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Olustee Battlefield
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
File:Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park01.jpg
LocationBaker County, Florida, USA
Nearest cityOlustee, Florida
Coordinates30°12′29″N 82°25′2″W / 30.20806°N 82.41722°W / 30.20806; -82.41722Coordinates: 30°12′29″N 82°25′2″W / 30.20806°N 82.41722°W / 30.20806; -82.41722
EstablishedAugust 12, 1970
Governing bodyFlorida Department of Environmental Protection

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park is a Florida State Park in the Osceola National Forest, near the town of Olustee. The site of Florida's largest Civil War battle, the park is located 50 miles (80 km) west of Jacksonville and 15 miles (24 km) east of Lake City, on U.S. 90. It also has the honor of being the first park in the Florida State Park system.

The State of Florida actually owns only 3.09 acres (12,500 m2) of the Park, but manages another 688 acres (2.78 km2) of the original battlefield under a Special Use Permit from the United States Forest Service.

Under the title of Olustee Battlefield, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on August 12, 1970.

History[]

The Battle of Olustee was fought on the afternoon of February 20, 1864. It is recreated annually during that month by Civil War reenactors.

In 1897, the Florida Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) began raising funds to place a monument at the battle site. Two years later, the Florida Legislature appropriated $2,500.00 and established a commission to oversee construction of the monument. The project was completed in 1912, and the monument was officially dedicated on October 23, 1912. The UDC administered the Olustee Battlefield Memorial until 1949, when the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials assumed responsibility. Today the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks.[1]

Recreational activities[]

File:OlusteeMonument.jpg

Monument dedicated to the Battle of Olustee

Year-round park activities include hiking, picnicing, and viewing interpretive displays. Amenities include a one mile (1.6 km) hiking trail with interpretive displays, picnic tables and a small interpretive center about the battle. In addition, the Florida Trail goes through the Historic Site, with the Olustee Trailhead close to the entrance just off U.S. 90.

A one-day Expo is held every September, on a Saturday late in the month (see Footnotes), with reenactors portraying infantry, cavalry, artillery and 1860s civilians. Historical displays include weapons, books, slave histories, sutlers (period merchants), blacksmiths, and others.[2]

On one weekend every February (see Footnotes), thousands of reenactors from across the U.S. and even from overseas, come to the Park to reenact the Battle of Olustee. Reenactors begin arriving as early as Thursday to set up. Friday is usually reserved as a "School Day" when thousands of students arrive to spend the day watching demonstrations and listening to living historians discuss various aspects of the war and 1860s life in the United States. The public is invited to attend the reenactment on Saturday and Sunday, visit the camps, view demonstrations, interact with living historians, shop at numerous sutler tents for Civil War merchandise, and attend the battle on each day. A large selection of modern day food is continuously available from Friday through Sunday at the park.[3]

Hours[]

Florida state parks are open between 8 A.M. and sundown every day of the year (including holidays).

Footnotes[]

  1. After The Battle of Olustee Battle Of Olustee Web site. Last accessed 2010-04-16
  2. Olustee Battlefield Expo Battle Of Olustee Web site. Last accessed 2010-04-16
  3. Olustee Battlefield Reenactment Battle Of Olustee Web site. Last accessed 2010-04-16

References[]

External links[]


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