Thursday, February 19, 2009
The Battle of Olustee, Florida
Tomorrow, February 20th, will mark the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Olustee, the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida.
For hours on February 20, 1864, more than 10,000 Union and Confederate soldiers blazed away at each other in the open pine woods east of Lake City, Florida. Neither side used breastworks or fortifications of any kind, which probably explains why according to some sources it was the bloodiest battle of the war, percentage-wise, for the Union army.
The Battle of Olustee was a dramatic Confederate victory that ended an amazing campaign that had its roots in a political scheme to return at least part of Florida to the Union in time for the state's electoral votes to play a part in the 1864 Presidential Election.
The site of the battle is now preserved at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, located on U.S. 90 about 13 miles east of Lake City.
The site preserves a key area of the battlefield and offers a museum, walking trails, monuments, interpretive signs and a chance to explore Florida's little known role in the Civil War. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/olustee.