinet on the Eve of Secession. Lancaster, PA: Privately printed, 1926. view record
    Belohlavek, John M. "The Politics of Scandal: A Reassessment of John B. Floyd as Secretary of War, 1857-1861." West Virginia History 31, no. 3 (1970): 145-160. view record
    Hughes, Robert M. “Floyd’s Resignation from Buchanan’s Cabinet.” Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine 5 (1923): 73-95. view record
    How to Cite This Page: "Floyd, John Buchanan," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/5666.