Private John B. Sands was born in 1841 at Ragged Island, Bahamas.
He was mustered into service on November 27th, 1861 as seaman with Captain Henry Mulrenan’s Florida Volunteer Coast Guards; on January 9th, 1862 he was assigned to the crew of the Mollie Post. He remained in this unit until mustered into Confederate service on April 25th, 1862 when he was enlisted as a Private in Captain Smith’s Company (Key West Avengers), 7th Regiment Florida Infantry by Major R. B. Thomas at Tampa, Florida for a period of 3 years or the war.
He is reported present on all rolls until his transfer to the C.S. Navy on August 5th, 1862 while at Knoxville, Tennessee. He was sent from the Navy Yard to Columbus, Georgia, in November, 1862, for service aboard the CSS Chattahoochee. On May 27th, 1863 he was onboard CSS Chattahoochee when the explosion of her boilers occurred; he escaped the accident unharmed, and was transferred to Columbus with the remaining survivors, arriving there on June 1st, 1863. He would be assigned to CSS Savannah, and served in her until December 21st, 1864, when the vessel was fired and scuttled to avoid capture by General Sherman’s forces at Savannah. He was sent to Charleston, South Carolina, then to Wilmington, North Carolina where he served at Fort Fisher. After the fall of the fort, he escaped and went to Wilmington, then to Richmond, Virginia.
He was a member of Company B, Naval Battalion and was captured at Burkeville following the Battle of Saylor’s Creek. He was paroled at Burkeville Junction, Virginia, April 9th, 1865.
He returned to Key West and married Eliza Demeritt, at Key West, Florida, on March 17, 1872. John died on October 25th, 1899 at Key West, Monroe County, Florida. Eliza applied for and was granted a Confederate Widow's Pension for her husband's service.