Monday, February 16, 2009

Olustee Battlefield - Part One


Last February, I spent time retracing the events of the Battle of Olustee. If you are interesting in reading back through those posts, you can find them by looking in the Archives section at the bottom of this page under February of 2008.

This year I thought I would devote a little time to exploring some of the features that can be seen at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park. Located 13 miles east of Lake City on U.S. 90, the park preserves a key section of the site of the battle, which was fought on February 20, 1864 (145 years ago this Friday).

The photograph above was taken just after turning off U.S. 90 onto the park entrance road. The railroad played a critical role in the battle.
As they marched west in the hours before the battle, the Union army under General Truman A. Seymour followed the tracks of the Atlantic-Gulf Central Railroad. Their plan was to follow the railroad as far west as its Suwannee River bridge, which they hoped to destroy and break communications between East and West Florida.

Seymour was not aware that an army of more than 5,000 Confederates had moved into position to block his campaign. As he approached Olustee Station, his troops moving along a road that ran just to the north of the tracks (the left in the picture), he ran head on into a Southern force led by Generals Joseph Finegan and A.R. Colquitt.

Our series on the points of interest on the Olustee Battlefield will continue. You can also learn more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/olustee.

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