150th Anniversary Of Civil War Battle In Olustee
OLUSTEE - Some in North Central Florida re-lived history today. During the civil war the largest battle in the state happened in Baker County. We take you inside the 150th reenactment of this battle.
It's Florida's largest and bloodiest civil war battle and it happened 150 years ago. This weekend more than two thousand demonstrators presented living history here in Olustee.
In an open field with tall grass, shots can be heard and and puffs of smoke can be seen as soldiers re-enact the battle of Olustee which was fought on february 20th 1864. It was Union soldiers versus Confederate soldiers. Jerry Franklin a reenactor said, "From what I understand the federal troops were coming in and trying to take Tallahasse and Florida. They ran into heavy opposition from the confederates here in olustee and the confederates stopped in their tracks and pushed them hard back all the way to Jacksonville, where they stayed all the way till the end of the war."
Franklin says he loves being involved in this type of work, because of his southern heritage and for the experience on the field. "Each unit gets out and they practice and drill on their own before these battles. And then they come out here and participate in the battle. And every maneuver you see, everything you see out there is historically correct," Franklin said.
The battle ended at dusk with a victory for the Confederates after the Union troops retreated. Andrea Thomas a Park Service Specialist said, "It's important to know your own states history but also you country's history and what is offered in this area-- we have such a historical event that we can memorialize like this."
Spectators not only got to check out the battle but also the lifestyle of civilians and the military during this period. "We have authentic encampments set up, we have period services, educational demonstrations. A living history, sutler camp and original town of olustee is set up so that people can walk through and see what it was like during the civil war," Thomas said.
With almost 3,000 casualties this is one of the bloodiest battles fought in the civil war. "This hobby or whatever you want to call it... A lot of people want to make out like it's just a bunch of southerners that don't want to forget the past. Its in out heart it's out blood. It's not just southerners out here. You see these northerners out here and they come from up north to participate in this battle. So they're trying to honor what happened here and in other places around. That is one of the greatest conflicts of our country-- fighting amongst ourselves. It's sad that it happened but it did unite the country and make it much stronger," Franklin said.
This is the 38th year that this reenactment takes place. For more information click here.
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