One of the two largest Civil War re-enactments in Florida is the Battle of Olustee. It happens every February at the Olustee Battlefield State Park just a few miles from Lake City, Florida. This is always one of our favorite events to attend each year as
it is always full of many photo opportunities and subjects.
The Battle of Olustee began in February, 1864, when the Union landed in Jacksonville, FL to disrupt transportation & food supplies from Florida that were aiding the Confederate Army.
The union troops, consisting of over 5000 men and 16 cannons, moved west across Florida & were met by Confederate troops at Olustee where the Confederate Generals had decided was the best place to defend Florida due to the nearby lake and swampy land. The Confederates were joined by troops from Georgia and were close in numbers to the Union troops when they finally met in Olustee on February 20, 1864.
They fought through the woods all through the day and the Union troops retreated in the night. This was one of the deadliest battles of the Civil War as over 1800 Union & over 900 Confederate soldiers were killed.
This re-enactment is set up in several areas in the this large state park. There are large encampments for both the Union and Confederate troops. They setup camps by unit and set out authentic items and try to keep everything as close to the period as possible.
There is also an encampment representing the town of Olustee where the women and children stayed.
There is a large area of sutlers which are the “vendors” of the time. You can see & buy all kinds of period items in the sutlers tents. There are a number of educational displays in this area as well.
In the early afternoon they hold a Ladies Tea in the main tent. The ladies put on their finery and come together for tea & fellowship.
The battle on Saturday is a tactical skirmish where they practice and give new recruits some experience. On Sunday they actually re-enact the Battle of Olustee.
Between the camps, the daily events and the battles, this is a day long event that everyone should attend at least once. This is our fifth year and we will be going again next year. There is just so much to see, do and photograph!
That is all for now!